Thursday, 18 December 2014

18 Dec: Thursday ride to Bourn and Houghton

Edward writes: This was the last Thursday ride before we reach the shortest day and it was very windy but still eighteen members arrived at Haslingfield Green for our ride out to Bourn and Houghton. Adrian was the designated leader for this ride and few people know the roads of Cambridgeshire, if not East Anglia, better than him. Despite the wind it was a mild, sunless day and we had to spend nearly all morning fighting against it. The ride started with a brisk climb up Chapel Hill into Barrington followed by the trip round to Orwell which gave us both headwind and side wind.

Chapel Hill, Haslingfield

After Orwell we crossed the A603 and made our way into the Wimpole Estate and not surprisingly it had hardly any visitors, in fact more animals grazing in the fields.

Wimpole Hall

Wimpole was followed by headwinds through Arrington and Croydon and inevitably leading to the very stiff climb up Croydon Hill. Now, all this toil into the wind slowed us down making it certain that we would arrive late at our coffee stop as we still had to go through the both East Hatley and Hatley St George. Once through the Hatleys we were able to change direction as we crossed over to the road that leads to Gamlingay and now the wind was in our favour and it was such a relief as we sailed towards Little Gransden and Longstowe and finally Bourn and the Abantu Cafe arriving at 11.30am.

Abantu Cafe, Bourn

Abantu Cafe, Bourn

As if eighteen wasn't a good enough number in itself a headcount at the cafe gave us twenty seven members - outstanding even for a summer ride. It’s a long time since we last visited here but we received a warm welcome and they coped very well with us all. Just before mid day we set off again but John E got a puncture but luckily and, almost inevitably, Mike C was on hand to do what was necessary. As this happened after everybody else had moved on Mike and John took a slightly different route to Cambourne, going via Caxton instead, whereas the main group went through Bourn and into Cambourne at a point just short of the A428.



When out of Cambourne the route then went through Eltisley and then to Knapwell and Connington. We were now heading more easterly, the wind was now more or less in our favour, and progress became much quicker as we approached Fenstanton and the underpass of the A14 to take us via Low Road, nearly into St Ives, and on to Hemingford Grey and Hemingford Abbots. Soon we were crossing the water meadows which, after recent rain, were beginning to have large puddles on them and as we crossed the river it was noticeable how high the water was. Now we were just a moment from our lunch stop at the Three Horseshoes in Houghton.


When we arrived about eight or nine had lunch in the pub where there was a nice warm fire, and some sat outside to eat sandwiches and many of the latter group went for a cup of tea in the new cafe right on the square.

Pub cat (19 years old)

When it was time to go a group of about seven or eight left first, leaving a group of eleven to follow on taking the Thicket cycle path to St Ives where we joined the guided busway for a trouble free journey up to Oakington. Here we left the busway and turned back into the wind and the gathering gloom as the afternoon light faded away. We went through Oakington, over the A14 and into Dry Drayton and Madingley. Adrian accompanied Craig back to Haslingfield by way of Hardwick and Comberton while the last four went along to Coton roundabout on Barton Road where the ride ended. Most people would have exceeded 50 miles and thanks to Adrian for another good day out despite the hard graft in the morning. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

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