Thursday, 12 April 2012

11 Apr: Evening ride to Great Wilbraham

Gareth writes: The Met Office radar images were showing scattered rain showers over Cambridgeshire all evening, and there was a light drizzle as I cycled from work to Brookside. But seven optimistic riders turned out and we were rewarded with a beautiful evening, with the clouds clearing away to the southeast and the sun casting long shadows along the lanes.

I took us out of Cambridge to the east, along the river to Fen Ditton, and then NCN51 through Bottisham to Swaffham Bulbeck, where we turned southeast towards Dullingham. The fields of rape are just coming into flower, and there are already May trees in bloom—perhaps brought on by that spectacularly warm weather we had in March (the third warmest on record). There were chaffinches in the hedgerows, and a kestrel was hunting in a field of wheat.

From Dullingham we turned southwest past Westley Waterless, and at the crossroads near Brinkley Wood we went straight on, and then turned right onto a public byway that forms part of the Icknield Way long distance footpath. This byway is rutted and muddy in places but passable with care, and we soon came out onto the road again, near Spike Hall.

Here Simon discovered that he had punctured, and we took a breather and watched the sunset while he grappled with the chain tension on his fixed-gear bike.

Waiting for Simon to fix his puncture.

I had planned to take another bit of off-road (the byway down the hill from Wadlow Farm to the chalk pit), but with darkness descending I thought it would be safer to take the road via Six Mile Bottom.

Descending Chilly Hill in the gathering gloom, with the lights of Cambridge in the distance.

The temperature dropped rapidly after sunset, and the descent of the aptly named Chilly Hill cooled us further, so it was with numb fingers and toes that we arrived at the Carpenter's Arms in Great Wilbraham. The landlord and chef were very hospitable, keeping the kitchen open to serve us chips and moussaka, which warmed us up for the quick ride home via Fulbourn and Cherry Hinton. The Carpenter's Arms could be a new favourite evening stop for us.

Photos by Klaas Brumann.

View CTC evening ride to Great Wilbraham, 2012-04-11 in a larger map

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