In the event thirteen riders assembled for the ride which was to take us to the Silver Ball at Reed and on to the Prince of Wales at Green Tye for lunch. In town, eight met under the auspices of John Ross and at Haslingfield it was Averil who wore the captain’s armband.
A start over Chapel Hill is never popular but it certainly gets the blood flowing as we went through Barrington and Shepreth where we crossed the not so busy (for a change) A10. After passing through Fowlmere we came to the next busy road, the A505. Now we were more into the country and quieter roads but still with a long climb up to Barley where Averil chose the direct route to continue down the B1368 to Barkway.
That little hill just outside Barkway never gets any easier. Barkway gave way to the road to Reed which from the high vantage point gives nice views over a large rural countryside.
We arrived at the Silver Ball at 10.45am having travelled fifteen miles. The city group arrived some ten minutes later and with those who came out independently there were almost thirty members present.
Coffee at Reed (note CTC plaque on wall behind)
We all sat outside for the break and when we resumed at about 11.30am John led his group via Barkway, Anstey, Great and Little Hormead, Furnueax Pelham, Braughing, Puckeridge, Standon, Great Hadham and on to lunch at Green Tye.
Meanshile Averil took her group via Dane End, Green End and Mill End which took us to our first visit to Ermine Street (the old route of the A10) into Buntingford.
After we had negotiated Buntingford to Aspenden we now faced south and began probably the most delightful part of the day through Nasty, Westmill (last Sunday's tea stop) and Great Munden to a point where we turned south east and went through Levens Green and Old Hall Green before arriving on Ermine Street again for a mile or two southwards.
When we left it we turned eastwards through Barwick and crossed the River Rib at Barwick Ford. All of this was very pleasant and an original route to Green Tye covering quite a bit of new ground for the Thursday riders. This put us on Kettle Green Road to Kettle Green and over Hadham Ford, another stiff climb and finally through Perry Green to arrive at Green Tye at 1.15 pm and 36 miles since leaving Haslingfield.
The Prince of Wales pub is always relaxed about the eating of packed lunches in their garden and so we were able to enjoy a pleasant hour before setting off again at 2.20pm.
Lunch at Green Tye
For the afternoon session plans changed when John claimed local knowledge of the Bishop’s Stortford area and so the two groups merged for the journey home. Somewhere on the town’s outskirts Adrian and Mike lost contact with the main group but oddly managed to arrive on the Manuden road before John’s group. Now, how did that happen? The good thing was that everybody was accounted for and were able to proceed to Manuden where we noticed that the walnut tree we always have our eyes on looks like having a good harvest and so a ride this way later on could prove popular. What little wind there was seemed to be from the south east so we were not hindered on our ride home via Clavering where Sarah, Joseph and Rupert left us.
Harvest time congestion near Chrishall
Langley Upper Green came next where, sadly, it doesn’t look as if it has been home to much cricket this year. We descended from Duddenhoe End which left just one more climb to Chrishall on what seemed like a day of climbs; in fact our total climb during the day was 1930 feet, at least according to Strava. Averil and John did well to find so many hills to clamber up on such a humid day. That notwithstanding the day ended with the fast descent into Chrishall Grange followed by Duxford, Whittlesford and Great Shelford at 5 pm and a thoroughly enjoyable 70 miles. As ever thanks to Averil and John for such good routes which made this such a good day out. Edward Elmer
Download GPS track (GPX).