Thursday, 7 February 2013

7 Feb: Thursday ride to Saffron Walden and Horseheath

Edward writes: Last week we may have thought that winter was behind us, but not a bit of it. Although the bitter winds from earlier in the week had abated it was still cold, but at least mainly sunny. This seems to be the point in winter when we wish it would it just go away. Nonetheless, about ten riders turned up at Greta’s for today’s ride out to Saffron Walden and Horseheath. Greta was also to report that already she had cycled 25 miles this week, thus making really good progress.

Coploe Hill

Today’s ride was led by Mike C and he took us out of Little Shelford by way of Whittlesford and Duxford. There are not many choices of route between Little Shelford and Saffron Walden so we took the safer option by going over Coploe Hill. Alternative and narrower roads had the risk of ice patches and it was decided not to take risks. Coploe Hill is no bad thing as it rarely ever fails when it come to views, and today under bright sunshine proved to be no exception: always ignoring the motorway, of course! Following the usual re-grouping at the top we went on to Catmere End, but before that we were joined by David M and Barbara who joined us from Royston Lane. From Catmere End it was downhill through Chestnut Avenue where some tree-felling had taken place. Last summer some of the trees had looked pretty well past it, but to compensate new planting was going on. This soon brought us to Saffron Walden and the Temeraire where, already waiting for us, were Doug and Peter W.

Catmere End

After coffee Barbara and Sue left us, leaving the rest of us to ride through the town and out along Little Walden Road which, unsurprisingly, took us to Little Walden and then over the old airfield at Hadstock Hill and into Hadstock. Here we turned right, climbed the hill out of the village and followed the quiet road into Bartlow. Next we headed up to the A1307 which we crossed and up to the crossroads between Balsham and West Wickham where both Adrian and Gerry left us. We turned to West Wickham, quickly followed by Streetly End and then, one of our favourite hostelries, the Old Red Lion at Horseheath and lunch with the time about 12.45pm and 26 miles. At lunch we were joined by Tony.

Hadstock Airfield

We left Horseheath at about 1.30pm and retraced our steps to West Wickham and then we headed up to Wratting Common. This is open land and when we turned towards West Wratting we faced what little breeze there was and for the first time today it felt cold. In West Wratting Peter left us and the remainder went along to Balsham and then the two-mile downhill into Hildersham.

Sawston

The last few miles home were via Great Abington, then along to the Four Went Ways roundabout, along the A1307 for a few yards before turning into Babraham and Sawston. We went through Sawston and on to the cycleway to Whittlesford where the two Davids peeled off and the last five went back to Little Shelford and the ride’s end, giving us 47 miles. As ever our thanks to Mike for leading another enjoyable Thursday ride. Edward Elmer


View this route on a a larger map

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