Sunday, January 02, 2005

Cycle Ride to the Four Horseshoes, Long Sutton

As it was such a lovely sunny day, and I felt the need for exercise after all that seasonal over-indulging, I decided to take the bike ('Lindy') out for the day. The Four Horseshoes seemed like a good goal, because it is difficult to get to any other way, is set in beautiful countryside and promises rich rewards to the discerning beer drinker. Bill did not want to go with me, deciding to spend the day with the computer!!
Almost as soon as I set off, I realised how unfit I had become, as pedalling uphill was a lot harder than it had been during the summer. Somewhat disheartened, I called in at Farnborough Main station to check the train times - but I'd just missed one, the next not due for another 55 minutes. I started cycling towards Fleet, thinking if I became too tired I could always jump on the train at Fleet station. The streets of Cove were nice and quiet, if not scenic, and even the A3013 wasn't too bad.
Another change of plan when I got to Fleet - it was still 30 minutes till the train, but by now some of the cobwebs had been blown away, and I decided it wasn't too far to Long Sutton. So I headed through the town centre and then out towards Crookham Village. Out into the countryside at last! The sun was shining in a clear blue sky, and the meadows were very peaceful, with birdsong and the occasional buzz of a light aircraft overhead.
Across the A287 and into Crondall - by now the road had a few more ups and downs, it was 12.30 and I was feeling hungry. I couln't resist the smells wafting from the Plume of Feathers and decided to call in for a bite. The Plume is a lovely old Tudor building, the staff were friendly and the locals polite, even though I was a lycra-clad lone female! And the licencees are Julian and Ann Badgery!! The food was a bit pricey, over £9 for one course Sunday lunch, but it came in huge portions, as I noticed when I ordered a burger and chips (£7.25). The bun was a bit crusty but the beefburger was tasty, chips were nice but couldn't manage all of them! I washed it down with a Greene King IPA (they also did Abbot and Ruddles County) which was in good condition.
After the meal I hoisted myself back on the bike and headed past Travers Farm, through Well, to Long Sutton. When I got to the pub they had both real fires going, a welcome sight. The landlord,Tony, wasn't about which was a shame, as I like to chat with him. No mild on, which was surprising, only Gales Bitter, HSB and Winter Brew. I had a half of the Winter Brew, spicy and chocolatey, delicious.
I reluctantly headed out into the cold again and took the road through Long Sutton Village (very pretty) turning right at Four Lanes End onto the B3349 to Hook. This time I had timed it better with the trains and only had 15 minutes to wait for a train back to Farnborough.
A good day's cycling - but my legs are a bit sore!!

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