Edward writes: When many of us left home this morning very few would have expected to be amongst a group of twenty who had assembled in Hauxton for our ride out to Hadstock. This was a ride originally to be led by David Ms but, sadly, he is indisposed and we all wish him a speedy return to fitness and to rejoin us for the Thursday rides; consequently Rupert stepped into the breach to be today’s leader. This week was another lucky break with the weather - yesterday afternoon was vile but today was reasonably mild, dry and, most importantly, very little wind.
Obviously twenty riders meant two groups and so we set off via Little Shelford to Newton, through Thriplow and Fowlmere and out to the A505 which for once wasn’t very busy and soon we were in Chrishall Grange. A small group branched off here to pursue a shorter and flatter route to Ickleton, our coffee stop. The main group were left to toil uphill to the Heydon and Elmdon turning and this was followed by another climb up to Elmdon which then gave us the long descent into Ickleton and the Riverside Barns for coffee. Doug, Craig and Mike K joined us there and we rather overran the place by occupying all the seats, but they coped very well and we enjoyed a pleasant half hour or so before it was time to move off.
As is usual there were a number of comings and goings after coffee but it was still a large group that carried on for the ride out to Hadstock. We used the farm track to access the the climb up Coploe Hill and from the top we enjoyed the fine views over the surrounding countryside. At this time of the year there isn't too much to report on country activities as the new crops are only just starting to re-colour the fields and we saw little evidence of bird life. After Coploe Hill we went through Catmere End and towards Littlebury Green but turning to use the narrow, undulating road with its long descent to Wendons Ambo, where we briefly joined the B1383 and turned into Saffron Walden.
There are always hills when going through Saffron Walden, so after the descent into the town we had the long climb out along the Ashdon Road before doing a detour onto the road which goes to Sewards End and then another narrow road which, after a couple of miles, joins the Radwinter to Ashdon road.
Thus we arrived in Ashdon and a further two miles brought us to Bartlow and two more miles into Hadstock and these last two miles afford several glimpses of the former railway which ran from Shelford to Haverhill and beyond.
We arrived at the King’s Head at about 1.15pm and, embarrassingly, we completely overwhelmed them. Although they had been told to expect about ten there were already seven eating lunch who had made separate journeys to Hadstock. The landlord was very good and dealt with the situation very well as, with those only having tea or coffee, there were over twenty of us all together. It was good to see Vic and Mike S along with Adrian coming out for lunch. Importantly, though, the pub will still be pleased for us to make further visits.
After lunch we returned to Bartlow where we climbed up to cross the A1307 and up to the crossroads for West Wratting and Balsham. We went into Balsham and then a nice two mile descent into Hildersham, back over the A1307 into Great Abington. Following yesterday’s rain we decided against using the farm track into Babraham but instead used the Four Went Ways roundabout and back into Babraham. Next was Sawston, Stapleford and Great Shelford where the ride finished as we were now a small group as people were already splitting off to head for home. Thanks to Rupert for another of our long list of very enjoyable rides; those who made it back to Hauxton would have covered 53 miles, finishing about 3.40pm. Edward Elmer
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