Thursday, 10 May 2012

10 May: Thursday ride to Ashwell and Baldock

Edward writes: Today we met at Haslingfield and twelve riders assembled for the ride out to Baldock. This was good turn out following overnight rain and the prospect of more rain during the day. After the cool temperatures of recent days and weeks today was about 17 or 18 centigrade and with fairly high humidity making what to wear a problem.


Setting off

In Greta’s absence leadership seemed to be a joint effort between Mick C and Rupert. When we started it was the brisk climb up our old friend Chapel Hill which leads to fine views over Barrington and the surrounding area. We quickly rode through Barrington and on to Shepreth and Meldreth. The stiff wind was in the west so it was likely that it would be face on for most of the trip, and so it proved. This didn’t detract from the pleasure of the riding through the colourful countryside. After Meldreth we took the road out to Kneesworth and Bassingbourn before heading out to Littlington and Steeple Morden.

Kneesworth

Although we often ride out through these villages the changing countryside makes it always a pleasure. This then brought us to Ashwell, another favourite, and our coffee, and of course cake stop.

Coffee stop in Ashwell

Here our numbers swelled to eighteen and we all occupied the little green opposite the Museum, having first raided Day’s for coffee and cakes. At this point Jacob and Howard left us to make their own way - off road, possibly, whilst the remaining sixteen left Ashwell and took the road to Bygrave. This is a delightful route through very undulating countryside, which had a distinct yellow appearance with acres and acres of oil seed rape, plus dandelions and fine shows of buttercups. From Ashwell to Baldock is only a few miles and we arrived at lunch at about midday. Lunch was either a visit to the fish restaurant or outside eating sandwiches.

Baldock

At 1.15pm we left Baldock and were soon on the track which leads over the A505 and on to the Wallington Road.

Across the A505

This track enabled us to hear the sound of skylarks, and although close to the A505, it felt like the depth of the country.

Yellow sea

Again the route was undulating and at Wallington Doug pointed out a house which had been occupied by George Orwell.

Towards Wallington

Wallington, home of George Orwell
Next up were the villages of Sandon and Therfield and along here the rain started and this was to be the main feature all the way home. It seemed as though it would be only a passing shower but the more we went on the more steady it became. At Sandon we said goodbye to Doug and at Therfield we said goodbye to Tina, both of whom had joined us at Ashwell. We eventually got to Reed and the downhill run into Barkway and, rather than take the B1368, we crossed over to go through Gt Chishill and Heydon. This, of course, was all good training for the four who are doing the west to east tour next week, plus the added bonus of typical Welsh weather. From Heydon it was all downhill, and with the following wind which we had had all the way from Baldock, it wasn’t long before we all arrived back in Shelford where we went our separate ways back home. This was a trip of 48 miles and thanks to our two stand-in leaders. Greta is much missed and we hope she will be back with us soon.Edward Elmer


View this route on a larger map

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