Sunday, 19 April 2009

19 April: Day ride to Reed, Bennington and Litlington

Mike Stapleton writes: The day dawned cloudy but bright, with quite a strong north-easterly breeze. Initially it was quite cold, but the day clearly had great promise. I started out from home south of Cambridge to catch the club at the Silver Ball Cafe at Reed. It was quite a climb up to Barkway and although I had done well up until the last hill I then found I was struggling. Then I discovered I was pushing the big ring so the legs are all right - just the head is a bit suspect.

We all met up at the cafe where there was also the usual crowd of motor cyclists. With tea and cakes this was a welcome break. Afterwards about half the riders went home.

Ian then led us down the little lane in the valley and up over the hills to Sandon. We noted a goose sunning itself in the lee of the phone box. Then up and over the ridge to Cromer where we had a great view of the windmill. Next stop was Walkern but Ian pulled a fast one on us and we went left up the hill to Bassus Green. Google has not found out about Bassus Green yet. Then along the farm track to Bennington.

We had our sandwiches by the village pond and watched a duck leading her family into a local garden. The location was just beautiful: what can be better than a quintessential English village scene in springtime? After eating we adjourned to the Bell for a drink. It is still a nice pub but does not seem to be doing very well. The food menu seemed a bit limited though the prices appeared to be about normal.

We lost another half of our riders at this point who all needed to get home early. So it was a much depleted band that headed south through woods carpeted with bluebells to Whepsted before heading north east through Nasty to Buntingford where we had a leisurely stop to fix a puncture.

Buntingford was quiet: the sunshine made it look inviting. We had to carry on and went back up into the hills to Sandon where we found the goose still sunning itself by the phone box. From here we headed over the A505 towards Ashwell. There are glorious views over Ashwell and the surrounding countryside just before you drop down into the village.

Then back to Litlington and the Crown pub which had a great tea waiting for us. The afternoon ride arrived right on time and we had a great gathering over tea.

After tea there was the usual rush to get off back to Cambridge. All in all a memorable day of spring with birds singing everywhere and flowers blooming along the side of the lanes. Mike Stapleton.

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