Thursday, 22 June 2017

22 Jun: Thursday ride to Ashwell and Braughing

Edward writes: This morning in Haslingfield the stifling heat of the last few days had come to an end and today we had far more civilised temperatures. Our rides today were to Ashwell for coffee and on to Braughing for lunch. In the city with Peter W as leader there were seven riders, and out at Haslingfield there were sixteen. Our thanks are due to Sheila who came off the bench as a late replacement to lead our ride.

With the formalities completed we were just about to set off when lightening and thunder preceded a five minute downpour causing all to scatter and seek shelter. With this over we started with a climb over Chapel Hill into Barrington, Shepreth and Meldreth.

Ladies' team (almost) in Barrington

Men's team - Road not wide enough for everyone

Another few moments of rain meant a stop in Meldreth with some putting on waterproofs which must have been pretty hot.

Cambridge Express in Shepreth

It rained in Meldreth

We were soon on our way again as we wound our way up the hill to Kneesworth followed by Bassingbourn. Here Sheila put in a loop round Abington Pigotts which would have met with Mike C's approval had he been with us. This brought us to Litlington, then Steeple Morden and we arrived in Ashwell just as the church clock was striking 11 am which was perfect timing.

Coffee in Ashwell

With almost thirty riders to deal with it was as well that we had pre-warned Day's bakery that we would be coming and they got through all the orders in good time. At 11.30am, again with the church clock striking, we started the second phase of our day.

Leaving Ashwell

Leaving Ashwell

This next phase was to take us due south for ten miles though Redhill and Rushden to Cromer. In Cromer we turned south easterly which gave us the benefit of a fairly stiff westerly breeze. At this point the clouds started to dissipate giving us a lovely sunny ride through Ardley and Wood End before arriving in Great Munden. This left only a few miles to travel into Puckeridge, a short bit on the A10 and we all arrived at the Brown Bear in Braughing by 1pm.

About twelve people chose to have lunch there and this caused the pub some difficulty and it was 2.40pm before the last group could start for home. This isn't a criticism of the pub; they provided nice food but twelve lunches obviously stretched them a bit, and this would always be a problem expecting a small establishment to be able to cope with large numbers all at once, even if a booking has been made. Before leaving we thanked the pub for their efforts as we know they had worked hard. We did, though, enjoy the spectacle of a low flying red kite passing overhead!

Lunch in Braughing

When Sheila's group of ten started for home it was decided to make some changes to the original route and we went along the B1368 with the intention of going all the way up to Barley. However, after we passed through Hare Street we changed our minds and took the turning to Anstey and on to Nuthampstead. This put us on much quieter and far more pleasant roads.

Family life in Braughing

As we passed through Shaftenhoe End it looked as if we had surprised a buzzard which took to the skies immediately in front of us. Another debate at the Barley turn and we decided to carry on to Great Chishill which, despite a couple of steep climbs, would give us the long two mile plus descent to Flint Cross. Our ride ended through Fowlmere, Thriplow and Newton which was the last parting of the ways. This gave a journey of 57miles, for the countryfolk at least, and our thanks to Peter and Sheila for their efforts in making a successful day out. Edward Elmer

Download GPS track (GPX).

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