The day was not promising on the weather front and only ten riders made an appearance, plus a number in black for the fast sport ride to Frocester.
The gentle A ride, led by the Captain, had a watery theme. South by way of the ship canal towpath, dodging many fishermen with mountains of kit. Then the Epney circuit to Saul with splendid views of the grand River Severn. We progressed to Frampton, crossing the canal for the final time, to Whitminster and Eastington where we joined the Severn – Thames canal. It was all the way on the towpath into Stroud and our destination, the Upper Lock Cafe, where a warm welcome awaited. Excellent coffee and hot crumpet was the reward. Not many miles but plenty of smiles!
The post-coffee ride was homeward, being chased by dark clouds laden with cold rain. Slad valley seemed easy with the helpful tailwind, even the Bulls Cross steep pitch was not too bad. Over the tops towards Birdlip, then a left through the woods on the old ‘sanatorium’ road (George Orwell was a resident at the sanatorium for a while), popping out on the A46 at Cranham turning. We called for refreshments at the Royal William before a cold wet descent back into Gloucester. A pleasant 41 miles or so, all told, with a double rainbow adjacent to Painswick hill – there’s gold in the hills, I’m telling you!