|Only eagle-eyed readers will see my bike through the pub's window.|
Departing at around 1230hrs I followed the usual NoVisibleLycra route up Church Way, across Sanderstead Green – otherwise known, for some reason, as The Gruffy – and along the Limpsfield Road, which, understandably, was a little busier than usual as it was a mid-week lunchtime and every man and his dog was on the road. White van men whistled past me, a heavily tattooed woman – who I initially thought was wearing patterned tights – walked on by and soon I was approaching the first official marker, Warlingham Green. I didn't stop, but continued on towards Warlingham Sainsbury's and that strange coffee shop just beyond it called Amano, which used to be a pub. Normally when I pass it's closed because it's very early in the morning, but today it was open and seemingly very busy. I've always wondered how Amano was performing in a business sense. Outside there was a blackboard announcing that the garden was open, reminding me that it was once a pub. I caught a glimpse of a gleaming servery counter as I rode past and made a mental note to pay a visit one day as it might be worth it.
|Ham sandwiches, chips, salad and a pint|
After a short while I found myself at Botley Hill, a kind of junction point as, from there, I could ride straight on for Oxted, turn right for Godstone or left for Westerham. I opted for the latter route and sped down Clarks Lane past the Tatsfield Bus Stop and then past the entrance to the churchyard before reaching the twisting road that leads down to Westerham. I slowed as I reached the final bend right and instead of continuing towards Westerham I branched off left and followed the Pilgrims Way. From here onwards the ride was sheer bliss.
The early part of Pilgrims Way is flanked by fields on the right and expensive detached homes set back from the road on the left, but after crossing Westerham Hill (A233) there are fields on either side and it's easy to forget where you are, and by that I mean you're never far from civilisation.
|Chipstead Lake or Longford Lake? I wish I knew|
Across from the pub there is a small green leading down to the lake. There is a sailing club on the lake and some of its members were taking advantage of the warm weather. Sailing dinghys were out in force displaying colourful sails as they weaved their way back and forth across the vast expanse of water hemmed in on all sides by trees and bushes.
|Cornfields along Pilgrims Way|
The sandwiches were fantastic and so were the accompanying chips and side salad so I ordered dessert. Apple and berry crumble with a tiny jug of custard, plus another pint, and sat there reading the Daily Telegraph.
|More cornfields on the Pilgrims Way|
The traffic was picking up a bit. I had no idea of the time but it seemed very much like five o'clock or thereabouts as there were plenty of people eager, I'd imagine, to get home from work. Riding along the 269 I was extra vigilant where parked cars were concerned, indicating right every time I veered out into the road and then veering back at the earliest opportunity, but it wasn't too bad and soon I found myself riding through Sanderstead churchyard and then, of course, heading down Church Way.
|Chipstead Village, so let's call it Chipstead Lake|