A cycle around Igtham Mote, Kent

It was likely to be a lovely day, my friend Andy and I wanted a little off-road action but didn’t want to travel too far. The interesting looking 25km circuit around Igtham Mote looked ideal!

One description of the countryside around this bit of Kent would be ‘quaint’. Certainly quintessential of the ‘Garden of England.

Mountain biking near Igtham Mote
Mountain biking near Igtham Mote

We saddled up in the (free) car park at the lovely National Trust site and set off along field edges and through little wood copse coming across the odd small road or path. Considering the niceness of the day I was surprised not to find more people out enjoying the good weather. maybe they were at the beach?

An old saw in the woods
An old saw in the woods

At the time of the ride (late May) we found the woodland floor covered in great swathes of bluebells. This was great viewing. We went through the picturesque village of Plaxtol, meredith woods and then back towards Igtham itself. It was mostly very pleasant riding on bridleways (though it was very dry) with only one major uphill section.

A very nice mill house near Igtham
A very nice mill house near Igtham

In all a really nice couple of hours, the only shame being we didn’t have time for a look round the mote itself. Maybe next time?

See all the pictures from the day.

Things to do before I die

I’m 37 and nearly a half and it occurred to me that if there was anything that I really wanted to do before I was 40 then I might need to start planning them now. So I started thinking and talking about it with my friends.

One nice thing that has come up is how I’ve actually done quite a few very cool things that might be on other peoples lists. I’ve swum in the caldera of a live volcano, climbed a glacier, seen an iceberg (all Iceland), been to the Grand Canyon and Death Valley, gambled in Atlantic city and Las Vegas, scuba dived coral reefs and battleships (Red Sea and Scapa Flow), parachuted, visited the Pyramids of egypt, visited every national park in the UK, run a marathon, completed a triathlon and got married and had children. Probably other things that I’ve not thought of too.

So what other things would I want to do and how many are achievable before I’m 40? This may end up a list that changes over time but here are the ones I can think of (in no particular order):

  • Sail across an ocean
  • Write a book or magazine article and get published (nationally)
  • Visit every continent (might not need to do Antarctica)
  • Public display or exhibition of my photography*
  • Solo wild camping trip*
  • Olympic distance triathlon*
  • Get a tattoo*
  • Climb a 5000m+ mountain
  • Watch England play live at Football, Rugby and Cricket and go to Wimbldon
  • Own a bespoke suit
  • Take part in ‘Tough Guy’ race*
  • Go to a Music Festival (Glasto?)
  • Learn to make amazing bread*
  • See an Opera at Glyndebourne
  • Try surfing
  • Learn a foreign language
  • Go skinny dipping
  • Read ‘War and Peace’*
  • Watch every Martin Scorsese film*
  • Learn at least three magic tricks*
  • Be on Radio 4
  • Cycle London to Brighton (and get up Ditchling beacon without stopping)*
  • Go to the Hay Literary Festival
  • Go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

*Things to do before I’m 40

I’ve tried to pick things that are at least feasible, if quite challenging. Several are going to be a bit tricky due to financial constraints or with time considering I will have two young children that I will want to spend time with over the next few years.

Lets see how I get on.