Sunday, 11 June 2017

11 Jun: Sunday ride to Stradishall, Lavenham and West Wratting

Nigel writes: It doesn't seem very long ago that we were welcoming the arrival of spring, so it comes as a bit of a shock (to me anyway) to realise that midsummer is only just over a week away. Yes, it's the middle of June, and after a brief spell of wet and windy weather we're now back to enjoying dry, warm and sunny days - though that wind hasn't gone away entirely, as we found today.

Meeting at Brookside for the start of today's "full day ride" were Shiela, Ray, Alex, Alan, Mark, Chris, John Seton (our leader for today) and me. We set off and headed down Hills Road to Addenbrooke's before turning left onto Worts Causeway for the short climb over the Gogs to Fulbourn.

Climbing The Gogs

The road to Six Mile Bottom

We continued through the Wilbrahams to Six Mile Bottom and climbed Brinkley Hill all the way to Brinkley. We often climb this hill on evening rides as far as "Cemetery Crossroads" (where we usually turn left onto Balsham Lane), so today was an opportunity to go all the way - and discover that there isn't very much climbing after the junction apart from a short "kick" (as Alex described it) just before the top.

We continued to Great Bradley (with another short kick just before the village) before turning towards Cowlinge and our coffee stop at Cafe 33, on the A143 near Stradishall. Already here was David W who joined us for the remainder of the day,

Setting off after coffee

After coffee we retraced our route for a short distance to Co0ck and End before turning east towards Stradishall itself. However instead of visiting the village centre (which I don't think I have ever cycled through) we took the lane to Denston. Hawkedon and Boxted.

Cock and End

The most direct route from Boxted to our lunch stop in Lavenham would have taken us through Hartest and up its notorious hill, so to spare us that ordeal John took us on a slightly longer route to the south through Long Melford.

Long Melford

We didn't have a designated cafe in Lavenham so when we arrived we divided into two groups, with some of us heading for the National Trust Tea Shop in the Guildhall, and others calling in at one of Lavenham's two competing Co-ops to purchase a picnic lunch.

Lunch in Lavenham


After lunch we set off west in the direction of Cambridge and our tea stop in West Wratting. We were now riding into the wind, and although it was quite warm it proved a rather tiring hindrance for the next two hours.


Great Wratting

We arrived at The Chestnut Tree in West Wratting at 4.15pm, where a booked tea of sandwiches, cake and tea was waiting for us. The afternoon ride was already here, led by Simon, but there was plenty of food left. It felt strange to have to explain to other riders what the arrangement was: effectively unlimited sandwiches, cake and tea for a fixed price of £4.50. When I started riding with this club in the late 1990s we had a tea stop like this on virtually every ride.


Setting off for home after tea

After tea we divided once more into separate "all-day" and "afternoon" groups, with Simon leading his charges for an extra loop whilst the "all-day" group returned directly to Cambridge via Balsham and Fulbourn. I arrived home at 6pm exactly, having cycled 131km (81 miles). Nigel Deakin

Download GPS track (GPX).

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