Edward writes: This day had to come. We've been basking in this Indian summer for so long it seemed that it wouldn't end, but end it did. Only on Tuesday those who went out were in shorts but today the winter gear came out. Not that it was desperately cold but the strong wind blowing in from the north west certainly gave us a considerable wind chill which was to make the afternoon ride particularly hard graft.
Needless to say the number out on the ride was reduced and so only nine set off from Hauxton with Mick C at the helm for our ride out to Green Tye, close to Bishop's Stortford. As we were heading south the wind for most of the morning was on our backs so we had a easy morning's ride. Our route out from Hauxton was familiar, going through Little Shelford and over the hill to Newton, Thriplow and Fowlmere before reaching the A505. Surprisingly the A505 wasn't busy and we all crossed with no waiting and this soon brought us to Chrishall Grange which heralds the long climb up to the Elmdon turning where we stopped so that we all could come together again. Now from this high point we had an undulating ride taking in Heydon and Great Chishill and of course taking more of a buffeting from the wind as we made our way through Shaftenhoe End before arriving at Nuthampstead for our coffee break at the Woodman Inn. The coffee was already waiting for us and we all sat down before a log fire to enjoy the break. This is always an interesting pub to call at as it has many fine photos depicting scenes from the days when the American 380th Bomber Group flew from here during WW11.
Reluctantly we had to drag ourselves away from the cozy fire and head off again, now joined by Doug, only briefly today, David Ms, Peter W and John who had joined us just before Nuthampstead. Today's route took us through Anstey whose church has a window dedicated to the bomber group, then down to Great Hormead. We were now in very quiet villages in this Essex and Hertfordshire border area and soon we were were riding into Furneux Pelham and just before entering the village we saw three roe deers scampering about in the field next to us. Sadly they seemed sensitive to our presence and quickly made off so it was not possible to get a picture. Now riding became very easy as, with the wind behind us, we headed more or less down hill through Clapgate and Gravesend before coming to the inevitable long wait to cross the A120 at Little Hadham - at least there is a sign warning of a long wait.
Once over the A120 it was now just a short ride to Much Hadham where we turned off to join the very narrow road with one or two steep climbs and a ford crossing where we had a couple of minor mishaps on the slippery road. Luckily no damage was done. This now left us with a mile or so to go through Perry Green and finally the Prince of Wales pub for lunch Green Tye.
We were well looked after and the pub which, on its website welcomes cyclists, also had a good choice of beers. It was just before 2pm when we started for home again and we retraced our way back to Much Hadham before turning off to pass through Standon and then on to Puckeridge. Of course the wind was in our faces as it was all the way home and riding was especially hard work. After Puckeridge we toiled along the B1368 for about five or six miles passing through Braughing, Hay Street, Dassels and Hare Street; this was heading north west and it was certainly slow, hard work before we reached the turning for Anstey.
We took this road and thus reacquainted ourselves with Nuthampstead and Shaftenhoe End before arriving in Barley. Normally this is the point where we can relax and enjoy the long downhill to Flint Cross. Not this time as we were face on into the wind which had seemed to gather strength during the afternoon, so downhill it may have been but it still required a lot of pedalling. Once over the A505 it was just a couple of miles into Fowlmere, a diversion via Thriplow and back into Newton and finally Great Shelford where the ride ended with 60 quality miles to our credit. Our thanks to Mike for our day out; hard work it may have been but well worth it.Edward Elmer
View this GPS track on a larger map