Thursday, 7 January 2016

7 Jan: Thursday ride to Horseheath and Dullingham

Edward writes: Today’s weather promised little in the way of good cheer for our first Thursday ride of the new year. This was definitely reflected in the reduced numbers with just nine members stout-hearted enough to have a day on the bike. For Mike C, today’s leader, this was probably a relief as the huge numbers who have been out recently are something of a nightmare for the leader. The group was able to set off from Hauxton as one unit as it headed out to Whittlesford and on to the cycleway through Sawston and out to the A505 cycleway.

Although the early morning rain had more or less stopped in this early part of the ride, another belt of rain came just in time to give everybody a good soaking. The ride then went into Hildersham and on to Back Road, Linton and to reach Balsham took the route up by Rivey Hill, past the water tower. After Balsham Mike took the West Wickham road but at the bottom of the hill, instead of going via West Wickham he turned right and then followed the road in to Horseheath via Streetly End, arriving at The Old Red Lion Inn just after 11am and 19 miles.

Wratting Common

As has been said on many occasions The Old Red Lion really make every effort to look after us and it is always a pleasure to come here and to be treated to the lovely cakes and cookies. The rain had stopped by now and this encouraged those who were thinking of returning home after coffee to talk themselves into carrying on to lunch, possible a decision to be regretted as more rain hovered about in the darkening skies. In view of the prospect of deteriorating weather in the afternoon Mike wisely encouraged everyone to agree that the route should be shortened from the original plan of going to Dullingham via Withersfield. So we set off to West Wickham, Carlton and Brinkley and by the time we came into Brinkley the high wind which had been forecast for the afternoon was certainly beginning to make its presence felt; luckily, for the most part we were not riding directly into it. As we approached Dullingham the water was all across the road and running downhill towards the village.

Dullingham

At 12.45pm we arrived at The Boot in Dullingham where we were joined by Geoff who had bravely cycled over from his Suffolk village. The Boot, which incidentally was visited by the senior group on Tuesday, is another Thursday favourite. We always get a warm, friendly welcome and we feel very much at home here and with the television showing the racing channel it is readily apparent that this is Newmarket horse racing territory. Thus lunch was a pleasant hour, especially as at times it rained hard while we were happily enjoying our meal inside.

Six Mile Bottom

At 1.45pm we started the final leg and this took us first into Station Road and then the left turn which took us up hill towards the Six Mile Bottom road and a severe battering from the very strong side wind. It was in fact a relief to reach the road for Six mile Bottom even if it meant cycling against the wind as this was much safer than having the wind coming in from the side. We reached Six Mile Bottom and then joined the unpleasant two mile stretch up to Little Wilbraham which some motorists regard as some sort of race track. We all made it and it was here that Rupert and Adrian left us to head to their side of Cambridge leaving everybody else to go through Great Wilbraham and Fulbourn before the final obstacle of climbing over the Gogs and into Great Shelford. Another two miles took the ride back to Hauxton and those who did the full circuit would have completed a well-earned 45 miles. As ever our thanks to Mike for taking us round which, despite the weather, was a pretty good day out. Edward Elmer



Download this route (GPX). Not a GPS track.

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