Thursday, 28 July 2016

28 Jul: Thursday ride to Withersfield and Clare

Edward writes: The unpleasant clammy heat of the last few days had abated by this morning and the thirteen members at Hauxton and the ten from Brookside met in much more pleasant conditions, at least for cycling. The weather forecast suggested that rain would have arrived by the afternoon, although, depending on where you looked, the timing of this was a bit variable. Today’s leaders were David W at Hauxton and Peter Wilson from Brookside.

David’s route took us out to Whittlesford and onto the cycleway to Sawston where we met Peter Woodward who promptly turned round and retraced his steps with us back to Balsham, which on this occasion took us over the farm track to Abington, followed by the two mile climb from Hildersham.

Babraham-Abington

Bourn Bridge Road, Abington

During the morning light clouds started to appear but they didn’t appear to be a prelude to any rain, and there was very little wind to be of any concern. From Balsham we descended and climbed again to West Wickham, then out to Wratting Common.

Hildersham

Balsham-West Wickham

We then turned south-easterly along Skipper’s Lane which brought us into Bradman’s at Withersfield.

Coffee at Bradman’s, Withersfield

Apparently this pub was used as a coffee or lunch stop some years back but this is only the second time in recent years that the Thursday riders have used it. As the name suggests it has association with the great Don’s family whose uncle was a previous landlord. When the family emigrated to Australia the family name was Bradnam and the name still exists in the village, but in the course of history the letters were transposed ending up as Bradman. As you would expect there is a lot of cricket memorabilia to be seen and one of the bars is to be renamed the Bodyline Bar - sure to appeal to visiting Australians! After our last visit where many thought it expensive this time the landlord agreed to provide free refills of coffee and most people agreed that this was a satisfactory arrangement.

Leaving Withersfield

Leaving Withersfield

During coffee it was decided that as some cafes in Cavendish, our original destination, were not open on Thursdays we should change our lunch stop to Clare. After coffee there was the usual exchange of personnel and when we started again it was still necessary to go in two groups. This took us out to Great Wratting where we crossed the A143 to Kedington and Brockley Green which caused our group to pause and consider a loop as by now we were close to Clare and would have meant arriving before 12.30 pm.

Kedington

Thus it was that we set off towards Hundon and this took us on very quiet, lovely country lanes before arriving on the B1063 for the last four miles, mostly downhill, into Clare. It’s quite possible that the leading group took a similar diversion, but we all ended up at the country park where most, if not all of the group, ate their packed lunches.

Preparing to leave Clare

This was all very pleasant but by about 1.30 pm gathering clouds overhead seemed to suggest that rain was more than a possibility and this caused most to don their waterproof tops. As in often the case this caused a bit of indecision, should we go for tea or go home and if so which way? Finally minds were made up, decisions taken, and we left Clare to head for Ashen but before we had gone a mile the rain had stopped, and so did we to take off our waterproofs. Ridgewell came next and then Stambourne where more rain meant waterproofs on again, but before another mile, and what a surprise, the rain stopped again. Steeple Bumpstead was followed by Helions Bumpstead and then Castle Camps. This is all familiar territory for rides returning from this part of Suffolk and once through Castle Camps it was more or less all downhill through Bartlow to Linton. At Hildersham we chose the route through the village past Great Abington and on to the A505 cycleway bringing us back to Babraham, Sawston, Stapleford and Great Shelford. This was a ride of 62 miles and as usual our leaders, plus some input from Rupert, did us proud. Edward Elmer



Download GPS track (GPX).

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