It was an early start to day 3 getting up and leaving by 07:00, we wanted to get back to Taunton by midday to miss the worst of the rush hour traffic. We were rewarded with a stunning sun rise and a rapid chilly road descent into Winsford followed by a nice gentle climb out of town, this calm tranquil start was soon rudely interrupted by a evil knee breaker of a climb, it was initially a lose rocky, wet off road up to Exton before turning into a 25% slog up a road climb. I was still being fuelled by the pizza we had in the town the night before because of the early start all the shops were closed and breakfast was just what we had left over a pancake and handful of salted cashew nuts.
From the top of the climb the remaining of our trip was mainly downhill with the odd kicker to keep you on your toes, the road opened up as we approached the Bessom Bridge, which in itself was quite impressive after only seeing open countryside and small back lanes for the last 3 days, to our right was an expansive view of Wimbleball Lake....well where Wimbleball Lake should have been! It was shocking to see it so empty, below us was just a small stream carving its way to the distant lake set amongst the deep mud wall banks that were previously the lake bed.
We followed the track around the left hand side of the lake, the first half was not the easiest riding with long grass either side and just a bumpy 20cm wide path to navigate. The expansive views of the lake disappear on the second half as you enter the tree line and you are rewarded with rolling flowing trails, a small stone bridge that felt like it was 20 metres in the air but clearly from the photo I was barely 1 metre above the stream, before eventually popping back out onto the road for a enjoyable cruise back into Taunton.
I would like to thank Pete and Stuart for inviting me along on their jolly, it's always good trying out new/different things. I hadn't ridden in the Exmoor area before and, after this experience I would recommend it to anyone. The terrain is hard going the deeper you get into the hills, but the scenery makes it worth while, can't wait until I can return!
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