Thursday, 6 February 2014

6 Feb: Thursday ride to Newport and Hadstock

Edward writes: Normally, in sporting terms, a hat trick is a special achievement, but when you are a Thursday CTC rider, and for the third Thursday in succession it rains, you take a rather different view. Today the start was once again at Greta’s house in Hauxton and twelve riders gathered for our ride out to Newport and then on to Hadstock. We were joined by Jon who was a riding with us for the first time. Mike C was our leader and we left Hauxton under cheerless grey skies to go to Little Shelford and then on to Newton.

Chrishall

Luckily the wind, although mainly against us, wasn’t a serious problem and at this point, although it wasn’t raining, it didn’t seem far away. After Newton we went via Thriplow and Fowlmere to reach the A505 which this morning was very busy. It was then Chrishall Grange followed by the long climb up to the Elmdon turn where, as usual, we waited until we were all together again before heading on to Chrishall.

Duddenhoe End

As we descended to the Royston-Saffron Walden road the rain started and it was to remain with us for the rest of the day. At Wendon Lofts we turned for another climb up to Duddenhoe End which leads on to a long, winding and narrow cross-country route to Arkesden, followed by Wicken Bonhunt and finally, after nineteen miles, into Newport and the first break of the day, arriving at 11.20 am.

Newport

At Newport, where we were joined by David Ms, we went to the refurbished Dorrington’s and sat down in their comfortable chairs to enjoy coffee and cakes. Dorrington’s is a nice coffee stop and on a day such as this most are reluctant to leave. We finally got under way again just before midday and started with a lengthy climb up to the Widdington turn, but carried straight on, past the Saffron Walden-Debden turn, Carver Barracks and on to Wimbish. This now led us on to the ride through to Radwinter which, in the summer would be a thoroughly nice ride, but in today’s conditions with the rain and puddles hiding the potholes all over the road it could never be at its best. We crossed a couple of fords in full flow which in the summer would probably be without water. A measure of how much rain we have had is that all the roadside ditches are near to their tops; obviously this doesn’t anywhere near compare to the floods in Somerset and the south west. As we came into Radwinter we noticed that the road we had been cycling on was appropriately named Water Lane! We crossed the B1053 in Radwinter and joined the undulating ride to Ashdon where we turned towards Bartlow and then took the turning for Hadstock arriving at the King’s Head at 1.10pm.

Newport

Last time we came to this pub we overwhelmed them with about twenty wanting to eat, but this time only five of us had lunch so we didn’t cause any problems. We all had a nice meal and later were joined by those who had brought a packed lunch. This is a nice, friendly pub to visit and the landlord made us most welcome.

Hadstock

As we went outside the rain was now heavier so Mike decided it was best to take the shortest route home which was, of course, via Linton and then through Hildersham (sadly the Pear Tree has closed) and then on to Great Abington. We went up to the Granta Science Park and then along to the A1307 to ride round the Four Went Ways roundabout and into Babraham and Sawston where the eight riders who had left Hadstock quickly became four for the final few miles via the cycleway to Whittlesford and then Little Shelford where Sarah left us and finally Great Shelford where the ride ended. This gave us 48 miles and another soaking but our thanks to Mike for taking us round on an especially nice route. Let’s hope that next week we can break this sequence of rain-soaked rides. Edward Elmer


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