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01 Sep: Hatfield to Arrington

posted 4 Sep 2013, 08:41 by South Herts   [ updated 11 Jan 2017, 22:16 ]
The day started with quite a surprise as Jon pulled out from the back of his car his own recumberment (sic), with which he joined our ride into the wilds of Bedfordshire & Cambridgeshire.
We set off on a slightly familiar route to the Café Plus in Baldock, taking in Bull’s Green, Datchworth, Watton-at-Stone, Walkern and Weston.   Actually this is a great little route featuring the little ups and downs Hertfordshire countryside has to offer and some wonderful views before dropping down to Baldock.  This part of the ride was quite brisk and we made some good time, we dropped the two recumbents at some point, but they were catching us on the downhills and never too far away.

Soon we pulled into the first stop and were greeted by Richard, this swelled our number by 1 to a wonderful 7 brave souls.  It was here I had my first shock as I realised I didn’t have a map for the last stop, but Richard did and kindly lent it to me.  But first we had to get to Arrington, this was a straightforward route I had planned and it worked very well although it was windy and we seemed to be riding into it most of the time.  The countryside was particularly flat and very open; there were some great views on both sides of the road that we were traveling along.

Soon we came to Croydon and I showed everyone where we were supposed to be having lunch then headed down into Arrington; the Hardwicke Arms was our preferred destination.  True to the reports about the place it did look as if it was closed, but on inspection it was very much open and doing some great business.  The prices were reasonable and the food looked good.

Country house estate
Cycling through Wimpole Hall Estate
unloading bikes
Unloading recumbents
Country house
Wimpole Hall
pub garden
Hardwicke Arms garden

From lunch we made our way from the Hardwicke Arms straight into the Lord Hardwickes’ estate of Wimpole Hall.  This is the greatest country house in Cambridgeshire and begs to be visited often, and from the crowds that we encountered it looks like it will remain a well visited place for many years to come.  We pushed on to Orwell then out through Meldreth and flipped round towards Royston.  At this point Richard Stubbs proved to be invaluable.  We had to take in a small part of a busy A505 dual carriageway up onto the roundabout and go around it.  Sounds simple, but it seemed so frickin busy to me and I did flounder.  Richard did the business; jumped in front said “let’s go” and we were off: quick, decisive action - thank you Mr Stubbs (why no cycle route here?).

And once past that it was up a blooming great hill into Therfield to Reed End and the Silver Ball Café that closed at 1.45 pm, oooppps now what to do?  Jon had the right idea and we made our way into Braughing for tea and cakes at the Church.  There was no stopping Judy once cakes were mentioned and off she shot through Barkway leaving us all struggling to keep up over ideal recumbent terrain.  The ride was very quick and added load of miles to the ride and boy was I shattered.  Then after tea it was back to Panshanger taking in Bengeo, Chapmore End and the B1000 and by the time we got back to the start 78 miles later I was flagging to say the least, but I had a great day and I hope everybody else did too.

Thanks to Mr Richard Stubbs, Jon & Judy for helping out.