Thursday, 28 March 2013

28 March: Thursday ride to Reed and Baldock

Edward writes: The weather forecast seemed to suggest we would be in for day with a slightly a higher temperature, or at least a bit less cold, as even a degree or so higher would have been appreciated. At 9.30am on Haslingfield Green it did at least look promising as the sun was out, some blue sky and the wind, still in the east, but not blowing quite so strongly. This must have encouraged the dozen or so riders who met for our trip out to Baldock under the stewardship of John F. Our original plan was to give Hattie’s, a cafe in Bassingbourn a first visit, but owing to their lack of seats indoors, it had been decided instead to go the the Silver Ball in Reed.

Fowlmere

We left Haslingfield with a stiff climb up Chapel Hill with its usual reward of fine views from the top and then down into Barrington, to be followed by Shepreth. This brought us to the busy A10 which was crossed and shortly after brought us to Fowlmere and then out to the other busy road, the A505 at Flint Cross. This brought us to our next climb when we turned for the two mile stretch up to Great Chishill.

Near Great Chishill

Great Chishill

By now the sun had given up and the temperature dropped, in fact there was a one degree difference from the bottom of the hill and Great Chishill where we recorded a temperature of two degrees. Not surprising as we were now surrounded by the remains of the recent snow and it showed how the lower levels around Cambridge had escaped mainly unscathed. We regrouped in Great Chishill and left the village with the rapid descent and the undulating road to Shaftenhoe End. From here to where we joined the B1368 at Barkway the snow was piled up high beside the road. We entered Barkway and then turned for the climb up to Reed and most of us were starting to feel the cold with the gain in height, but at least the views down towards Royston might have been worth the discomfort.
We all arrived safely to the warmth of the Silver Ball cafe where at least four others were already enjoying their coffee. After coffee Sarah and Jacob decided discretion was the better part of valour and headed for home, and the remainder split into two groups for the leg out to Baldock. Thus we went down to Reed End and then on to Sandon. Even though it was cold it was still nice to ride through this quiet countryside with its narrow roads, albeit partly covered in snow and stretches of ice and sometimes running water. Next on the list was Wallington and soon after to a footpath/cycleway which enabled us to cross the new Baldock bypass and finally to Baldock town centre.

Near Barkway

Near Barkway

Lunch was taken at the Fish Restaurant and unfortunately we rather overwhelmed them and it took a little time before everyone was served, but at least we were in the warm. When everyone had eaten we got under way again and from now on we would be riding into the cold east wind. We left the town and quickly joined the road to Bygrave which meant some more climbing and it did feel cold as we ploughed on into the wind and with snow on the surrounding fields which certainly made for a bleak wintry scene, and this is meant to be spring. Bygrave was followed by more up and down riding as we approached Ashwell. Sadly, in Ashwell, the tree on the green where we sit for coffee has been felled and the bench has also been removed. The journey back was the direct route through Steeple Morden, Littlington, Bassingbourn, Meldreth and Shepreth before a final climb of Chapel Hill and back down into Haslingfield with a well-earned 45 miles to add to our log.

Steeple Morden

Steeple Morden

We must thank John for the day’s outing which, despite the cold, was enjoyed by all. Edward Elmer


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