Edward writes: One week passes and we are in another land. Last week was horrid with rain and wind and decidedly cold, but today couldn’t have been more different. It was blue skies, sunny, a bit of a northerly breeze and temperatures round about twenty degrees centigrade. So it was that fourteen riders set off from Haslingfield for our trip out to Much Hadham under the guidance of John F, and a splendid day it turned out to be.
Just to add a touch of reality to the proceedings we started with a climb up Chapel Hill and, of course, with such a clear day we had fine views for miles over the surrounding countryside.
Chapel Hill, Barrington
Once in Barrington we were joined by David who was riding with us for the first time. We quickly cleared Barrington and then on to Shepreth and over the A10 for the couple of miles up to Fowlmere.
We then headed out to Flint Cross to go over the A505 and finally on to quieter roads. Fortunately we didn’t have to climb up to Barley but instead turned left to take the long, but gentler climb up to Great Chishill. On this road we even saw a buzzard take off from the road and then to give us a wonderful display by circling just overhead.
We used Great Chishill for re-grouping, shed some layers of clothes and to take on water. From this high point of the county we had some long descents to reach Shaftenhoe End and it was along here that we saw three more buzzards circling overhead.
Now the roads were undulating, but with the breeze on our backs cycling was the pleasure it should be. Next up was Anstey and then down to the B1368 for the final run in to Hare Street. This was our coffee stop at the cafe now known as the March Hare tea and coffee cafe.
Already there were four others taking our total to nineteen. This was a very pleasant break as we sat outside in the extensive garden and enjoyed the coffee and cakes and the staff, who were forewarned of our arrival, were well prepared for us. We left Hare Street and now joined very narrow country lanes with hedgerows and the fields, which were predominately yellow and green, plus the blue skies made it all look an enticing scene. These narrow lanes took us to Furneux Pelham where we turned due south for the fairly long run down to Little Hadham via Patmore Heath and Clapgate and still feeling the benefit of the breeze which was still following us as we travelled south. After the interminable wait to cross the A120 (there is a sign that warns of a long wait) we were on the last couple of miles into Much Hadham and the the Bull which was our lunch stop.
We had to make a change to the published lunch stop as we found out that the Prince of Wales pub in Green Tye would not be doing lunches on this Thursday. The Bull has an enclosed sitting area plus a large garden so we were all able to sit outside to eat pub grub or our own sandwiches. We enjoyed a pleasant hour here and started the afternoon session at about 2 pm.
The return journey meant using the same road we came down on but finally turning for Stocking Pelham and then on to Clavering and, even though we were now riding into the wind, cycling was not difficult. After Clavering we went through Arkesden and then on the narrow lanes that led us up to Duddenhoe End which was followed by the last major climb of the day up to Elmdon and from now on it was downhill all the way with only Ickleton, Duxford and Whittlesford to pass through as we journeyed home to Cambridge.
This gave us a total of 62 miles and of course we thank John F for a great ride and not forgetting the weather. A sunny day changes everything. Edward Elmer
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