Monday, 25 August 2008
Yesterday, I cycled across Ashdown Forest and stayed at Blackboys YHA. I'm told that the name comes from the charcoal made in the local forests. The youth hostel was friendly and well equipped - mostly families staying on the August Bank Holiday so it was easy for me to book a single room. I normally end up sharing in a dorm, so getting my own key is a bit of a novelty.
It's one of the new franchised YHA hostels also now called "The Glade", and the warden has managed to make it very relaxed. It's a timber building stuck right in the middle of a wood miles from the main road and it's very peaceful. If you don't fancy self catering (or if you haven't got enough sausages for a barbeque) then its only a short walk to the nearest pub for a bite to eat with a lovely pint of Harvey's Best.
Cycling there from Lewisham was a bit of a battle. A headwind and a hangover didn't do much to lift my spirits, but once I got into Kent, the weather improved and a big lunch sorted out my hangover. After a huge mug of coffee in the garden of the house at pooh corner I was feeling normal again and ready to hit the Downs for some fabulous views and really great cycling.
Cycling back today made the round trip a total of 140km with the Weald and the Downs offering plenty of hills. With brighter weather and a good tailwind I managed to get back home with a well deserved takeaway roast chicken in my pannier for lunch.