Thursday, 9 June 2011

9 Jun: Thursday ride to Ashwell and Haultwick

Edward writes: Today's Thursday ride started at Haslingfield Church where fifteen members met. Our lunch stop was Haultwick, a destination reached via extremely pleasant country lanes. The weather was on the coolish side, but the wind from the south west was not too strong and through the day didn't feature as anything to cause us concern.

We started with the climb up Barrington hill and on into Shepreth before crossing the A1198 at Kneesworth. From here it was through the familiar villages of Bassingbourn, Littlington, Steeple Morden and then Ashwell. In Ashwell we stopped for coffee and our numbers grew so much that we took over the little green area opposite the Ashwell museum.

At this point the sun had started to shine and we had a very nice break. After coffee we climbed the hill out of Ashwell, taking the road leading to Wallington and Rushden. This meant crossing a fast stretch of the A505 which was eventually and safely achieved. Once clear of the traffic noise we were met by the sound of skylarks - a true delight. Not only this the fields and roadside were often populated by poppies making this a perfect area for cycling.

From here to Haultwick, via the likes of Cromer, Ardley and Wood End was very special as the lanes were very narrow, often with gravel in the middle so care had to be taken on the downhills and round the blind bends. Adding to the rural scene were a good number of tractors requiring even more care.

After all this we arrived at the Rest and Welcome pub in Haultwick. As the pub doesn't do food we all sat in the garden with our picnics. Although once or twice a shower threatened the rain held off and we were able to enjoy our sandwiches without rushing for cover.

When we set off after lunch we were immediately into a light shower and the temperature dropped accordingly; after a few climbs we all felt warmer. The next part of the ride was up to Buntingford and again through narrow country lanes, much as we had seen before lunch. After Buntingford we crossed to the west side of the A10 to go through Sandon, Kelshall and Therfield before arriving at our tea stop just outside Reed on the A10. After our tea break we set off for Reed and onto Barkway on the B1368, from where people started to break away to make their own way home: one group turning off to go through Chishill and Heydon.

The main group carried on to the A505, but not before two motorists demonstrated their skills at intimidating cyclists. Once over the A505 it was though Fowlmere, Newton and little Shelford and then to Hauxton where the ride ended. Thanks, Greta, another great ride. Distance 58 miles. Edward Elmer

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