The village start in Hauxton
Ickleton is only about eight miles from Hauxton so it was necessary to extend the route a little so we first went to Newton, followed by Thriplow and Fowlmere. Luckily the A505 wasn't very busy so we were able to cross quickly and get to Chrishall Grange to prepare ourselves for the long climb up to Elmdon. Actually this isn't that big a climb but several people grumbled that their muscles weren't warmed up enough, thus making it a much tougher climb than usual. Eventually we all got to the top and paused for a while to enable everybody to regroup, except a couple (who will remain nameless, but one had a new bike) who sneaked away at the bottom of the hill to take a short cut down Ickleton Grange.
Crossing the A505
Crossing the A505
The reward for climbing to Elmdon is a three mile descent to Ickleton, that is apart from a short, stiff climb half-way along. This brought us into the village from where a short ride towards the B1383 took us to the Riverside Barns, arriving just before 11 am. Unusually for a weekday morning it was fairly busy and the arrival of twenty-plus cyclists certainly kept the staff on their toes.
Hertford Lane, Elmdon
By 11.35 am we were all ready to set off again. There were the usual comings and goings but fourteen left to head for lunch in Dullingham. From Ickleton to Dullingham isn't straightforward as to go south means using the main road and Saffron Walden. The only other alternative, and the one we took, was to head back into Ickleton, then Hinxton and join the cycleway to the McDonald's roundabout at the end of the Sawston bypass.
However, just as we were leaving Hinxton Adrian took a tumble and Mike, ever the gentleman, volunteered to escort him home. From the McDonald's roundabout we used the cycleway beside the A505. We shouldn't complain about cycleway provision here but it's so noisy, making it impossible to hold a conversation, but at least it's safe. This took us into Abington, across the A1307 to Hildersham and then up the hill to Balsham.
Now we were on more cycle-friendly roads, passing first through West Wratting and Weston Coleville and then Brinkley. In Brinkley we turned onto the B1052. This heads al the way to Dullingham but instead of doing this, by way of a change, we branched off after a few miles for a loop through Westley Waterless.
Soon after, at 1.25 pm, we arrived at The Boot in Dullingham. With only eight people taking lunch in the pub the staff were able to very easily deal with our orders, so much so that by 2.05pm we were on our way again. The food was very good and Rupert (that well-known expert on Newmarket sausages) was particularly satisfied, even though he failed the football quiz. He does need to brush up his knowledge on this subject...
As it was such a gloomy day there was no demand for an extended afternoon ride and Rupert led Russell and Peter back towards the A1303 whilst the remaining five of us retraced our steps towards the road to Six Mile Bottom. This brought back memories of a month ago when we cycled this road and ran into that tempest/hurricane/typhoon, but today it was calmness itself.
From Six Mile Bottom we used the well-known race track to Little Wilbraham; it's always a relief to get there away from the fast moving traffic. The ride ended though Great Wilbraham, Fulbourn, a climb over the Gogs and a long wait in Great Shelford to allow four trains to pass through. Tbhose going back to Hauxton would have completed a round trip of 50 miles. Two phone calls at the end of the ride confirmed that both Averil and Adrian were OK. Edward Elmer
Download GPS track (GPX).