Thursday, 26 May 2016

26 May: Thursday ride to Ashwell and Ardeley

Edward writes: Our last Thursday ride in this glorious month of May brought us to Haslingfield and Brookside in a coolish morning but the promise of an improvement as the day went along. In fact this is how it turned out as by coffee time the clouds had started to disperse, the sun came out and the temperature went up all with the added bonus of very little wind.

In Haslingfield we started with thirteen riders, whilst over at Brookside with Sarah leading they had ten. With the staggered start we would be unlikely to overwhelm Days Bakers at Ashwell with twenty-five or more arriving for coffee. Nevertheless we took the precaution of telling them to expect us.

Barrington

From Haslingfield we got the blood flowing by climbing up Chapel Hill and down into Barrington for a brief stop to reassemble. We took a direct route out through Shepreth and Meldreth and then the climb up to Kneesworth for the run into Bassingbourn.

Kneesworth

We took the much more attractive road via Abington Piggots to reach Litlington and the climb up to Steeple Morden.

Abington Pigotts

By this time the sun was beginning to make its appearance as the clouds dispersed, and so we came into Ashwell more or less under blue skies at 10.45am, ahead of the Brookside contingent who arrived a few minutes later.

Ashwell

Ashwell is a lovely village and we took our drinks and cakes under the new tree which was planted a few years ago to replace the old ash tree in the same spot. Also, on the other side of the road, is a lovely cottage garden where quite a few sat with their coffees.

Ashwell

Ashwell

After coffee it seemed that we would have about sixteen or seventeen for the trip down to Ardley Farm which is about ten miles further on. We successfully split into two groups and set off out of Ashwell with the climb into open, rolling countryside and down to the A505.

Approaching the A505 from Ashwell

For almost the entire journey down to Ardley Farm we would be travelling due south as we passed through the villages (town names elsewhere) of Redhill, Rushden and Cromer. At Cromer, the lead group at least, turned to take the road past Cromer Windmill and shortly after we came to Ardley Farm, arriving at 12.30pm. This allowed us a long pleasant lunch break with the usual arrangement of sandwiches outside and light meals ordered from the menu.

Lunch at Ardeley Farm

By now it was quite hot and Mike CC took advantage with a quick nap to prepare himself for the journey home...

Shattered!

By 1.40pm we left Ardley Farm, again in two groups and they were never to see each other again so hopefully they both went the same way! We in the second group went first to a tiny hamlet called Hare Street (yes, another one) and then to Cottered where we joined the A507 for two or three miles to take us into Buntingford. Once we had negotiated the small country town we were on the climb up to Wyddial travelling through beautiful countryside where the hedgerows were full of gorgeous blossom as in fact they had been all day.

Wyddial

We crossed the B1368 and went on more narrow lanes to Anstey, Nuthamstead, Shaftenhoe End and Great Chishill. This left us to finish the ride via Heydon and the descent to Chrishall Grange, Fowlmere, Thriplow and Newton where David W, Mike CC, Sheila and Mia left us. By the time they reached Haslingfield they would have completed 53 miles with the ride finishing at 4pm

This was great way to finish off May with a lovely ride in near-perfect weather and thanks to Sarah for leading the Brookside ride and best wishes to Belinda who was unwell and unable to lead from Haslingfield. Edward Elmer



Download GPS track (GPX).

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