Thursday, 18 April 2013

18 Apr: Thursday ride to Stradishall and Horseheath

Edward writes: This Thursday the weather was at least seasonal. This meant that we had moved on a long way from last week and most weeks prior to that. Today was sunny, reasonably warm, temperatures in the mid-teens centigrade, the promise of afternoon showers, but with just one drawback and that was a very lively south westerly wind. All of this encouraged thirteen to gather at Greta’s for our trip out to Stradishall by way of Horseheath with today’s ride being led by Mike C.

Sawston

After leaving Hauxton we met up with Peter W and Mike B in Whittlesford, just before the cycle way over to Sawston. This meant riding with the wind but with the hope that the wind would moderate itself by the afternoon session - it didn’t. We went into Sawston and along the cycleway to Babraham and as this is exposed we all received a considerably buffeting from the wind coming over our right shoulders. Now that the land had dried out we took the track through the farm and into Great Abington, over the A1307 into Hildersham and thence into Linton.

West Wickham

We travelled along Back Road in Linton and took the road up Rivey Hill to go past Chilford Hall before arriving in Balsham. Although the wind was still in our favour it did cause us problems, especially going by gaps in the hedgerows, and once or twice people riding two abreast came very close to being blown into each other. On leaving Balsham we did the fast downhill and slow climb up to West Wickham and then it was soon into Horseheath and the Old Red Lion Inn for coffee and a very welcome break. At the pub we found Geoff, Doug and David M plus our usual warm welcome from the staff with their coffee and cakes.

Horseheath

Horseheath

After a nice break it was back in the saddle again where we retraced our route back to West Wickham, but now we turned right and a free wheel nearly all the way across Wratting Common until we reached the turning for the Thurlows. This stretch of road is pleasantly rural, only having to make way for the occasional car. Now that the temperatures had risen and with bright sunshine the countryside had a real feel of spring about it. The daffodils, late as they were, made a fine show, also with celandines in the grass verges. Gardens are also starting to look very attractive, made up mainly of yellow and purple, in stark contrast to the rather bleak outlook of recent weeks. Eventually we reached the A143 where we turned left and soon arrived at our lunch break at Tubby T’s where we were all able to sit outside and enjoy our lunch in the sunshine.

Stradishall

Stradishall

After lunch we had only a mile or two with the wind before the inevitable turn and into the wind we went, and it didn’t disappoint. Luckily this area has many hedgerows and they at times provided some welcome relief. There are many lanes here and we threaded our way through via Lambfair Green, Trotting Horse Lane and finally into Great Bradley.

Great Bradley

The hedges were now a little less prevalent and the wind was a force to contend with, but once in Brinkley we had the long downhill to Six Mile Bottom to look forward to. This accomplished we crossed the old A11 and then into the long straight road to the Wilbrahams. Here the group split with four or five returning to Cambridge through Fulbourn and the other five went on to join the cycleway alongside Newmarket Road. We followed this to the Fen Ditton turn and from Fen Ditton we used the cycleway beside the river into Cambridge. We went along the Backs with its many colourful flowers and then into Grange Road, also looking splendid with the trees in blossom. Here we said goodbye to Averil and this left Mike, Sarah and me to return home through Grantchester. When the ride ended back in Hauxton we had added another 60 miles to the mileometer, and our thanks to Mike for taking us round and we all felt that, despite the wind, we would look back on it as a job well done.


View this route on a larger map

On Tuesday a number of us visited Jordan’s Mill (photo below), which had opened the previous day, and this looks like it could be a regular stopping place. Edward Elmer

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