Thursday, 7 July 2016

7 Jul: Thursday ride to Gamlingay and Old Warden

Edward writes: If we could have been able to count the number of cyclists out today it might have been a day for records. At Haslingfield at one point there were fourteen riders for the start of today’s ride out to Gamlingay and Old Warden. The weather was in benign mood today with only a gently southernish wind under a light cloud cover. Edmund was in charge and before the start he introduced Dave F who was making his first ride with us. Back in the city Tony took the helm where nine riders had gathered.

The "village start" at Haslingfield Green

Edmund divided us into two groups and we set off from Haslingfield on a direct route to Caxton taking in Harlton, the Eversdens, Kingston and Bourn.

Leaving Haslingfield

At Bourn the second group chose the route via the ford, always quiet but sometimes a little watery. As we headed toward Great Gransden we turned down Sand Road into Little Gransden, past the windmill and onto the road into Gamlingay.

LJ’s is a small venue but it is always nice to visit and we are always made to feel welcome. Their bacon sarnies are obviously popular especially when served by the girl with the blue eyes! As for numbers this is where records could have been broken as it is quite possible that there were nearly forty people there.

Coffee at Gamlingay

The huge numbers created quite a problem as our departure at one point seemed quite chaotic. With two leaders offering alternative routes it was very difficult for them to get people’s minds made up as to which group they should join. Tony offered a shorter route via Sandy, Moggerhanger and Southill; Edmund offered a longer ride, nineteen miles in fact, also initially via Sandy.

Willington Lock

Eventually we all got underway and Edmund took us along Heath Road to Everton and into Sandy where we joined the old railway alignment past Blunham to Willington (known as the Ouse Valley Way) riding for some way beside the River Great Ouse.

Willington by the Great Ouse

We turned away from the cycle path at Willington and for a short while joined the A603 to the turning for Cople. In Cople our leader offered us a shorter ride via Northill or a longer ride via Cardington and after the usual indecision the longer route was chosen.

Airship hangers at Cardington

This took us past the famous Airship hangers at Cardington and also marked the point where we made the turn to face more eastwards and thus to gain from the following breeze. This brought us to Old Warden and soon after we arrived at the Shuttleworth Air Museum at about 1.15pm and 34 miles after leaving Haslingfield. As expected we were the last group to arrive.

Aircraft observation at Old Warden

On display at the airfield were an Avro Anson, a pre-war Comet and an ancient German plane (for more details Mike C is the one to ask). Lunch was very pleasant with most sitting outside enjoying the warm weather but unfortunately the humidity level seemed to be rising. After lunch both groups would return home via Langford with Tony and Edmund taking two groups and Rupert stepping in to lead yet a third group. At 2.10pm we were all on the way home and with the following wind we made good progress to Langford, over the A1 and then Hinxworth to Ashwell. No stopping in Ashwell today as Steeple Morden and Litlington came and went and then Bassingbourn, Meldreth and Shepreth. In Barrington we split with some going to the A10 cycle path and others going over the hill back to Haslingfield which would have given 60 miles for the round trip. At times this wasn’t an easy ride to organise so a special thanks to our two leaders who coped very well with so many people to organise, and our route via Cople and Cardington was especially nice. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

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