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09 March: Hatfield to Great Offley

posted 14 Mar 2014, 00:33 by South Herts   [ updated 8 Jan 2017, 23:09 ]
Spring was here at last, it was warm, sunny, even hot as the day went on, and great to see our largest group of cyclists of the year so far. First stop was to be Hitchin, so trying to find a slightly different route to the well trodden direct ones, we did a few zigzags. Setting off from Hatfield we were soon through Welwyn and passing under the ever magnificent Digswell viaduct (what monument to Victorian civil engineering), we climbed Digswell hill. On through Woolmer Green and St Paul's Walden, we soon descended from Preston and into Hitchin. The was plenty of flooding still around and the lanes were in a dire condition with mud, pebbles and general debris thrown around. Hitchin Kitchen was doing a roaring trade as ever. We were glad to see three other riders who had made their own way and joined us there.
  
large group of cyclists
Starting in Hatfield on a chilly morning
cyclists in front of cafe
Hot at Hitchin Kitchen

The next bit was to find our way out of the town towards Ickleford, and thanks to Peter's local knowledge, we managed it with scarcely a wobble. A bit of main road and we were on lanes again to Holwell and Pirton. Continuing along the Bedfordshire flat lands we arrived in Barton and then Sharpenhoe. The Clappers glowered ominously, yes, it was a stiff climb to Streatley. Downhill next and so to Lilley and our pub lunch stop in Great Offley.

map reading group
Maps out at Apsley End
ascending steep hill
Climbing the hill at Sharpenhoe Clappers

It had been quite a long and hilly route to lunch and the pub was heaving for some unkown reason. But we did manage to get served in the end, and relax and contemplate a fairly easy route back home from there. An excellent day out in perfect weather.

at top of hill
At the top of Sharpenhoe Clappers

Richard 9/3/2014

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