Edward writes: Today continued the pattern of most of the days this year with no let up of the blustery winds. Even so, for January, the temperature was quite a pleasant nine or ten degrees centigrade and this encouraged a dozen members to meet in Hauxton for our rearranged trip out to Wimbish.
Our thanks to Craig who alerted us that Clavering Lakes would not be open and thus we Rupert was able to change the luncheon interval to Elder Street Farm Shop at Wimbish. Today Adrian was our ride leader and with Adrian at the helm there is always the possibility of some off-road work - probably, in view of all the recent wet weather, he thought it best to remain on the roads.
We left Hauxton and were soon into the wind for the run up to Newton where we turned right, back up the hill and down into Harston. As we had climbed twice the wind had certainly introduced itself to us and it would be in our faces for most of the morning session. From Harston, where many of the fields were under water, we went to Haslingfield and past our other Thursday start point before climbing up and then down into Barrington.
Between Barrington and Shepreth there was much flooding and some unhappy horses in one of the fields making what they could of it all. We soon crossed the A10 and then took the route round by the bird reserve to reach Fowlmere. It's nice to see that a new hedge has been planted towards the bird reserve which will eventually make a good wind break. We left Fowlmere and crossed over the A505 which took us to Chrishall Grange and then, with the wind at our backs, down Ickleton Grange, into Ickleton and our first break at the Riverside Barns where we found Vic F and Barbara already enjoying their coffee.
After coffee Peter left us to return home, but with Vic and Barbara we were now a group of thirteen, which used the farm track to reach Coploe Hill for a wind assisted ride to the top and for once we didn’t stop to regroup but carried on to Catmere End. Coploe Hill, as is often mentioned, rarely fails to disappoint, and with the weather and the light Improving all the time we were all able to enjoy both the climbs and the swoops downhill. We turned towards Littlebury Green and climbed again to reach the point above Wendens Ambo which left us with the somewhat rickety road to descend to join the Royston-Saffron Walden road. We turned right and had some more stiff climbs before another downhill brought us into Arkesden.
Next up was Wicken Bonhunt and Rickling Green before joining the B1383 to just before Ugley for another turn and then rode north parallel to the motorway where we found the turning for Widdington. Unfortunately, just after we turned Averil incurred a puncture, but by now we were running a little late so a group of about six took directions from Adrian and pushed on to lunch which would have been about four miles ahead. Meanwhile the usual team of puncture repair specialists took over to deal with Averil's bike.
When we all arrived at lunch it was interesting to note that the leading group were not the first to arrive!
A large table had been reserved for us and we were all able to enjoy a very pleasant break - this is a nice place to visit and on a Thursday at least dealt easily with all our requests.
After lunch, it was now about 2.45 and with limited light left all bar five decided on a direct route home and therefore made their way towards Saffron Walden. The remaining five (Mike, Averil, Vic, Adrian and me) joined the B184 and went through Wimbish and then enjoyed a rarely used route up to Radwinter where we crossed the B1054 for another pleasantly rural route with one or two climbs and a final descent into Ashdon. We went through to Bartlow and then onto Linton where we said goodbye to Vic leaving just four of us to push on for home as the night sky rapidly closed in. Rather than go over the farm track to Babraham we went via the Four Went Ways roundabout into Babraham, Sawston and then through Stapleford and finally Great Shelford where the ride ended after a very pleasant 59 miles just before 5 pm. Our thanks to Adrian who never fails to deliver an interesting route even if, on this occasion, he had to forgo his off-road delights. Edward Elmer
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