Todays ride was the longest on the entire trip. For Andrew, the ride to Poole would see him cover some 67 miles. For me, staying in Bournemouth, it was nearer 73. We were hoping for some easier riding today. We were not disappointed. Although there are plenty of steep climbs on the section from Bridport to Abbotsbury none was as challenging as yesterday. The plunge down into Abbotsbury village is fearsome. Holding a heavily laden bike on the brakes down the long, 17%, descent is hard on the hands and inevitably made me wonder if I'd done all the maintenance tasks correctly!
Once through Abbotsbury, things got considerably easier. We were on familiar roads and while the route into Weymouth still has some surprisingly steep hills, around the harbour, the path uses the course of a dismantled railway and is mercifully flat! Leaving Weymouth to the north involves some more moderate climbs. Eventually the route heads east again, on to more rolling terrain north of Bovington. As well as a village, Bovington is also an Army camp, and a base for tank training. The noise of powerful diesel engines signaled that tanks were on manouvers, though thankfully, not on the roads we were using.
The final section into Wareham was a delightfully straight and fast road. We made quick progress. From Wareham we took the back roads where Andrew trains, to Studland. Only the final climb got close to requiring the level of exertion of the morning. The view from the top of the hill across Poole harbour and Bournemouth Bay makes it well worth the effort. We could even make out a three masted, square rigger motoring into the harbour. The remainder of the route to the Sandbanks chain ferry was easy going and fast. The crossing takes just a few minutes, and costs a mere 80 pence.
Then it was time for a temporary parting of the ways. Andrew headed off to his flat in Poole while I continued on to my overnight stop in Bournemouth. I headed along the promenade from Sandbanks through Bournemouth and on to Boscombe before heading up to the top of the cliffs for the final few miles.
Today's' picture is of the Sandbanks chain ferry just after we had crossed from Studland to Sandbanks.