Sunday, 10 July 2011

10 Jul: Day ride to Nuthampstead, Hatfield Forest and Ickleton

Ian writes: Sunday morning began with warm weather and very little wind. A perfect day for a long ride. From my South Cambridgeshire location, I opted to ride straight to coffee rather than into town and out again. It turns out this was the popular choice as our leader today, Brian M, reported there was no-one at Brookside for 9am. A dozen or so riders, however, had gathered at coffee in the Woodman Inn at Nuthampsted.

After coffee, six of us continued on to today's lunch stop at Hatfield Forest. Today's route was to be west of the M11 on the way out and east of the M11 on the way back. We made our way south on very quiet roads of gently-rolling countryside through Hormead, Ferneux Pelham and across the A120 to Much Hadam. We swung a left turn here across the ford and passed below Bishops Stortford via Spellbrook and into Hatfield Forest.

The sun was still shining on us, with no hint of the forecast possible rain showers. Hatfield Forest was very bush, but we just about found a table outside the café and ate our lunch overlooking the lake. I was fairly surprised that the prices were sensible for a National Trust property. At £2 for a cornish pasty, it was usual café prices.

After lunch we took a more direct route to tea. With still no real wind to speak of, we were making good average speeds all day. We took the B1256 to Takeley then headed north to Elsenham and onto Ugley. Here our ride from Stevenage left the five others to carry on to tea.

We then picked up the B1383 to Audley End where David left us, to make it four to tea at Ickleton. We were a bit early, but we were soon joined by George. We sat in the still pleasant weather hearing how it had rained in Cambridge at about 1.45pm.

We had missed the lot, not seeing a single stop of precipitation all day.

We had a pleasant tea and I left just in time to wave to the afternoon ride at about 4.45pm, just in time to catch the end of the Duxford airshow, delighted to see no less than 25 WW2 fighters doing the grand finale.

I got home with 65 miles on the clock, so the riders from Cambridge would have covered about about 75.

Many thanks to the ride leader for the perfect day's riding. Ian Driver

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