Nine riders headed out from Wateringbury Station to Bedgebury Forest not only eager to burn off the seasonal excesses but to enjoy some tranquil lanes after Christmas Day’s festivities. Tony Palmer’s planned lumpy route through Yalding, Laddingford, Brenchley and Kilndown was designed to achieve the first aim. The Boxing Day Sales ensured that there were very few cars on the country roads to disrupt the group. The morning was overcast and dry but the temperature was sufficiently nippy to warrant the wearing of full gloves rather than short finger mitts, as Richard discovered. While the group was taking in the beauty of the Brenchley Village’s decorations one of the inhabitants, from a family desperate to get on their way, was mugged to take the customary group snap. Sarah B decided to return directly to Wateringbury as she was under a 12:30 curfew.
Several hills later, after going up and down some narrow country lanes full of slushy wet leaves, the group finally arrived at Bedgebury Forest. The group favoured light snacks, more mince pies and Christmas cake, as Café was busy with bank holiday visitors. The return route skirting Goudhurst and Horsmonden was much flatter helping the group to ride at a steadier pace to get back before 2:00PM. A distance of 34.7 miles at 12.3 mph average with an elevation gain of 2,084 feet.