Waking up full of excitement for the weekend ahead, our rucksacks packed and our bikes all cleaned we were ready to go, all set for a proper overnight mountain bike adventure. A 10 min ride along the canal from Bournville to University station then it was just a quick direct train to Malvern. In just under an hour we had arrived and the hills were calling but just as the train was pulling away the hubby realised that he had left his phone on the train! I just wanted to get going and think about it later, reluctantly I waited patiently as he franticly called the train company. Luckily the nice train driver actually picked up the phone and called my mobile we arranged to meet him a few hours later on his journey back to pick it up so the adventure was delayed a little. We decided to kill some time and headed to Parsons cafe in Malvern town centre for a coffee. I was soon smiling again with the amazing cakes they had on offer, a vegan one too. We were soon heading off to pick up the lost phone and it was only fair to do an exchange for a bit of Rocky Road. Smiles all round we finally got on the bikes armed with an off road cycle route map (yes a real paper map) we thought we were making good progress, we followed the route along the road for about a mile before getting onto some great single track. We headed through some woods and onto the bridleway but it wasn’t long before we were stopped in our tracks and came to a dead end. It turns out we aren’t so good at this map navigation malarkey. After a number of wrong turns and failed attempts to get us back on track we decided to give up on the map routes and headed for the familiar bridleway up over the malvern hills towards the beacon, we were tired, legs hurting and a pit stop was on the cards so we headed for St Annes cafe.
Finally getting back doing what we came here for and enjoying the ride, our legs were definitely made to work on the climb but it was worth every minute for the tricky single track and fun rocky sections as we came round the hill. It was getting late and much colder, the coffee at St Annes cafe
was a great reward for a hard day in the saddle and they even had cake! I went for the walnut cake and having recently making the move to a dairy free diet it was a pleasant surprise to see that they had not just one but several vegan options on their menu. Most things were sold out, next time I plan on getting there earlier. We sat a while sheltering from the wind under a few trees admiring the view just above the cafe before realising that time was getting on and we had to get to our base for the night and we had no idea where we were heading. Grabbing the map we grasped the direction we needed to go and set off down the hill (the fun bit) then taking the road for a few miles out to Malvern Holiday Park
. We actually found our way quite easily for a change. We made a last minute booking for one night in a small secluded shepherds hut
. It was so cute, warm and cosy with the log fire, complete with cooker, toilet and sink with running water. Very basic but just perfect for us. In its own little fenced area by a small lake, lovely countryside view and the shower only a short walk across the grass.
After settling in with a cuppa by the fire we got hungry and decided to head over to the pub, to try and get some food. The Duke of York
, is perfectly situated next door. Completely forgetting it was Easter Sunday we were told that they weren’t serving food, the local shop closed and the other local pubs were also closed or also not serving food, so we ordered a beer. After a chat with the barman about our disastrous day of getting lost and loosing track of time, he disappeared out back and come back with crusty baguettes. With a big grin on our face we tucked into crisp sarnies, bar snacks and a few beers. The pub was a real local and the staff were fantastic, even if they did think we were crazy for coming out in the cold and wet to ride the Malvern Hills. After a few drinks we headed back to our little hut armed with another couple of baguettes for brekkie. It was a lovely evening topped off with listening to the rain and wind snuggled up for the night in the warmth of the fire. Our first adventure ride had not gone quite to plan but we were looking forward to a day of riding to the beacon, hoping for a great decent and better weather for day 2.
We got up mega early expecting it to be busy on the hills due to the bank holiday and we wanted to avoid the crowds. The weather was pretty grim and very cold but we soon warmed up as we started riding. We joined the hills on the Southern side and worked our way up the single tracks and had a bit of fun on a rocky area that we stumbled upon, almost like a small rocky quarry. We hadn’t seen this area before but had a few technical rocky areas that were great, along with a few drops off the rocks. This didn’t really lead anywhere but was great fun. We then carried on up, as the paths bent around the hill there were a few climbs leading to quick flowy single track. We were out for a while before the wind really hit, then it began to drizzle and we started to feel it. Fortunately we came to a sign for a pub and there was no questioning the direction we were going, it was just about lunch time anyway lol. Locking our bikes against the railings outside The Wyche Inn we ran inside to grab the window seat. It was lovely to get into the warm, sipping on a great beer from the Wye Valley Brewery with a great view. Happy to finally get a decent meal it was amazing to see a huge vegan/vegetarian menu in a small country pub, we opted for the mushroom and walnut bourguignon with chips and crusty bread which was to die for.
Not really sure what route we were going to take up to the beacon, we had a quick look at the map and we were off again, it was only a short distance to the summit but boy did we have a climb in store for us. All fueled up after a good feed we were cooking on gas and it was surprisingly quiet for a bank holiday, the walkers we did pass were in good spirits cheering as we passed them on the way up. Their smiles said it all, they thought we were crazy lol. When the beacon was in our sights we just went all out and the sense of accomplishment we felt as we reached the top was amazing. Grinning from ear to ear, we could barely stand still as the wind was so strong but we stuck it out as we checked out the views. The skies miraculously started to clear just in time for what we came here for… the down time!
We had walked here so many times but it was a totally different experience on two wheels. We enjoyed the natural single track on the way down, picking up a descent speed on the flowy trails which put smiles on our faces. It was an enjoyable ride with such a varied terrain, the decent going from fast flowy trails to unsuspecting drops into rocky, technical sections definitely putting us through our paces and testing our technical ability.
We were speeding down the hill, living the dream! Then from the corner of my eye I spotted her… the cow I had made friends with 2 years previous. Yes! It is the same cow and I won’t hear any differently. Every visit to Malvern we had seen this one white, long haired cow in a heard of all brown cows. She was very inquisitive as usual so I had to stop and say hello, the view was pretty spectacular too… if you hadn’t realised it yet I have a thing for cows.
We had almost reached the bottom and we were feeling great, on full power we headed for the finish. With an hour til our train home we made our usual pub stop to end the ride on a high. Going for an old favourite, Sierra Nevada
Pale Ale which went down a treat.