Thursday, 1 December 2011

1 Dec: Thursday ride to Saffron Walden and Horseheath

Edward writes: Today we met at Greta's house in Hauxton and probably to most people's surprise the weather was looking promising. The forecast two days earlier had suggested wind and rain for Thursday but we are quite used to these forecasts being wrong, and in fact conditions for cycling were near perfect, i.e. little or no wind and no rain with temperatures no worse than cool. In fact two riders were still wearing shorts. Also to mention another large group had assembled which, during the day, grew even larger.

We set out on familiar roads through Little Shelford and Whittlesford where we crossed an unusually quiet A505 to take us into Duxford. We passed through Duxford on the Ickleton Road and the climb up Coploe Hill.

Coploe Hill

Although a steady climb the panorama at the top is well worth the effort as we regrouped at our regular top-of-the hill assembly point. What follows is the fun bit with the long sweeping downhill and then the short climb up to Catmere End. With no wind to speak of riding was effortless as we sped down Chestnut Avenue to the B1383 and the run into Saffron Walden. All the chestnut trees have now all shed their leaves and hopefully they will be able to use the winter to recover from the blight that now afflicts them every year.

Saffron Walden

We enjoyed a leisurely coffee break at the Temeraire and some still found it warm enough to sit outside on the patio. It has to said that this patio is a nice little sun trap. After coffee we went through Saffron Walden by the side of the common and turned into Ashdon Road for the steady climb up to Ashdon itself. With the additions to the group at coffee we had split into two groups for this section of the journey. At Ashdon we turned towards Bartlow where soon after we crossed the A1307 to take us on the climb up to Webb's Road which leads to Streetly End and thence to Horseheath which was to be our lunch stop.

Bartlow to Streetly End

Again our numbers increased and for some reason many people seemed attracted to their smartphones and mini-video cameras. With so many people maybe an apt way to talk to someone out of hearing distance. Lunch was very enjoyable; the Thursday group has often used the Old Red Lion Inn as coffee stop but this is the first time we've stopped here for lunch and we were not disappointed. After lunch we set off by retracing our route back to Bartlow which then took us back over the A1307 and into Linton and onto Hildersham.

Towards Streetly End

As is often the case the opposite of the growing throng in the morning is followed by the group diminishing in size as people make their own way back home. After Hildersam we went into Great Abington followed by the footbridge over the A11 into Babraham and along the splendid cycleway into Sawston. Here the last remaining half dozen riders went through Sawston to the Spicers railway crossing, along the cycle way to Whittlesford and then on to Little Shelford and Hauxton where the ride ended. As ever thanks to Greta for a good ride, thanks to the weather forecasters for getting it wrong again! Distance covered: 40 miles. Edward Elmer.

View this route on a larger map

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