Sunday, 9 July 2017

9 Jul: Sunday ride to Ely and Chippenham

Nigel writes: It's high summer, and today was a suitably hot and rather humid day, with a temperature of 20C at the start and rising to over 25C during the afternoon, and although there was plenty of cloud around it there was enough sun to leave me slightly sunburned by the end of the day (oops). Our leader today was Ian B, and his charges for this ride were Alex, Nick, Tom, Rupert, Chris, Camille and me.


We set off east from Brookside, down to Midsummer Common and along the river to Stourbridge Common.

Midsummer Common: Nigel rushes ahead to take a photo...(Photo: Nick Wilkinson)

The photo he took...

This is a familiar route when we want to head east to Fen Ditton and Quy, and is also emerging as a good route to reach the busway to St Ives.

Stourbridge Common

However today's route was one we do less often, which is to cross the river at the Green Dragon bridge and follow the north bank of the river for a further 6km or so to Clayhithe.

Along the river (Photo: Nick Wilkinson)

Along the river (Photo: Nick Wilkinson)

At Clayhithe we left the river and turned west towards Waterbeach. We had been maintaining a necessarily slow pace along the river but once we were back on tarmac the pace picked up significantly, and I found myself having to make an effort to keep up with the others. We crossed the A10 and continued through Landbeach to Cottenham and then north along the B1049 to Wilburton.


The B1049 is a relatively busy road but it served its purpose well, taking us north and across the River Great Ouse to Wilburton. After that we were on empty fen roads that took us across the wonderfully-named Grunty Fen towards Wentworth. Ian's original plan had been to turn east towards Ely somewhere around here, but since we had quite a lot of time in hand led us further north to Coveney, which with its slightly elevated position offers fine views towards Ely and I think offers a better approach to Ely than along the A142 cycleway.


We reached Ely City Centre at 11am exactly, and stopped for refreshments Silver Oak coffee, a rather nice (and very popular) coffee stand in the Market Place. We spent a pleasant 45 minutes or so chatting in the sunshine. Adrian was already there and a short while later Cheryl and her son Johnny passed by on their own ride.

Ely Riverside

The next stage of today's ride took us south along the River Great Ouse, following the path on the top of the floodbank before dropping down onto a rough but dry farm road to Barway.

By-pass works on NCN11 south of Ely

NCN11 south of Ely

From Barway we could have continued south along NCN11 to Padney and Wicken, but today we turned east, past its huge vegetable processing factory and on to Soham. From there a loop through the fen-edge villages of Isleham and Freckenham brought us to Chippenham, and our lunch stop at La Hogue farm shop.

East Common Soham

Lunch at La Hogue was as pleasant as ever. Due to the hot weather I wasn't especially hungry, but Alex was able to follow his personal tradition and enjoyed a Strawberry Pavlova.

After lunch we returned to Cambridge, joined by Mike CC who had made his own way to lunch. Our route home took us through Snailwell to Exning and then through Burwell and along the Lodes Way back to Quy. I arrived home at 4pm, having cycled 114km (70 miles). Nigel Deakin

Download GPS track (GPX).

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