Our first goal today was the garden centre at Waresley. This is one of the club's favourite stop, but it's not very far and it's usually necessary to add in a bit of a loop to avoid getting there too early. Edmund therefore led us west out of Cambridge, though the new West Cambridge site and onto the path to Coton.
Brookside: Edmund completes administrative formalities
On the cycle path to Coton
Through Cambridge University's West Cambridge campus
The temperature today was very mild for February, and with a little bit of sun at the start it would have felt quite spring-like if it had not been for a strong westerly wind which blew cold air in our faces and slowed our progress a little. The approach of spring was also signalled by quite a few daffodils along the way, the first I had noticed this year.
We climbed Madingley Hill and continued on the flat to Hardwick. There we turned left and dropped back down to Toft, where we joined the B1046 and picked up the classic direct through Bourn, Caxton and Great Gransden to Waresley
Pushing into the wind near Great Gransden
We arrived at Waresley Park Garden Centre bang on time at 11am. When we went in we found Adrian, Edward, Mick C, John S, Susan and one or two other already sitting down and drinking coffee.
Preparing to set off after coffee in Waresley
After coffee we regrouped and some members returned home. This left Edmund, John S, Susan, Tom, Alan and me to carry on to lunch in Moggerhanger, with Adrian heading there separately.
From Waresley we continued west to Everton where I warned Tom that we had an unexpectedly-steep hill coming up. He was clearly relieved when I added that the hill was downwards, and I think he enjoyed the 14% descent of Tempsford Hill, followed by a satisfyingly-long rollout at the bottom, as much as I did.
At the bottom we crossed over the A1 and continued to Blunham where we turned right onto the railway path towards Bedford.
On the railway path near Willington
We left the railway path at Danish Camp for a short loop through Willington and Coploe before turning back east to Moggerhanger. At last we were no longer riding directly into the wind, and for the final fast 2km to Moggerhanger we had the wind directly behind us.
Our lunch stop was The Old Kitchen at Moggerhanger Park. This is a relatively new cafe (it opened last April) and this was our first visit. It's quite a simple cafe, spread across two rooms at the back of the main house, with just the kind of menu we like: jacket potatoes, ciabattas, sandwiches and soup. The quality of the food was entirely satisfactory and I think we would all be happy to come back again.
Lunch at The Old Kitchen, Moggerhanger
About to set off after lunch at The Old Kitchen, Moggerhanger
Moggerhanger Park (The Old Kitchen is at the rear)
After lunch we set off back to Cambridge. From Moggerhanger we continued north to Blunham where we turned east onto the railway path to Sandy.
Which way to Sandy? Unhelpful NCN sign on the railway path at Blunham
With the wind now mostly behind us we made much more rapid progress than in the morning. Rather unexpectedly the sun came out, and without the wind in our faces it felt relatively warm and distinctly spring-like: almost certainly our mildest day so far this year.
From Sandy we climbed up to Everton, and briefly retraced a few km of our morning route before turning off towards Gamlingay and the road through Hatley St George and East Hatley to Arrington, Wimpole, Orwell and Barrington. After climbing Chapel Hill (which was rather easier than usual with the wind behind us) we dropped back down to Haslingfield and turned right for Harston. There the group divided, with Edmund, John S and Susan continuing to Newton and the Shelfords, and Tom and me returning directly to Cambridge via the A10 and Trumpington Meadows. I arrived home at about 4.30pm, after having cycled 107km (66 miles) - which I think makes this my longest Sunday ride with the club so far this year. Nigel Deakin
Download GPS track (GPX).