Friday, 14 November 2014

13 Nov: Thursday ride to Ickleton and Hadstock

Edward writes: For today's ride out to Ickleton and Hadstock 23 cyclists met in Hauxton under a very autumnal sky. Although still relatively mild, at least for this time of the year, there was a stiff south easterly breeze and this was to be a feature of our ride for most of the day, and with the cloud cover it seemed there would be little prospect of seeing the sun. Ickleton is only a few miles on a direct route from Hauxton and so we had to plan a rather large loop to put in a worthwhile ride before coffee.

Thus we went out via Little Shelford and Whittlesford and then on to Newton into the face of the wind. After travelling through Thriplow and Fowlmere we made our way out to Flint Cross on the A505 and the turning up to Great Chishill. Now we faced a severe test as this was a two mile climb and into the very teeth of the wind and by the time the first riders reached Great Chishill there was quite a wait for the back markers to catch up; it did, though, give us the opportunity for a well earned breather.

Flint Cross to Great Chishill

Flint Cross to Great Chishill

Great Chishill

We proceeded into Heydon and then a bit more climbing on the approaches to Elmdon, but now came the reward of a couple of miles downhill with the wind more or less behind as we descended into Ickleton and the Riverside Barns for coffee.

Elmdon

Ickleton

We arrived here at about 11.20am, a bit later than planned, but against the wind progress couldn't be too rapid, and here we found other members who had cycled out independently. We always enjoy this coffee stop and today its warmth was very welcoming as riding into all the wind had made us feel quite cold. Needless to say there was the usual exchange of personnel after coffee but still a large group assembled for the next stage of the ride. We used the farm track to join Coploe Hill and more fighting against the wind especially after reaching the top as there is not so much hedgerow protection.

Coploe Hill

Catmere End

This brought us to Catmere End and the approach to Littlebury Green where we turned for more climbing on the twisting roads before the rapid descent to Wendons Ambo. We crossed the B1383 and climbed up to Saffron Walden and negotiated the town's busy streets and took the Ashdon road for another climb.

Saffron Walden

Ashdon turning from Saffron Walden

When we reached the top of the hill we decided to shorten our route as the plan had been to go via Sewards End to Ashdon but instead we took the direct route and this gave us some relief from the wind as it was no longer head on. Now with the worst of the climbing behind us we made rapid progress through Ashdon and Bartlow where we turned for Hadstock and the very welcome sight of the King's Head.

Already there we found Jacob and Adrian, who had left us at Ickleton to indulge their off road skills, Doug, Mike S and Vic F. It was nice to be in the warm again and we enjoyed a very satisfactory lunch. The early arrivals, joined by Sarah and David M, left before the main party so when we left we were a group of nine.

After lunch at Hadstock (Photo: Belinda Borneo)

Hadstock is only about twelve miles from Hauxton and as it was about 2.15pm when we left we expected to be home before requiring lights. With the hills now behind us and a following wind we soon reached Linton and Hildersham and the B1307. We crossed this road into Great Abington and soon after on to the new cycleway along side the A505 until the Babraham turning and then into Sawston.

Babraham to Sawston cycleway

We finished the ride using the cycleway to Whittlesford and finally into Little Shelford at 3.15 pm, and those going back to Hauxton would have completed 52 miles, being just about right for a Thursday winter ride. Edward Elmer

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