Thursday, 15 May 2014

15 May: Thursday ride to Horseheath and Clare

Edward writes: Last week we had abysmal weather - cold and wet - but what a difference seven days makes! Today we were blessed with warmth, a blue sky and so little wind that it was never a feature of the day. In fact this was one of those days you wish you could roll it up and take round with you and bring out for days on the bike.

This week we met at Hauxton Green and, no surprises here, we had twenty riders assembled for the trip out to Horseheath and then on to Clare, and this week we were under the expert eye of Mike C. This week we welcomed Sean who was making his first appearance with the Thursday group, having previously been out on the club’s weekend rides.


With so many we split into two groups and left Hauxton up to Whittlesford where we joined the cycle way over to Sawston and as we passed Whittlesford Church a cuckoo was heard.


We went through Sawston and joined the other cycleway to Babraham and then on to the much improved farm track through to Great Abington.

Babraham to Great Abington

A slight hitch to the plans occurred here as the second group took the back road via Hildersham whereas the first group went through the Great Abington and also through Hildersham village. The result of this was that the second group, on the slightly shorter route, got in front of the lead group. None of this really mattered as the difference in mileage was negligible.


We passed through Linton, back over the A1307 and down into Bartlow followed by the climb up to the turning for Shudy Camps.

Bartlow to Shudy Camps

We continued with another gentle climb through Shudy Camps and then the tiny hamlets of Mill Green and Cardinal's Green before making another crossing of the A1307 (Upset Driver No 1) into Horseheath where we stopped for coffee and cakes at the ever-welcoming Old Red Lion Inn.

Cardinal's Green

Not unexpectedly we were greeted by more members and one count made twenty six in total. We all sat outside in the sunshine and enjoyed the fare on offer and as usual we were extremely well looked after. It’s worth reminding members that the Old Red Lion is hosting a cycling event on the day of the tour and are inviting clubs to join them.


After leaving the pub, again in two groups, we went along to West Wickham and over Wratting Common before joining the always popular cross country route via Little Thurlow to the A143.

Little Thurlow

Along here a buzzard could be seen overhead (as well as Upset Driver No 2 who passed us with a volley of abuse). Once on the A134 we passed the prison at Stradishall and turned off the main road for a short loop before coming back to the A134 which we crossed and then headed for Denston. This brought us to a most attractive section of our ride as the lanes were narrow with grass growing in the middle as we passed through Assington Green. It should be said how fabulous the countryside looked under the sunshine with May blossom on the hedgerows and of course the ever present Queen Annes's Lace and many other colours which made a very attractive backdrop to our ride.


It's also notable how the seasons move on as the brilliant yellow of the oil seed rape starts to fade away and the corn crops become more evident. Our next village was Poslingfield and a last downhill took us into Clare arriving at about 1.30 pm. and 38 miles. The time didn’t matter as lunch is not booked here so some had packed lunches in the park where the last vestiges of the old railway can still be seen, others ate in The Cock and yet others had fish and chips.


After lunch we all assembled outside The Cock before starting the return leg which took us up to Hundon and shortly after into Kedington and a crossing of the A143 which took us into Great Wratting. Again we were on narrow country lanes taking us up to Withersfield and the second crossing of Wratting Common but this time heading for West Wratting. In this village the group divided into two with about half heading off to Six Mile Bottom and thence into Cambridge whilst the last remaining eight carried on into Balsham before heading down into Hildersham and Great Abington, back over the farm track to Babraham and Sawston. We finished the ride via Stapleford and Great Shelford and the last four of Belinda, Sharon, Craig and David W completed the full circuit running up 64 miles. This was a splendid ride in perfect weather, in fact one for the scrapbook, and so our thanks to Mike C for taking us round. Edward Elmer

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

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