Sunday, 11 September 2016

11 Sep: Sunday ride to Meesden, Much Hadham and Braughing

Nigel writes: With perfect weather, excellent cafes, and an excellent route through fine countryside, today's ride was one of the the best we've had this year. The weather was sunny and warm, with very little wind, but temperatures never became so hot as to become opressive. Alex was our leader today, and at Brookside he was joined by Rupert, Sheila, John R, Ray, Peter, Keith, Mike CC, Chris and me.

Today we were heading south, so we set off along Trumpington Road to Trumpington and took the path across Trumpington "Meadows" (it's really a park, not a meadow) to the northern end of Hauxton. From there we followed the B1368 as far as Fowlmere before cutting south towards Chrishall Grange.

Chrishall Grange

Here we encountered our first hill of the day, the long but very gentle climb up to Chrishall. From here the terrain became more undulating, with a slight climb through Heydon to Great Chishill followed by the enjoyable switchback descent down to Shaftenhoe End.

Great Chishill

We turned left towards Little Chishill and Langley and a few minutes later arrived in Meesden, where we stopped for coffee at the village hall. There were about ten members already there, so together with the eight or so in our group made about eighteen in total.

Morning coffee in Meesden

We started visiting Meesden Village Hall only last year, and it has rapidly become one of our most popular coffee stop, serving all our favourites: good tea and coffee, a selection of cakes, and bacon rolls. On this occasion they had opened specially for us, and will I think have been satisfied with our turnout.

After coffee in Meesden

As is usual at coffee a few riders left the group, and several more joined it. The next stage of the route took us further south to Much Hadham, and to get there Alex led us on a big loop to the west. This took us via Widdial to Buntingford and then through Wadesmill and Nasty before returning back east to Much Hadham.

Wyddial

Lunch today was at Hopley's Cafe in Much Hadham. This is an excellent cafe, set in pleasant gardens next to a nursery and serving some of the best quality food of any of our regular lunch stops.

Lunch at Hopley's Cafe, Much Hadham

After lunch we turned back north. Our tea stop was relatively close, so Alex took us for another loop, this time to the east and following a number of tiny wooded lanes that I had never used before.

Upwick Green near Albury

At about 3.45pm we arrived in Braughing and stopped for tea at the village hall. This is a much large and busier affair than in tiny Meesden, but remains another longstanding club favourite.

Tea at Braughing Village Hall

After about half an hour we were just getting ready to set off again when John F arrived with the afternoon ride, and after exchanging pleasantries we were on our way. To my pleasure Alex's route north carefully avoided retracing roads we had used earlier, or even crossing them, following the B1368 to Hare Street before cutting eastwards to Brent Pelham and Clavering.

Climbing Telegraph Hill whilst the Red Arrows create a heart-shaped trail in the sky

The last leg from Clavering took us north, over the increasingly-familar hill sequence of Quicksie, Telegraph and Coploe, before dropping down to Ickleton and a final easy run across the flat back to Cambridge. Along the way we were treated to the final stages of an air display over Duxford.

I arrived back home at 6.25pm, having cycled 139km (86 miles). Nigel Deakin



Download GPS track (GPX).

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