Thursday, 2 August 2012

2 Aug: Thursday ride to Elsworth and Old Warden

Edward writes: The forecast for today was for a dry, warm morning to be followed by showers in the afternoon and it couldn’t have been more accurate as during the afternoon we were caught in heavy showers.

Sixteen of us left Haslingfield under the leadership of Ian D and we went out via Harlton at an easy pace reaching the A603 for the turning up to the Eversdens followed by Kingston and Bourn. We tried to maintain two groups but too often found ourselves bunching up and for much of the way we were one long group. This notwithstanding we passed through Bourn and climbed up to the A428 which we crossed and joined the the road to Knapwell. After Knapwell we turned left for Elsworth which is barely a mile from this junction and stopped for coffee. The advertised coffee stop was the bus shelter but seven of us went to the George & Dragon which we have used many times before and enjoyed a pleasant coffee break. At about 11 15 we sent off again for the long trip to Old Warden.

We left Elsworth and headed back towards the A428 at Caxton Gibbet which meant a longish climb into the wind, and once at the A428 we used the short stretch of cycleway to the island and the turn towards Caxton. In Caxton we turned right to go over or through the ford before finding the road to Great Gransden and thence to Waresley.



At Waresley Jacob and Howard turned for home and further on in Everton John F was stung by a wasp or bee and decided to retire from the tour. By this time we had most definitely formed two groups with the first group heading off at a much faster pace than the following group.

Our route took us through Everton which led us to the very fast downhill swoop of Tempsford Hill thus bringing us to the railway and then to the A1 which we crossed to take us into Blunham and then over the A603 into Moggerhanger. The first group by this time was travelling quite quickly and we soon made it into the prettiest part of the day through the rural villages of Northill, Ickwell with its Maypole and then to the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden. The first group arrived at 1.05pm followed 10 minutes later by the biggest part of the second group and finally at 1.25pm by the remainder. Shuttleworth has had its restaurant facilities refurbished and it is much improved. At lunch it was good to see Vic, who had ridden all the way from Cambridge, Doug and Adrian, and they had just finished their meal as we arrived. It was also a pleasant surprise to see Brian B arrive on his three-wheeler.

Old Warden (Photo: Lynn Brown)

Shortly after 2 pm we resumed the ride by turning right out of the airfield and headed into the village of Old Warden and then into Southill. These village are a particularly pleasant part of Bedfordshire but by this time the skies had darkened and the the weather predictions look like being fulfilled before too long. Next we went through Broome and over the A658 and in the fields at this junction there are rows of beautiful roses. This, then, took us to the A6001 and on to Langford and the long climb up to the A1 which we crossed and this gave us the four miles into Ashwell via Edworth.


The route to Ashwell is quiet and very agriculturally rural. We passed through Ashwell without stopping at Day’s and made for Steeple Morden and here the rain started, not too heavy at first but later a good old downpour.

Rain in Steeple Morden

The rain was to stay with us more or less all the way home which was via Littlington, Bassingbourn, Meldreth, Shepreth, Barrington, over Chapel Hill and back to Haslingfield and journey’s end. This was a trip of 64 miles and our thanks to Ian for leading us. Edward Elmer

View this route on a larger map

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