The Lambourn Lollop, 25 October 2015

An eclectic group of 14 people from I think as many as 4 local groups came under starter's orders at 9am on Sunday 25th October 2015 and reached the finishing straight around 4.30pm well before dark. The route was upwards of 22 miles, 23 according to the GPS users on the day. In cool but clear conditions we headed south-east along the Lambourn Valley Way to East Garston with a little circuit past the thatched cottages there, then north to the Ridgeway via a morning stop, then west to Sparsholt Firs just after which we descended to the north of the Ridgeway. On the high ground, it was T-shirt weather for many, the weather being the exact inverse of my recce when it was winter Paramo weather on the Ridgeway in a brisk north wind but warm and sunny to the south.

Lunch for some, dried seaweed (?) for others was at the village of Sparsholt, then came some navigation on a bearing across freshly ploughed fields and non-re-instated paths and past a couple more pretty villages until we were at the foot of the White Horse Hill. The trig point at Uffington Castle seemed a fitting mid-afternoon stop with clear views. The return to Lambourn followed the Lambourn Valley Way at a fairly brisk pace inspired perhaps by the gallops but also the rapidly cooling conditions. A permissive path through autumnal woods to the north of Lambourn added a final splash of colour. As far as the equestrian experience was concerned we saw a plastic horse, a chalk one, and a smartly turned out twin-horse-drawn trap on the Ridgeway, but the racehorses were of course long gone.

Photos by Helen Abbott.