Tuesday, 17 August 2010

15 Aug: Afternoon ride to Litlington

Tina Filby writes: Twelve of us gathered at Brookside on the first promisingly sunny day this week and Jacob led us south out of Cambridge via the Shelfords and along the road to Whittlesford . We crossed the A505 still heading south through Duxford, taking a left turn to Hinxton and on to Ickleton. Countryside was looking very late summery with golden fields of wheat ready for cutting and verges colourful with wild flowers.

The narrow lane towards Ickleton Granges was quiet & delightfully car-free and we were able to chat & ride along at a leisurely pace.

Just south of Chrishall Grange, we turned south and uphill to Heydon. I had a few problems engaging gears on my ‘new’ bike, but Jacob & Mike’s technical know-how saved the day and we caught up with the main group just before Heydon village – home to renowned King William IV pub.

‘Hilly Hertfordshire’ lived up to its name as we climbed up to Gt Chishill, dropping sharply down towards Shaftenhoe End, turning right, again uphill & followed a ‘switchback’ road to Nuthampstead, through woods which had been carpeted with bluebells earlier in the year. We passed the ‘Woodman’ pub with its American Air Force memorial, the most southerly point of our circuit, then back via Barkway, along a scenic ridge road to Reed, crossing the A10 towards Therfield. As Jacob commented reassuringly, it was all downhill from there, dropping down over Therfield Heath & then a short ride along the A505 turning right across the carriageway to Litlington – always a stressful manoeuvre.

The Crown at Litlington gave us its usual warm welcome & we also met up with David, Steve and Clive who had come by a more direct route. No-one from the day ride, but it was rumoured the regulars may all be away cycling in Cumbria – wonder if they visited: http://www.greystokecyclecafe.co.uk/index.htm?

Living in Royston, I cycled back with the group as far as Kneesworth, but then headed home up the A1198, leaving the others to return to Cambridge via Meldreth, Barrington and the knee-testing Chapel Hill.

Thanks to Jacob for a varied route taking in 3 counties – Cambridgeshire, Essex and Hertfordshire. Sorry no pics – the group only stopped once to wait for Jacob, Mike & me & immediately set off again! Cheryl reported we’d cycled about 34 miles before tea, so estimated total mileage for the afternoon was around 48 miles. Tina

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