Thursday, 29 January 2015

29 Jan: Thursday ride to Newport and Barley

Edward writes: Despite a forecast that promised us a fine morning followed by showers, and possibly sleet or snow, in the afternoon, a dozen riders turned up in Hauxton for our ride out to Newport and Barley. Into the mixture there would also be a strong westerly wind which in the afternoon became a northerly wind and very cold.

At the start Rupert announced that he had come without overshoes and decided to return home - definitely a case of cold feet. This left the remainder to set out on a conventional route out through Little Shelford and Whittlesford to reach the A505. The wind was more or less against us and the sun was still very low against the clear blue sky making it quite difficult to see.

Once we had cleared the A505 we went through Duxford and on to Ickleton and on to our old friend Coploe Hill. The climb up to our re-grouping spot is hedge lined which kept the wind off us, but after a brief stop at the top the wind buffeted us as there are few hedges on this part.

Coploe Hill

Coploe Hill

We arrived at Catmere End and,in view of the weather and the recent rain, we decided against going via the country route to Wendens Ambo and instead went down Chestnut Avenue to the B1383 where we turned right for the last mile and half into Newport.

Catmere End

En route we had been joined by Mike B and John F and at Newport we found Craig already warming himself with a cup of coffee. As the sun was still out some of us were able to sit outside protected from the wind and it felt quite pleasant.

Arriving at Newport

After coffee one or two went straight home leaving the remainder to head for Wicken Bonhunt where a group of self-proclaimed faint hearts (no names) left us to go into Arkesden and head for home.

Wicken Bonhunt

This left about eight to tackle the complete circuit which took us first to Rickling, where we saw a couple of black swans on the pond, followed by Berden.

Black swans at Rickling

We were now heading south westerly and feeling the full force of the wind, and across here the roads is very exposed, there being no hedge cover. After Berden we went through both Stocking Pelham and Brent Pelham, but now we had turned more north westerly and the wind became less of a problem.

Brent Pelham

We were also beginning to see the sky cloud over which made the prospect of that sleet in the weather forecast become a real possibility. Next up was Meesden soon followed by Anstey and then the lovely twisting road into Nuthampstead. It’s still a source of amazement that Nuthampstead was considered for London's third airport before Stansted was finally chosen.



This brought us to Barley and the Chequers for lunch arriving at the slightly later time of 1.30 pm.

Arriving at Barley

The pub was busy and obviously provides very nice meals but unfortunately they didn’t have a record of our intention to visit. Nevertheless they rallied round and those who ordered a meal didn’t have to wait too long which enabled us to get underway again at 2.30 pm. As we stepped outside the weather had deteriorated and there was a brief sleet flurry, but also the wind was now northerly thus thwarting our hopes of being blown home down the B1368. As we made our way downhill to Flint Cross we could see dark and threatening clouds over to our left and made us wonder if we could make it before being caught out. We made it to Flint Cross and turned for Fowlmere when a hailstorm developed and it was like shards of glass on our faces and also painful. In no time at all we were in a complete whiteout as the hail turned to snow and the road was completely covered.

Between Flint Cross and Fowlmere

This meant we had to very careful to stay on our bikes but we eventually arrived safely in Fowlmere and the worst of the storm had blown over. This still meant a careful ride into Newton and then into Little Shelford before finishing the ride in Great Shelford at 3.40 pm. At 41 miles this was a much shorter ride than normal but in view of the afternoon conditions one in which we were all glad to be home and in the warm. Despite it all there were smiles at the end so I think we all enjoyed it and thanks to everyone who came out. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

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