Horseheath is seventeen miles from Hauxton and Sharon helpfully provided each of us with a route and a phone number. The weather at this stage of the day was breezy from the west but the forecast predicted (threatened as it turned out) a stormy hour or so in the afternoon. It was supposed to be dry in the morning but soon after setting out towards Whittlesford a light drizzle set in which would last on and off all the way to Horseheath.
From Whittlesford we crossed into Sawston and Babraham via the cycleways and took the farm track over to Little Abington. Hildersham and Linton followed where we crossed the A1307, through Bartlow to the junction for Shudy Camps.
The farm track to Little Abington
The last leg of the morning session took us through the hamlets of Mill Green and Cardinal’s Green before re-crossing the A1307 into Horseheath and The Old Red Lion Inn for coffee. Already there, or soon after, we found Peter W, John S and Gerry, exceeding by some distance my estimate of numbers, but as usual they coped very well.
With so many we set off after coffee in separate groups into Streetly End and West Wickham where we turned towards the east and gained the full benefit of the westerly wind as we crossed Wratting Common. We now entered the best part of day with the sun breaking through and for the most part a following wind. At Carlton we turned right and passed through the minute settlement of Temple End, arriving shortly after in Little Thurlow where we joined the B1061 to run through Great Bradley and Burrough Green and finally down to Dullingham and The Boot for lunch.
Nine chose to have lunch at in the pub and despite being a bit overwhelmed the landlady managed to get through it all and everyone was happy. At least another nine who had brought a packed lunch came in from the cold for a warming tea or coffee. The Boot is a country pub and this being the shooting season we were soon joined by a group from the local shoot. They had probably seen the storm brewing up which was to overwhelm us shortly after starting for home.
Preparing to leave Dullingham
When we did set off from lunch John led his group on a more direct route back to Cambridge whilst Sharon took her group by way of West Wratting. No-one, however, would have escaped what came next.
Just as we left Dullingham and into open country we found ourselves under a torrential hailstorm and gale force winds so much so it was impossible to stay on the bikes and we had to take cover where we could find - in a ditch, behind a tree or near a hedge. For five minutes we were in the middle of a severe tempest. Sharon sure knows what day to pick to lead a ride!
Smiles after the storm
Finally the storm passed and we pressed on towards West Wratting and now into dazzling sunlight. In fact as the day changed again with the sky clearing it gave the prospect of a cold night to come. Balsham was next, downhill to Hildersham, but this time returning through the village, past Great Abington to the Granta Science Park. We finished via the A505 cycleway, Babraham, Sawston, Stapleford and Great Shelford and those completing the full circuit would have cycled 50 memorable miles. This was certainly a ride for the scrapbook if not for the usual reasons but everyone took it in their stride and our extra special thanks to Sharon and John for all their efforts today, a day which won't easily be forgotten. Edward Elmer
Download GPS track (GPX).