Edward writes: For today's ride out to Horseheath and Dullingham we had a dozen riders meeting in Hauxton under overcast skies but mild temperatures. We left Hauxton without a leader and headed for Little Shelford where we met Jacob ("Oh, am I the leader?") waiting by the roadside and he was then able to take over the reins.
En route to Whittlesford we also met Mike B, like Jacob wearing shorts. We went over to Sawston using the cycle way where we turned right on to the high street and out to Pampisford. Already it was noticeable how many snowdrops were out with many fine displays growing in the verges. Once out of Pampisford we had to join the busy A505 in order to get to Great Abington and the good news is that work is well under way constructing the cycleway along this stretch of road.
Next up was a crossing of the A1307 which took us into Hildersham and a right turn along Back Road to Linton. This was the worst part of the day as the road rises and a lack of hedges leaves it completely unprotected, and the rain on the wind blew across us from the west. However, once we reached the built-up area it became easier and we left the village to once again cross the A1307. We rode straight through Bartlow and climbed again for the turning to Shudy Camps for another climb which left the two small hamlets of Mill Green and Cardinal’s Green before arriving at the Old Red Lion Inn in Horseheath.
This has always been a favourite stop for the Thursday group and today we were regally treated. Not only were they ready with the coffee but the chef had that morning made chocolate brownies and cookies (large ones) which for £2 was exceptional value. Already there were Bill, Geoff and Joseph, and, although not riding, Peter W. With a nice warm fire it’s hard to encourage people out to resume the ride, but we eventually got everybody out on the road and headed out towards West Wickham where we had a following wind to take us across Wratting Common up to the Little Thurlow turn. We joined this very rural and rather mucky route which runs for about two miles to where it joins the B1061 and we followed this road through Great Bradley, Burrough Green and finally into Dullingham and The Boot pub just before 1 pm.
The Boot is another enjoyable stopping point as we always receive a friendly welcome and we were ably to enjoy another pleasant break.
After lunch at about 2 pm we started out for the afternoon session and this took us down to Dullingham station and the very rare experience of finding the gates down and having to wait for the train; also, not very often seen these days, manually controlled gates and signal box.
After the excitement of seeing the train pass through we followed the road down to the A1304 and then took the road to Swaffham Bulbeck. As we crossed the A14 each side of the road had a nice early display of daffodils, and with the skies having cleared and the sun out it started to feel like spring. From Swaffham Bulbeck we went into Bottisham and then along the cycle way beside the A1303 which took us up to the newly named Cambridge International Airport (CIA !) where the group split up to go separate ways home. A group of five went alongside the airport into Cherry Hinton, up to the hospital and the DNA path to Great Shelford leaving Sarah and Craig to go back to Hauxton thus being the only ones to complete the full circuit and a most enjoyable 50 miles.
This was another good day out, especially as the weather improved as the day went on and, of course, special thanks to Jacob for taking us round. Edward Elmer
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