Today's start was Haslingfield Green and about twenty-three members arrived for our day out to Ashwell and then Benington, and this journey began with a ride over Chapel hill and over the new railway where trains have already begun to make deliveries of landfill into the former cement works.
Climbing Chapel Hill (Photo: Alex Brown)
This brought us to Barrington and soon after into Shepreth.
Regrouping at Shepreth (Photo: Alex Brown)
From there the ride followed more or less the direct route via Meldreth, Kneesworth and Bassingbourn.
To avoid much of the traffic we took the loop through Abington Piggots which brought us to Litlington, the climb up to Steeple Morden and then, after fifteen miles, into Ashwell. With new arrivals we made it twenty-seven to queue to get into Dorrington's for coffee and cakes - no doubt a good day's taking when the accounts were done for the day!
As always it was very enjoyable basking in the sun under the tree on the little green or sitting in the lovely cottage garden on the other side of the road. When it was time to go a number went home but about sixteen or seventeen carried on for the next session which took us out to the A505 which was extremely busy and took a while for us all to get across.
Once on our way again we progressed on the undulating road to Redhill, Rushden and on to Cromer and the windmill and then on to Ardley stopping to regroup outside the farm.
By now the time was only 12.20pm and Benington was only a few miles further on so it was decided to take a longer loop, largely under the direction of Adrian, and this took us via Wood End and Haultwick through lovely rolling countryside. We also passed Little Munden, Dane End and Whempstead before finally reaching Benington and the Lordship Arms shortly after 1pm. Although quite a bit longer than the planned route it was well worth it for the fine views and by now the weather was almost perfect.
Turning for Dane End Whempstead
The pub allowed those with sandwiches to sit in the garden and those who ordered food were soon served.
Lunch (Photo: Alex Brown)
For the hour we were there it was all very pleasant but at 2.15pm it was time to start the afternoon session. This meant retracing our steps back to Whempstead but somehow we missed a turning at Dane End which was to take us to Sacombe. All was not lost, however, as this took us to the A602, the Ware road, and it was only half a mile downhill where we were able to find the turning for Sacomb. This was followed by Sacombe Green which for most of us was new territory and this took us over the new A10 and onto a bridleway which would take us to Cold Christmas (really!). It was a bit of a chance to take this bridleway as we hadn't been this way before and we nearly got away with it but unfortunately Craig suffered a split tyre. However, with a new inner tube and part of a toothpaste tube he was soon fixed up and we got underway again to arrive in Cold Christmas.
Bridleway to Cold Christmas
Bridleway to Cold Christmas
Now followed more narrow lanes until we reached Much Hadham and then Little Hadham and the inevitable long wait to cross the A120. When we reached Alberry we turned for the steep climb up to Upwick Green; more narrow lanes followed as we approached Farnham.
We were now in an area where the names were more familiar to us as we went through Manuden and then into Clavering. By now the time was 5pm and still some way to go, but just as we left the village we came upon a head on collision between two cars and we were first on the scene. One driver was injured, we called the emergency services and waited until they attended before starting for home again at 5.30 pm. Later, the injured mans's wife called to thanks us for our efforts and to say that he was in Addenbrooke's hospital (not life threatening). The final part of our journey home took us via Langley Upper Green, Duddenhoe End, Chrishall, Chrishall Grange, Duxford and Whittlesford before finishing the ride in Great Shelford at 6.45 pm and 82 miles.
An eventful day, to say the least, but nonetheless very enjoyable, but also a reminder that roads can have their dangers Edward Elmer
Download GPS track (GPX).