Sarah was our leader for our ride out to Horseheath and then a planned visit to La Hogue near Chippenham. We left Hauxton, through Little Shelford and on to Whittlesford where we were joined by Mike B who would do his usual and stay with us until coffee. In Whittlesford we turned on to the cycleway to take us through Sawston and up to Babraham and out to the A505 where we joined the still new cycleway to Abington Science Park.
The breeze was on our backs and 10am came and no sign of the rain so confidence grew that we may be lucky. After Abington we crossed the A1307 into Hildersham and then along Back Road to take us into Linton and out once more to the A1307. We passed through Bartlow and began the climb towards Castle Camps but along the way took the turning which lead us up to Shudy Camps.
At this point the rain did arrive, only light at first but it wasn't long before it became more persistent. After Shudy Camps it only remained to pass through the tiny hamlets of Mill Green and Cardinal's Green and another crossing of the A1307 to arrive in Horseheath and probably our favourite coffee stop at the Old Red Lion Inn. Peter W joined us here.
At the Old Red Lion we were treated royally with not only coffee and tea but cookies, chocolate cakes and cream cakes and as it was raining hard outside nobody was in any hurry to leave. At the risk of overstating we really do appreciate how this pub has looked after so well for a number of years now.
Sarah took a vote as to how we should proceed and everybody opted to carry on - peer pressure maybe - and so we set off again taking the road to West Wickham and then across Wratting Common.
Although it was raining, with the wind on our backs, it wasn't too bad as we headed for Thurlow. At some point along here it was decided to shorten the ride and have lunch in Newmarket rather than Chippenham as planned, but a little later this was modified once more to Dullingham. Thus we came off the planned route and went through Great Bradley and Burrough Green and then down into Dullingham. This meant The Boot where we have often called in the past and although we hadn't booked they took the sudden influx of nine cyclists in their stride.
In fact we enjoyed a very pleasant lunch break before leaving again at 2.15pm after a discussion of which way we should go. In the end Sarah chose the route over the hills up to West Wratting, and just as we left the rain stopped more or less on cue.
Going to West Wratting had the advantage of again having the benefit of the wind which had now moved to more north westerly. The only problem we had was the narrow lanes were very wet and this combined with the mud from the farm traffic as the sugar beet harvest continues and numerous water-filled pot holes meant we had to be alert all the time. When we crossed the road down to Six Mile Bottom Ian left us and shortly after when we reached West Wratting Peter left us and the last seven carried on to Balsham and then the descent from the higher ground down to Hildersham. We were now on the route we came out on and as we approached Babraham where the former railway used to cross the road a large amount of water had accumulated in the few hours since we came this way in the morning.
We finished the ride through Sawston and Stapleford and those who went back to Hauxton would have completed a circuit of 50 miles, finishing at 4pm.
Despite the weather and shortening the ride everybody entered into the spirit and at the end glad they made the effort. We thank Sarah for all her work with many decisions to take for making such a pleasant day out. Edward Elmer
Download GPS track (GPX).