Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Easter coffee and cake

Posted by Dandy | March 31, 2013 | 12 comments so far

After a brief debate via the forum the previous evening as to the starting point, we had 6 brave Moles layering up to keep out the early morning chill. Akak, Big Al, Kev & Gordo were waiting for me at Bocketts; and Al had spotted Jez making his way up from Dorking.  All it took to work out a route was for me to praise the improvement to the coffee served at Leith Hill tower following the recent catering change, and to confirm that the cake standards were maintained, and the Moles’ stomachs did the rest.

01 Yew Trees group 900x900

Al was on his singlespeed, rigid forked Lurcher, and had a special request that we avoid the Rookery climb up from Westcott.  So with the bright sunshine bouncing off the thick white frost we headed up the Admirals Track to Polesden Lacey and the Yew Trees climb to Ranmore.

Here we took a left and headed down the road a little way taking a right onto the Macphersons’ descent and across the railway line to the A25 via Unum.  A right turn onto the A25 followed quickly by a left onto the bridlepath besides the Bury Hill fisheries saw us pass Chadhurst Farm and up past Squire’s Farm and through Squire’s Wood to eventually pick up Wolverns Lane.  I wasn’t convinced it was any easier for a SS, but I deferred to Al’s wisdom.  I might be able to test this theory out for myself soon 🙂

02 Dandy air 900x900

We worked our way across to Summer Lightning, where we took the fun descent towards the Tilling Springs before turning sharply left for the climb up to the cricket pitch at Coldharbour.  From here we headed in the general direction of the tower, but having had a look at ‘Bow to the wow’, most accepted the challenge with almost complete success. With the final ascent to the tower completed, it was time to sample the coffee and cake.

03 Akak 'Bows to the Wow'

I’m pleased to report the cappuccino was, to my admittedly dubious taste, excellent; and certainly complemented the superb and decently-sized homemade Bakewell tart.  Al couldn’t resist the Beef & Ale pasty, and though not large was certainly tasty.  Jez confirmed my view regarding the quality of the flapjack that I sampled on Good Friday.  I won’t explore the politics behind the change of proprietor here, but the drinks have improved and the quality of cake remains high.  Prices are higher, however, but personally it’s a price I’m prepared to pay.

I was shown a fun route by Wobbem on Friday, Root 66; so having said farewell to Jez at the tower, five of us headed down this splendid section of Leith Hill singletrack.  I did get a bit lost, but thanks to the OS map display on my Satmap we found our way without too many detours.  I think I need to ride that route (root?) a few times before I can commit it to the ageing memory banks.

We then headed back up to the bombholes near the cricket pitch, with various options taken down and around Deliverance, before hitting Waggledance and Summer Lightning. Wolverns Lane was great fun, despite Gordo doing his best to ‘head us off at the pass’!  I have to complain about Akak’s trail manners though, as he shamelessly tried to barge me off the trail as I attempted a pass on the faster open sections before the sharp right turn at the stormwater drain for the Rookery descent.  He nearly had me off, he did 🙁

It was the easier High Med climb back to Ranmore, where with the sun still on our backs it seemed a shame not to sample the sweet delights of Golden Nugget.  We said goodbye to Gordo at Ranmore as he opted for a shorter route home, not only was he already five minutes later than promised, but he also had a rapidly softening rear tyre.

Al and I both had our thoughts on Strava times on the GN descent (I knew I would succumb to this folly eventually), and because of the sticky nature of the loose soil in the current conditions we both had some interesting sideways moments as we hooned down in a most  uncontrolled manner.  I was gutted tonight to see his best time is still 2 seconds faster than my descent today, and I bet he did that on his rigid Lurcher, too 🙁

I said goodbye to the remaining three as we hit the Admirals Track, and my Satmap showed a distance of 42.5km by the time I hit home, having been out for about 4 hours from Bocketts.  I think I earned tonight’s roast lamb dinner; and Kev, I opted for a simple Australian shiraz/cabernet to accompany it.  With three mtb rides and a rugby sevens tournament in the last four days, I will have a day off tomorrow and try and recover from this cold that hit last Wednesday.  Keep enjoying the dry-ish trails, who knows what April will bring us?

