Sunday, 9 September 2012

9 Sep: Sunday all-day windmill ride

Mike writes: About a dozen riders set off from Brookside and went out via the Riverside path to Baits Bite Lock and then back through Milton to join the Cambridge Guided Busway.

A hold up on the busway meant that we had to cut out the mill on the Over Road due to lack of time. We went to Willingham Smock Mill and had our elevenses there in their lovely cafe. Richard, the Mill owner, gave us a conducted tour of the mill and showed us the works he has undertaken over the last fourteen years. He hopes to have the sails turning again next year. He told us he has done a huge amount of repainting in the last few weeks using, I think he said, 80 litres of paint. There were no fewer than 84 slats for the sails which he had just finished painting. He has used a cherry picker to enable him to reach the outside of the mill. The mill will next be open to the public on the weekend after the May Bank Holiday. It is well worth a visit.

Willingham Mill

Ground floor at Willingham Mill

Adrian then went across the rough-stuff to Haddenham where we found the mill was closed after a party. The main group then went via Cottenham and Wilburton to Ely which we reached at 1pm. Some of us had lunch at the Maltings whilst the remainder went to the local park where they found a choir singing a selection from the Olympics and the Lion King.

We continued after lunch to Wicken Smock Mill, which was working when we arrived. It is very impressive with its huge sails swishing round. Again we had a very interesting tour of the mill. Afterwards we took the Lodes Way to Anglesey Abbey. When we reached the end of the Lodes Way several people turned north to find their way to Bottisham Lock, leaving the remainder of us to turn south to Lode and Anglesey Abbey.

Ground floor at Wicken Mill

Adrian and the mill owner at Wicken

In the cafe at Anglesey Abbey we met George and Ann, and soon afterwards we were joined by the afternoon ride led by Mike Kenny . They had visited Swaffham Prior Mill which is used for grinding flour. On the other side of the road is a water pumping mill which used to supply water for the nearby water tower. Mike Stapleton

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