Thursday, 29 November 2012

29 Nov: Thursday ride to Ickleton and Kedington

Edward writes: It was something of a surprise when twelve cyclists met in Hauxton for our trip out to Kedington. The forecast was for a clear, but cold day and an obvious improvement on the previous few days. Unfortunately, just as most of us were leaving our homes there were one or two light showers which would have put a few doubts in people’s minds. It was certainly cold, but we set off with a following light wind on our backs. The wind was in the north and we were basically heading south. So, out of Hauxton and in into Little Shelford and into Newton.

Mick C was our leader today and it was his intention to have a relatively short route to coffee at Ickleton followed by a longer ride through to Kedington. Therefore, after Newton we travelled through Thriplow and Fowlmere to bring us out to a busy A505. After all of us had crossed this road it was Chrishall Grange and then then the narrow lanes which lead into Ickleton and the Riverside Barns for the coffee break.


At coffee there were more arrivals giving us fifteen in total, including Myrtle who had arrived with Doug; it was also good to see Joseph out. Coffee and cake in the warmth was almost a bit too comfortable, making for a certain reluctance to get underway again. However, the deed had to be done and eventually twelve, after the usual comings and goings, set off for Kedington. This entailed a mile or so on the old A11 as far as Littlebury where we turned to join Windmill Hill which runs down into Saffron Walden. We left Saffron Walden with the Common on our right and climbed out on the Ashdon road and into Ashdon itself.

Towards Ashdon

The sun was out and from the height we had gained we had the first of many fine views over the surrounding countryside, showing that all of our seasons, even in winter, have something nice about them. In Ashdon we turned for Steventon End and out into the country and the long, quiet stretches before reaching Helions Bumpstead, which of course, is followed by Steeple Bumpstead.

After Steventon End

This then led onto the road for Sturmer which is narrow but gains height and once again giving delightful views all around. Following all the recent rains it was not surprising that the roads were at times extremely messy and many with water running down from the high ground. After Sturmer and another three miles we were in Kedington and our lunch stop, arriving just after 1pm.

Olmstead Green

As is usual some had sandwiches and ate them outside and then to come in for coffee, whilst others ordered lunch in the pub. Sadly, the pub was unable to cope with us all and it was nearly an hour before the meals were served. It has to be said that we may have contributed ourselves by forgetting to ring in advance to warn them of our arrival, so maybe the message is that we should always ring in advance, especially when we have a large group.

After Helions Bumpstead

Because of the long wait it was decided that the we should split the group with Mick leading those who were ready to go on and leave those who had ordered lunch to follow later, under Rupert’s guidance. Thus the leading group set off and crossed the A143 into Great Wratting where we turned towards Withersfield, to be followed by the trip over Wratting Common. We turned left here to face a very low and very bright sun before arriving in West Wickham.

Wratting Common

There then followed the up hill and down hill into Balsham. Between the A11 and Fulbourn I had a puncture which Mick took charge of and we soon got underway again. We decided that it was best for Sarah and Tony to go on as too many people standing around on this fast road wouldn’t be safe. Not only that the light was beginning its fast descent into dusk, and a rapid drop in temperature. We said goodbye to Averil in Fulbourn and Mick and I went back to Shelford by going over the Gogs and the DNA path from the hospital. This was a very good ride through some our our favourite roads in this Essex and Suffolk border area, so thanks to Mick for another good route. We did 55 miles.Edward Elmer

View this route on a larger map

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