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2022 Dordogne Tour

By Lesley Smith
The time had arrived for the club trip to stay with former Club members, Sarah and Tim, in the Dordogne. This has been a popular club destination for several years and was highly anticipated although, sadly, two people had to cancel at the last minute, due to personal reasons.
Mike and I, with Trish, took the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Caen, arriving in the early hours of Tuesday 31st August. We had planned a leisurely route on winding D roads to our overnight stop on the banks of the river Loire in Saumur.
Unfortunately, only a couple of hours into the ride Trish hit some gravel in the road and dropped her bike. She was taken to hospital in Mayenne, but she was not seriously injured and was discharged later that afternoon. Her bike was unrideable and was taken to a local recovery garage.
Tim & Sarah's Courtyard
It wasn’t possible for her to carry on with the trip, so we checked her into a hotel and the next day, once we were sure that she was comfortable and had arranged for a friend to come from the UK to take her home, we carried on with our journey.
We arrived at Trois Maisons in Villamblard at lunchtime on Thursday and were warmly welcomed by Sarah and Tim. After a beer they showed us round their beautiful 15-acre home in the peaceful Dordogne countryside, with chickens, ducks and horses to complete the idyll (and a swimming pool).

Mark and Jackie, and Adrian, had arrived as planned the day before and had spent the morning exploring Bergerac while they waited for us to arrive.
The remainder of the week was fantastic. The sun shone every day with temperatures rising to 34 degrees most days. At night thunder and lightning and heavy rain showers cleared the air. The roads in the area are twisty and fun to ride, with very little traffic.
Tim had planned interesting rideouts, all involving roundabout routes with mixed riding and often great scenery.
He first led us to the Moulin de la Veyssiere, to watch walnuts being pressed to produce high quality walnut oil. They also mill almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts. Tasters were available.
Next was the Grotte de Tourtoirac. An impressive collection of stalactites and stalagmites, and a Cambodian guide who spoke excellent English.
Have you ever seen stalactites that defy gravity and curl up towards the ceiling? In this cave system they do!  He also took us to the Roche St Christophe. Unfortunately, Adrian had to stop only a few miles into the journey – electrical problems with his bike meant that he had to limp back to Trois Maisons for some urgent maintenance. Roche St Christophe is the remains of an amazing troglodyte city built into the side of a cliff face, which became a fortress in the Middle Ages.
We also had a couple of self-led rideouts, taking in the Single de Tremolat, and the village of Brantome on the river Dronne. The imposing Chateau of Duras was well worth a visit, with 30 rooms open to the public and panoramic views across the Dropt valley

Apart from the obvious down points, the whole week greatly exceeded expectations. Sarah and Tim are excellent and entertaining hosts.
The gites were comfortable, the homecooked food was tasty and plentiful (especially Pizza Sunday!), and the beer and wine supplies were endless. Tim also has a never-ending supply of amusing stories and anecdotes to tell over the evening meal. We all thoroughly enjoyed our week and would definitely recommend that you visit if you have the chance.

Tim's kitchen
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