Tuesday, 15 May 2012

15 May: Ride from Easton-on-the-Hill (car-assisted)

Adrian writes: Five members met at George Stevenson's house at Easton-on-the-Hill in Northamptonshire for today's ride through the Rutland and Linconshire lanes. . Four came by car: Mick C, Ed, Zhiqing and me, while Doug K arrived on his bike. Doug had ridden up the previous day and stayed overnight at Thurby.

Our leader today was George. We left Easton via a bridleway for a sightseeing tour of Stamford with its lovely stone buildings. While we were there Zhiqing asked George if we could visit Rutland Water reservoir, which he agreed to do.

We went westwards from Stamford, via Gt. Casterton, Empingham and onto the A606 for half a mile before turning into the visitor centre at the dam end of the reservoir. On arrival the cafe was just opening, so we decided to have our elevenses here, sitting outside with a nice view of the reservoir.

While we were having our break a very young duckling came waddling up to the table. There were no parents or other ducks about, so I picked the duckling up and with Mick C wandered around the area to see if we could find its parents. The only ducks we could find were some way out on the water, so we left the duckling near the edge of the water and hoped they would look after it.

Adrian's new friend

We left the visitor centre via the cycle path that goes round the reservoir towards Whitwill visitor centre. We continued through Whitwell village before turning north towards Exton, where we sheltered under some trees from a small shower that did not last long, before continuing round Exton Park to Greetham and the garden centre in the village where we stopped for lunch.

After a very nice lunch stop we turned east and went through Stretton then under the A1 to Clipsham and the Yew Tree Avenue at Clipsham Park Woods. It was raining a bit now, so while the others sheltered under some trees, Zhiqing and I walked some quite some distance along the avenue of trees.

Yew Tree Avenue, Clipsham

As we left the site the rain stopped and we never had any more for the rest of the afternoon. The route back, which was south and with a back wind, was via Holywell Hall to Essendine (where Doug had a puncture), then through Uffington, then west on the A16 back into Stamford.

From Stamford we followed the cycle path beside the A43 back to Easton and George's house, where we had a cuppa and some lovely cakes made by Felicity (George's wife). Afterwards we gave our thanks to George, packed up our bikes, and returned home by car.

Thanks to all who turned up, despite the weather prediction the day before, and to George for leading the ride. Adrian Lee

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