Thursday, 30 March 2017

30 Mar: Thursday ride to Ickleton and Thaxted

Edward writes: The only similarity between this week and last week's ride in the Fens was a persistent breeze. Even that was not the quite the problem we had last week of battling against a stiff easterly; this week it was south south westerly. This had the added satisfaction of face wind out to lunch but mostly on our backs for the journey home. When twelve riders (including a surprise appearance from Cheryl) assembled in Haslingfield it was mild, overnight temperatures only had a low of eleven degrees, and although a little overcast, this was soon to change to bright blue skies. Spring at last! In town Averil was the leader and she had eight riders while out at Hauxton twelve riders, with Sheila as our leader, and this week we would be taking in Ickleton for coffee and Thaxted for lunch.

We set off with a climb up Chapel Hill, not everyone's favourite start, but it was soon over as we descended into Barrington and then Shepreth. This gave us our first glimpse this spring of oil-seed rape almost in full familiar yellow colour. We went over the A10 to Fowlmere and out to the A505 before heading to Chrishall Grange and here many of us expected to turn right so that we would reach Ickleton via Ickleton Grange. Sheila had other ideas and we turned left and went instead into Duxford via Duxford Grange. We went through the Duxford factory area and over the ford into Hinxton and then Ickleton to arrive at the Riverside Barns just before 11 am. With those who rode out independently there were in excess of twenty-five members there (including Greta), all sitting outside enjoying the warm sunshine.

Coffee at Ickleton

When we left Ickleton there were two different routes on offer, Sheila's going via Elmdon and Arkesden and Averil's via Coploe Hill and Wendens Ambo. Either way in this weather would be good. We climbed Coploe Hill, pausing briefly at the summit before heading on to Catmere End.

Coploe Hill

A brief stop at the top of Telegraph Hill and then downhill into Wendens Ambo which is a pretty village, the more so because of all the blossoms on the trees and still plenty of daffodils to admire.

Telegraph Hill

Telegraph Hill

We waited for a train to pass through at the level crossing and then joined the B1383 into Newport. Now we had the climb away from Newport and briefly the wind helped us as we came to the junction for Debden. Another climb up to Debden and then we were on our way for the last four miles to Thaxted, arriving shortly after 1 pm and 30 miles on the clock.

Wendens Ambo

In Thaxted about ten took lunch at the Swan Hotel and by all accounts they were well looked after. Those with sandwiches ate them on the steps of the old guildhall before heading to Parishes restaurant for a cup of tea which we were able to enjoy outside on the pavement and in the sunshine.

Enjoying the sunshine in Thaxted

At about 2.15pm two groups started out for home going first to Great Sampford, but leaving Adrian to make his own way back probably so that he could enjoy some off-road work which he loves. Now we had the benefit for most of the way of a following wind and we made quick progress to Radwinter and soon after into Ashdon. The serious climbing was over now as Bartlow and Linton came next. It was nice to observe that trees have been planted along Back Road, Linton, all the way to Hildersham. This has always been an exposed road and the trees will eventually make it a much better ride, but on the flip side there is a planning application for a housing estate to be built along this road. We finished the ride through Hildersham, Great Abington, Babraham and Sawston. For those going back to Haslingfield this would have been a ride of 58 miles. It was really lovely being out in the warm sunshine and our thanks to Sheila and Averil for helping to make it such a successful day out. Edward Elmer

Thaxted (Photo: Adrian Lee)

Thaxted (Photo: Adrian Lee)

Thaxted (Photo: Adrian Lee)

Thaxted (Photo: Adrian Lee)

Download GPS track (GPX).

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