Friday morning (28/7/17) at 6 o’clock, 6 members met at the Blinking Owl Café (My Place Café) after making our way through the flooded road, for a ride to France. No mishaps on the way to the Channel Tunnel but we did have to wait in the rain to board! We had decided earlier to take the more scenic route to Albert on the Somme. The roads were great with very little traffic. We stopped on route for a break and a coffee in a small town before continuing on to the Ibis hotel in Albert, nice hotel and well situated just on the outskirts on the town.
We all had a little rest before meeting for a beer (very expensive at 6 Euros for ½ litre) and discussed the itinerary for the next day, deciding to have breakfast at the Ocean Villas B&B, this is where we wanted to stay but it was booked up.
Saturday, an early 08.00 start and off we went for a short 8mile ride to the B&B, 24miles later we eventually arrived ready for a breakfast. We met and chatted to Avril Williams the proprietor who has been there for 20 odd years and knows a bit about the area and WW1, there is a small museum but it wasn’t open at that time.
After breakfast we decided to go to the Thiepval Memorial which wann’tt too far away, after a wonder round the small museum and the quite grand memorial it was off to find Peter Healy’s Great Uncles grave which again took a while but we did have a pleasant ride around the countryside taking in the Lochnagar crater in La Boisselle, loads of poppies in the corn field!! We found the cemetery and Peter’s Great Uncle and pondered on the waste of life! Back on the bikes to blow the cobwebs away, thought we would try and find the Somme river and somewhere to have a beer, with me leading, still managing to get slightly lost but ending up in the small town of Corbie and Le Ruby’s Café, very civilized! A faster run back to the hotel and after a wash and brush up, it was off to the town in a taxi for a very expensive meal and too much to drink.
Sunday- a later start and no breakfast for most of us, we thought we would just go for a ride and follow our noses. Peter Healy was leading and for about 2 hours we rode along some of the straightest roads I’ve seen, being able to see for miles if not kilometres. The town we ended up in was Cambrai, parking up in a small square we found a baker’s by following the smell of fresh bread. There was a small Café in the shop and there, they served us with cheese and ham baguettes.
Peter Breading’s Sprint was dropping some water so we thought it was best to straight back to the hotel, his bike didn’t over heat thank goodness. A meal and a drink in the hotel that evening and not too late to bed as we wanted to get an early start on Monday to head back to the tunnel. It was faster going back as we took the toll roads, A1 and A26.
Back in Blighty and all the heavy traffic again and a big queue at the Dartford tunnel.
All in all a very enjoyable weekend, wouldn’t mind doing it again.