Monday, 22 June 2015

21 Jun: Sunday all-day ride to Stradishall, Long Melford and West Wratting

Conrad writes: Today was the longest day of the year and it didn't start very promising with an overcast sky and clouds that thankfully only threatened rain. I arrived at Brookside to find Eva, Martin, Greg, first-timer Rafal from Poland and Mike who was on his first CTC ride since completing LEJOG last year.

I led the group on my usual route to Adams, i.e. through Midsummer Common, Fen Ditton, and then the climb to Brinkley. Along the way we met several riders going the other way who were competing in some event or other. After Carlton, we turned left onto Temple End Road, where I fatefully told the group that this was a “quiet road”. Of course, this was the cue for all kinds of large vehicles transporting horses to appear.

We arrived at Adam’s at 10:45 am, aided somewhat by the tail wind. Keith was already there having breakfast and the place was crawling with motorbikers. Adam’s isn’t my favourite place, ambience-wise for a stop, so after 20 minutes, I suggested that we leave so that we could have time to take a more interesting route to Long Melford. Surprisingly, no one turned back to Cambridge, which must be a record of some sort.

From Adams, i led the group on the usual route to Deniston via Cowlinge, but instead of turning right to Stansfield, I turned towards Hawkedon and then Boxted. This was easily the best part of the ride with quiet narrow lanes and some beautiful rolling hills with grazing horses and cattle. The sun had appeared by now and we flew down the lanes with the help of the tailwind.

Given our progress, I decided to add a loop via Hartest and the dreaded Hartest Hill, which carries one arrow on the OS map. But I had a strong group today and I heard someone say at the top of the climb, bah this has nothing on Chapel Hill.

We still had lots of time so I added another loop through Shimping, Bridge Street and we only turned south at the outskirts of Lavenham. Even with these loops, we still arrived at Long Melford 15 minutes early.

Today’s lunch stop was the Crown and as I had brought my own lunch, I can't comment on the food, but it looked pleasant enough.

Since we would be facing a headwind on our way to the tea stop at West Wratting, I thought it would be prudent to set off early and so by 1:30 pm, we were back on the road again. We took a fairly direct route, staying just south of the A1092 until Clare. Then it was a pleasant ride through Kedington, Great Wratting, Withersfield before arriving at the Chestnut at the ungodly hour of 3:30pm. Martin, Mike and Greg left us at this point and we very politely waited till 4pm for the afternoon ride to arrive before eating. There were 11 riders in total.

I took my usual direct route home via Balsham and Fulbourn, but the majority went back to Cambridge via Six Mile Bottom. Ray and John E were feeling more adventurous and took a longer route that involved Horseheath, the Camps and Linton. The entire day ride would have covered 122km (76 miles) back to Brookside. Conrad Chua

West Wratting



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