Today was warm and sunny, so there was a good turnout at Brookside for today's afternoon ride. Today's leader was David S. He took the eight of us across Lammas Land to Newnham and then along the Barton Road cycle track out of Cambridge.
After two or three miles we arrived at Barton, where we rejoined the road and turned left to Haslingfield. At Haslingfield we turned towards Barrington and engaged low gear for the short but steep climb of Chapel Hill. Descending to Barrington on the other side I achieved a speed of 37mph, my first intimation of a northerly wind that would accompany us for the remainder of the afternoon.
From Barrington we continued to Shepreth. Here a small breakaway group, led by Jacob, separated from the main group to take another route. The main group continued to Meldreth where we took the road (above) to Malton and Orwell. Just before Orwell we passed a small monument by the side of the road marking the Greenwich Meridian and denoting our transition into the western hemisphere. A check of my GPS gadget showed a longitide of 0.0012 degrees.
We continued through Orwell to Wimpole Hall, where we rode through the estate and enjoyed fine views of the hall.
After leaving the Wimpole estate we crossed the A1198 and rode through the village of Croydon. At a junction beyond Croydon we stopped to review our progress. We were quite close to Litlington but it was only 3.50pm, giving us just over an hour until tea. We therefore decided to put in a loop and so turned up Croydon Hill to East Hatley and Hatley St George. A couple of miles beyond Hatley St George we turned left onto a bridleway track which took us into Cockayne Hatley Wood. Although unsurfaced and a bit rough in places this track was dry and easy to ride along and we had a beautiful ride (below) to the mysterious isolated hamlet of Cockayne Hatley where we were able to return to smooth tarmac.
From here it was a short and straightforward ride to Wrestlingworth, Guilden Morden and Steeple Morden, arriving for tea at The Crown, Litlington at about 4.55pm.
At tea we were reunited with Jacob's breakaway group and the remnants of the day ride. The food was excellent and abundant and I hungrily tucked in, eating rather too many almond slices than was perhaps wise.
After tea we returned directly to Cambridge via Bassingbourn, Kneesworth, Meldreth and the reverse of our route out. There was a steady headwind but we made good progress, arriving back in Cambridge at about 6.50pm.
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This was easily the warmest and sunniest afternoon's riding we have had this year. Total mileage: 45 miles.