Thursday, 24 October 2013

2013-10-24 CTC Thursday ride to Horseheath and Dullingham

Edward writes: Once again all eighteen riders who met in Hauxton must have been thinking this is going to be the last opportunity to enjoy a good ride in such glorious weather, bearing in mind that this weekend the clocks go back, we'll soon be in November and who knows what weather will be in store for us. Ian W was today’s leader and this large convoy set off through the village into Little Shelford and then along to Whittlesford, gaining two more riders in the process, namely Jacob and Mike B.

Sawston

At the turning for the church in Whittlesford we joined the now not-so-new, but still splendid, cycleway through to Sawston. Unexpectedly, we turned right along the high street to the war memorial whereupon David Mr had an unusual mechanical fault in that his jockey wheel fell off. Everybody stopped and the parts were soon found and luckily the proprietor of Cousins Engineering was with us and he took over to get David on the road again.

Sawston

However, this did mean that the remainder resumed the ride whilst Mike fixed the problem which apparently took about ten minutes before they made their own way to Horseheath and actually arrived a few minutes before the main group. So, with the ride resumed, we went along to Pampisford and then along the A505 to the point where it turns off to go under the road to go through to Great Abington.

Pampisford

Thus we arrived at the A1307 to go into Hildersham where we met a vast throng of schoolchildren from Linton Village College who, as far as we could make out, were involved in a charity walk. Maybe they were enjoying their walk as much as we were enjoying our ride. From Hildersham we arrived in Linton and then followed a loop round Bartlow and Shudy Camps before the two small hamlets of Mill Green and Cardinal's Green and then walking our bikes over the A1307 into Horseheath and our ever-popular coffee stop at the Old Red Lion Inn.

Cardinal's Green

The Old Red Lion Inn never disappoints and, with those we met at the inn, our numbers had grown to twenty four thus giving the young lady looking after us plenty of work. As usual cakes were also provided and the charge was just one pound. As we had been so well looked after we all agreed that we should make this £1.50 to more truly reflect their efforts on our behalf.

Ian finally got everybody organised and we left Horseheath under cloudless blue skies, hardly any wind and cycling was a real pleasure as we headed up to West Wickham and out across Wratting Common to the Little Thurlow turning. This is a nice, narrow country road, but with plenty of mud on it as farm vehicles come on and off the fields. Now in this autumnal period we are able to enjoy the colours in the trees as they prepare to shed their leaves, especially enhanced by the bright sunlight. In Thurlow we turned for Great Bradley and then began a delightful run through the narrow Suffolk lanes via Kirtling and Woodditton and on to Stetchworth.

Kirtling

En route, in one field, we saw at least a dozen roe deers being looked after by the male and his formidable antlers. This stretch was a particularly pleasant part of our ride and after Stetchworth we just freewheeled down into Dullingham and The Boot for our lunch stop, arriving at about 1.20pm.

Dullingham

With about a dozen riders taking lunch we certainly gave the staff plenty of work (we had pre-booked), but everybody was well looked after and for those who had sandwiches it was equally pleasant sitting outside enjoying the sunshine. At about 2.10pm we started the afternoon session still with thirteen riders as we left go past Dullingham station and down past the polo grounds to the A1304, the A11 and on into Swaffham Prior before turning onto the Lodes Way.

Swaffham Prior

It seemed that everyone was keen to stay out and make the most of this glorious day and as we arrived back into Lode there were no takers for the shorter route back into Cambridge. So we went along to Bottisham, back over the A11and into Great Wilbraham and then Fulbourn where the final leg of our journey took us over the Gog Magog hills, into the hospital grounds and along the DNA path to Great Shelford. Along here Ian left us to make his way home to the other side of Cambridge, no doubt to reflect on a wonderful day out - a great route and wonderful weather. For those who completed the circuit back to Hauxton they covered 62 miles finishing by 4.30pm. Edward Elmer


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