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Lost en Automne  

I was very impressed by the welcome we received at the Hotel Hermitage.  The hotel is in the walled town of Montreuil and occupies a converted hospital.  For a large hotel I thought it a warm and friendly place. 

We were very lucky with the weather on the first day.  It was sunny and warm and perfectly suited to a long ride south to the British Memorial on the Somme at Thiepval.  I rode alone for the entire morning route, encountering Mike and Ann West at one point.  They had stopped to adjust the tickover on Ann's Honda Benly but were OK so I left them to it.  I was amazed to find myself alone at the lunch stop and to have seen nobody at the coffee stop.  I was sure I was amongst the last to leave the hotel and that I would, therefore, come across the entire party at the Frevent coffee stop and/or the Ocean Villa lunch stop.  Apparently I was riding in splendid isolation at the head of the pack and had to wait about 25 minutes before anyone 'caught me up' at Auchonvillers.

In the afternoon I was short of petrol but saw a sign, in Orville, to a supermarket just off the route.  There I found Brian Giles, Paul Wood and Dave Fleetwood trying a succession of unsuccessful debit and credit cards in the petrol pump.  Mine worked first time and so we all filled up. There was a roundabout missing from the route sheet as we circumvented Doullens, which delayed us for a minute or two and then we stopped at a café for a drink and a sandwich.  On the final run back to the hotel we had an unusual situation.  It is not unusual to find the marked route closed by a Route Barrée sign but this time, what was marked on the route sheet as a Route Barrée that was, in fact, open.  Fortunately nobody was caught out but Malcolm Graham then missed the 10 ton sign at the next turn and continued up the hill.  He, Chris Webber and Hugh Mackenzie then travelled several more miles before resorting to sat-nav to get them back to Montreuil.

The second day was disappointingly foggy and we did not see much of the route to Le Touquet.  From there we turned south to lunch at Le Crotoy.  In the afternoon, as the route crossed the main road towards Crecy, I turned north and headed back to the tunnel terminal and home.  I had made a mistake with the tour dates and had to be home for work the following day.  I found a back-roads route from Samer but had to do a couple of miles on the motorway to get into the terminal complex because there were no sings to show an alternative for non-motorway traffic.  Riding a Honda 90 on a foggy motorway in failing light in the rush hour was not a pleasant experience but only one motorist beeped me !

The rest of the party rode on the Wednesday and the route took them to Lumbres and Fruges.  Reports suggest this was judged by some to have been the best of the three routes and certainly it passed through some lovely countryside.

There were almost two dozen of us in the group and it was good to see so many to round the season off.

Following our return home the weather turned very wet indeed and you might like to have a look at some photos from a local newspaper by following this link-

I am very grateful to everyone who has partcipated this year.  Ten tours took a lot of organising but we have had some great times and great riding over the last 7 months.  Next year's programme is almost complete and there are a few new locations to enjoy.  I hope that I shall see you there.

Best wishes    

 Alan Abrahams