Well, as hoped I managed to get number two son to join me and the dog for a blast around the Verderers’ Trail in the Forest on what turned out to be a lovely sunny morning today.
Rather than start at the beginning of the trail down at Pedalabikeaway, we decided to start a little over half way round the course and end back in the same place. So it was that we parked in the lay-by at Edge End and put the wheels and saddles back on our bikes before heading off down the fire road and joining the Verderers’ at the first opportunity.
As usual the dog set the pace and the humans struggled to keep up. The benefit of that, for the dog, is that it gives her plenty of opportunities to shoot of the track into the woods and investigate if she spies something that takes her fancy and get back onto the trail without getting remotely left behind!
Once we hit the final descent section of the trail it’s fair to say that I, for one, could really feel the vibrations of the rocky surfaces travelling up through my arms, so although that section was a real blast it was something of a relief to arrive at the café for a breather. Typically, the four-legged member of the group elected to tackle the red option on that final section , presumably just to prove that she can!
A coffee and pasty (me), an orange Tango and pasty (number two son) and water plus two dog biscuits (guess who) later, we headed up through the overflow car park to complete the Verderers’, only then realising that I’d forgotten that the trail actually started behind the hire store and we’d missed the first few hundred yards.
I was to discover, once we were back home and I’d uploaded the files from the GoPro that I had somehow managed to take just two still photos of the section from the car all the way down to Pedalabikeway – both of which were useless – and only managed to video record the second stage of our journey from Pedalabikeaway back up to Edge End, hence there are no images from the first section. Not only that but somehow I’d only managed to actually get ViewRanger recording from Pedalabikeaway too. Goodness knows how I managed to do that!
After the long bumpy rocky trail up from the car park we turned onto the trail proper and were soon tackling the ups and downs and turns that it had to throw at us. The dog took it all in her stride and even managed to fit in an impromptu bath in a nice muddy puddle just before we hit the fire road again!
Once we got to the zig zag sections (I wonder if they have a proper name?) that climb the hillsides the dog spotted another canine trail buddy high above us and tried to catch up to say hello, by shooting straight up the side of the hill and then rocketing back down to join us again.
The zig zag sections are something of an endurance test and number two son found it an ask too much, and resorted to a short cut from about half way up straight to the top of the descent that leads down to Ropehouse Ditch. Fair enough really, as it was only the second time he’d been on a bike in the past couple of years so isn’t exactly match fit.
He then took over the lead position for said descent, with the dog hard on his heels (as in her nose almost touching his back tyre!) and desperately looking for a way past, but try as she might she couldn’t quite find a suitable space to overtake without the risk of getting ending up under his wheels.
A little further on number two son nearly flew over the side of a berm causing me to brake sharply and almost end up off the track myself! On we soldiered, with the dog and I re-taking the lead, and before we knew it we were climbing towards the A4136 at Worrall Hill.
As we approached yet another zig zag section the dog spotted the trail buddy she’d seen earlier and went to say hello whilst number two son and I conferred over what route to take next. He chose to take the most direct route to the corner nearest Worrall Hill, whilst I tackled the zig zag (as did the dog) and met him at the corner.
Then we were both back onto the Verderers’ Trail as it began to snake it’s way finally back towards Edge End. At this point number two son was clearly rather tired and I was beginning to wonder if I’d pushed myself a little too hard. The dog, meanwhile, continued to zoom around corners like there was no tomorrow!
Finally we were making our way back up the fire road to the lay by and the car. Stats-wise today’s figures were 7.59 miles in 80 minutes (Endomondo) and 7.6 miles in 103 minutes (of which 59 were moving minutes) (Strava). I think we can safely ignore the 4.31 miles in 76 minutes (ViewRanger) as it only recorded the second part of the trek. I wonder why, considering they were both started and finished within seconds of each other, there is a 23 minute difference between the other two though?…