Filed under Rides in March 2013


About the author

Having been mountain biking since 1996, you might have expected Dandy to have learnt to ride a bike by now. Several broken bones in the last few years prove the maxim that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

In between hospital visits, Dandy rides a brace of much-blinged Pace RCs, the 'green themed' 405 and the silver & gold 506. His winter hack is the Moles' favourite, an On-One 456 hardtail, now converted to an Alfine hub He also dabbles in 'the dark arts', keeping 2 road bikes in one of his seven sheds.

There are 12 comments on ‘Easter coffee and cake’

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  1. Kevs2010 says:

    That was a great morning to be out riding the hills. Bright sunshine, frosty trails and a serious lack of mud, apart from a couple of big icy puddles on the Admirals track that needed careful negotiating!

    Seeing 6 Moles at Bocketts was a surprise, obviously some were keeping their options open due to clocks going forward and the cold weather.

    Tanks to D’Andy and Big Al for putting together some interesting trails interspersed with some Gnarr sections to keep everyone happy! Bow to the Wow sure was an eye opener!

    Agreed that the new catering at the tower is good but a bit pricier, however you do get a proper china cup for your money.

    All in all a great mornings ride and I got back home cold but almost mud free with 26 miles on the clock so all good.

  2. Andrew AKAK says:

    You need to be more careful where you put your extra 10mm Dandy 😉

    Great ride really, surprised there were not more out on Leith given the conditions. I don’t begrudge £2 for a coffee, but the £2 cake was rather petite and they are not on display so you can’t hand pick the best bit any more. Lovely to sit in the sun rather than shelter from the wind though.

  3. Big Al says:

    It was a Great ride and a good cure for the hangover I was nursing from Saturday night . I enjoyed my hot beef and ale pasty from the tower and the coffee was nice to have in a china cup to.
    I have been feeling a bit achey today ? not sure if that is due to 3 days of riding or my rather embarrassing off when I run into a tree stump at wolvens lane and flipped over the bars in front of Kev .

  4. Jez says:

    Whilst feeling rather nostalgic for 25p flapjacks the tea in a mug was a nice touch. It was a bit pricier though. I kinda liked the cheap and cheerful nature it was before but had a guilty desire for one of the pies that I might not be able to suppress next time…

  5. Gordo says:

    Many thanks to Dandy and Al for providing the routefinding.

    Also some apologies to Dandy for me being a roadblock as my bike seemed to appear and stop in front of him! I knew I had messed up the etiquette when I got called a rude name. 🙂

    Great company, great trails, great to be out.

    Link to the new Leith cafe: – I’d recommend the shortbread!

  6. Tony says:

    I don’t feel that a proper review of the new coffee emporium is complete until I have Paul901’s opinions via his usual essay.

    • Dandy says:

      Is this the spur Paul needs to blow the cobwebs off the Whyte and actually get his tyres muddy? It could be a long stop as he questions the bemused server as to the roasting temperature and precise blend of beans used 😉

  7. paul901 says:

    You’re right Sir, I really need to blow the cobwebs off the Whyte, in fact off all cycling. My worst year for about the last 4 with recurring minor ailments, work, house moving etc.

    I have even struggled to get into regular roasting routines at the new place but just about hanging in there. The planned indoor facility of vented roaster in the garden workshop alas remains weeks away, way down the DIY priority list. So I am usually to be found sitting outside on the patio in close to freezing temperatures roasting a batch or two for the next few days. And talking technically, this cold weather is harder to roast in as it takes longer to reach the thermal stability you want in the drum for best results, higher wattage input at each stage of the roast and longer to reach 1st and 2nd crack. Roll on better weather. But it’s fabulous to have equipment that can cope with it all anyway. If only I understood the Whyte as well, I would have no chance with the clever bikes a lot of other Moles have.

    Anyway, it’s nice to hear the coffee place is going down well and I do look forward to trying on a ride there, honestly! I had a bit of a soft spot for the old set up mind you, decent cheap cake? yes please. I am not much of a fan of slices of cake for the price of a whole one that you typically find everywhere so will be disappointed if it comes across like this.

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