Yeovilton Feet Air Museum
Ride leader - Brian Purnell, Riders: Neil Fuller, Jeremy Weekes, Martin Eldridge, Dick Catton, Charlie Fox, Jim Williams & Mrs Williams
The original ride out plan was to visit the Haynes International Motor Museum but due to their building works it was decided to miss it out and go directly to the Fleet Air Museum.
With a total of seven bikes and one pillion rider we departed on time, at 10am, from Top of Town Dorchester with Jim Williams the back marker. As we were a relatively small group, it was agreed that the drop off system would only be used if we became separated. Thankfully, the weather on departure although overcast was dry. The chosen route offered a good opportunity for everyone to practice their road riding skills on a variety of road conditions whilst enjoying a progressive ride. Dorchester A37 to Middlemarsh, A352 via the higher Sherborne road, A352 via Longburton . The A3030 from the A352 to the A357 was particularly enjoyed as the A3030 via Bishop's Caundle offers numerous right and left hand bends, some in close succession to each other. So does the A357 towards Lattiford north on the A371 towards Calhampton Hill and the A359 to Sparkford and Yeovilton. The route via Stalbridge, Henstridge and Templecombe on the A357 offered different road riding conditions with numerous fluctuating posted speed limits below the national speed limit with frequent "traffic pinch points" to negotiate. Nevertheless, it was nice to ride through some lovely Somerset villages at a leisurely pace, until the last five miles when the rain came down which made for less than ideal riding conditions. We all duly arrived together at the Fleet Air Museum at 11.20am as planned in order to indulge in a great brunch breakfast at the Fleet Air Arm Museum's Swordfish Restaurant.
At 12.30pm we headed for the Museum, apart from Martin who happens to work opposite the Museum and passes it daily! There followed a most enjoyable two hour visit which included a walk through Concorde 002, the British version. In fact the day of the Museum visit coincided with the 45th anniversary of Concorde 001's maiden flight - spooky timing !!
Back at the Swordfish Restaurant, where the staff had given us permission to leave behind our helmets and jackets, we had some tea and sticky buns and were about to set off at 3.15 when suddenly the heavens opened and down came the rain again. The original cross country return route to Dorchester via West Coker, Hazelbury Plucknett, North Perrot, South Perrot and Maiden Newton, was swiftly abandoned in favour of a quicker route back. So off we headed west at 3.30pm, taking the B3151 to IIchester, picked up the A37 for Yeovil, through the town and headed for the A37 to Dorchester. By now, the rain was horrendous with very thick fog on the A37 on approach to the Holywell / Evershot junction and all the way up the hill past Clay Pigeon and on towards the Maiden Newton junction and down to Grimstone. From then on the rain eased up a little. On approach to Dorchester at around 4.30pm, those of us living in the Weymouth / Portland area, diverted and headed back home. All in all, a good day out enjoyed by all concerned.
On arrival back home, it was nice to receive the following message by email from one member " Thanks very much for today's ride. I am inexperienced on the bike compared to the rest of you but I reckon the ride outs are doing me good. More than that the company today was very friendly and the venue a good choice". Now that makes organising and leading a ride out all worthwhile!