Thursday, 24 April 2014

24 Apr: Thursday ride to Swavesey and West Perry

Edward writes: When we met at Haslingfield Green today it was to a very still morning with little or nor breeze and under high cloud. Making his first appearance as leader was John R who had the task of taking us to Swavesey and then on the Perry which is beside Grafham Water. As usual with summer Thursday rides we had another large turnout with fourteen setting off to Harlton on the first leg of a long ride.


In Harlton we turned along Washpit Lane to briefly join the A603 and then made the turn into the road leading to Comberton. Once in Comberton we crossed the high street to go round the back of the village and join the long climb to take us up to Hardwick. We turned left and ran parallel to the A428 which we later crossed and this took us down into Dry Drayton. This was a new and welcome approach as we often get to Swavesey via Boxworth, but this time we went over the A14 and on into Oakington where we joined the busway. As we passed Longstanton Park and Ride we noticed how many cars there were and also how many cycles in the racks. From here we were soon in Swavesey and the last mile to the Baptist Chapel where we arrived with immaculate timing at 11 am.


This week our hosts were the ladies from the Swavesey Festival Committee and they laid before use a wonderful selection of home made cakes which encouraged many of us to go back for second helpings, and all for £2 for cake and coffee or tea. This remains a very popular coffee stop. Needless to say in Swavesey we were joined by many others, including Eva, Sarah, Belinda, Sharon and Rupert.


At about 11 45am we got under way again and headed back down the busway to go into St Ives and some negotiation of the streets brought us to the still new cycleway which took us to Houghton Mill. Now, of course, with the river levels back to normal the meadows were no longer flooded in contrast to our last trip through here. Next was the ride over the common where we seemed to unsettle a calf which had broken away from the herd of cows it was with and ran alongside us until we reached the gate at the far end of the common. Once we were out of sight presumably the animal was able to settle down and rejoin the herd.


With all that excitement behind us it was back to the serious matter of threading our way through the busy roads of Godmanchester and find the road for Offord Cluny where Richard and Tony left us. After we had crossed the railway we soon came to Buckden and a crossing to the A1 and we were finally on the road to Perry and our lunch stop arriving at about 1.15pm. and 35 miles. As is often the case when we travel to the west of Cambridge we were joined by Richard M who had cycled over from Bedford.


Most of the group took lunch in the Wheatsheaf and a smaller group took their packed lunches and sat beside the reservoir and enjoyed the sunshine.

After lunch we all came together to start the afternoon session (Sarah and Eva left us here), and now began a lovely quiet rural route through Dillington to Great Staughton, round Little Staughton Airfield and then on to Bushmead.

Little Staughton

Apparently credit for this section of the route is due to Belinda and Sharon who have local knowledge of this area. As we said goodbye to Richard M we now headed through Staploe and on into Eaton Socon and St Neots where we also said good bye to Belinda and Sharon. Our group was still over ten strong as we made our way along the cycle route over the river and past the new housing estates and avoiding vast numbers of school children from the nearby academy.

St Neots

We were now back into familiar ground as we came up to Waresley and we now followed a well worn path through Great Gransden, Caxton and Bourn where some returned into Cambridge leaving the final five to finish the ride back through the Eversdens and Harlton to Haslingfield, arriving at 4.45pm and 68 miles. A really enjoyable long ride and a suitable rehearsal for those making the 75 mile ride up to Brancaster next week. Our thanks to John for such a fine day out. Edward Elmer

View this GPS track on a larger map. Download GPS track (GPX).

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