After so much cool and windy weather it was such a relief to go to the start under clear blue skies and, for once, virtually no wind to cause us problems. Averil was at the helm today and she started the ride over Chapel Hill into Barrington which, under blue skies, this picturesque village looked very pleasant indeed.
Next came Shepreth where we crossed over the A10 and headed up to Fowlmere and paused for a few minutes to allow everyone to come together.
We left Fowlmere and crossed the A505 at Flint Cross and this soon gave us the long two mile plus climb all the way up to Great Chishill. Although this is climbing all the way the incline is not all that strenuous and in the quiet we were able to hear the skylarks overhead. As we come to the end of June the flowers in the grass verges change as we now see the appearance of mallow, knapweed and of course scabious. It's such a shame that the local councils find it necessary to cut back many of the verges for no discernible safety reason thereby destroying any chance of the flowers reseeding themselves.
Flint Cross to Great Chishill
Great Chishill to Shaftenhoe End
After the long climb we all arrived in Great Chishill and then followed the delightfully undulating ride into Shaftenhoe End which gave us fine views over the countryside below us. This brought us out to the B1398 and into Barkway and more fine views as we approached Reed and the Silver Balltransport cafe for our first break of the day.
Barkway to Reed
Already there we found Doug and David M and as is often the case quite a few policemen. After coffee nine returned home but this still left ten to proceed to lunch. At first this took us
west to Dane End and then south though Green End and Mill End before arriving at the A10 and then the final mile into Buntingford.
As we passed through Buntingford a lead group of six formed and they got away and out of sight by the time the following four had reached Aspenden. We were now on the lovely stretch of road which passes through Westmill, a home of John Profumo for those who remember the name, and Nasty before coming to another Dane End just before Little Munden. At this point we turned east which took us through Levens Green and Old Hall Green and ever since leaving Buntingford the roads were quiet, hedge-lined and the views quite stunning making for a truly wonderful ride. Finally we reached Puckeridge and it was just a couple of miles on the B1368 to reach Braughing and the Brown Bear where we arrived just after 1pm to find the lead group already enjoying their lunch. It soon became apparent that this group was led by Rupert and David W who in typical fashion were ahead of everybody else and soon took a wrong turning which all, unfortunately, followed, thus taking a much shorter route to Braughing, but this wasn't Averil's route. Now who better to lead a party of cyclists astray than these two? They've certainly got form and this is the third time in recent weeks that Rupert has found his way into the blog.
Despite all this lunch was very pleasant and the Brown Bear coped very well with the few who had lunch, especially as we hadn't booked; in the summer months it seems most people prefer to bring sandwiches.
At 2pm Averil called us to order and we started the afternoon session and set off along the Causeway which took us up to Furneux Pelham and once again we were on beautiful country roads with only a few cars to worry about. We came to Stocking Pelham next, and still on gently undulating roads to the third of the Pelhams, this time Brent Pelham to complete the hat-trick.
Now, still heading northwards we came to Langley Lower Green and then the climb up to Langley Upper Green and passed through the cricket field and on to Duddenhoe End and from now on it would be mainly downhill as we descended from the north Essex hills to the flatter land in Cambridgeshire.
Langley Lower Green
We completed the ride via Chrishall and the descent to Chrishall Grange and into Duxford for another encounter with the A505, Whittlesford and the Shelfords, at 4 pm. This was a ride of 64 miles and certainly one to remember in our scrapbooks and a special thanks to Averil for creating such a good route, just a shame that due to the earlier mishap not everyone was able to appreciate all of it. Edward Elmer
Download GPS track (GPX).