Author Topic: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.  (Read 1158 times)

3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« on: 11 September, 2021, 10:10:18 pm »
So, I packed my camping gear, loaded my dusty & unused Thorn Nomad & got a couple of trains to Cambridge. Liverpool to London was OK, but the train crew forgot about me & I had to stand on the platform & wave until someone unlocked the bike carriage. A 5 minute ride to KX and a train to Cambridge.
Easy ride to the C&CC site & put the tent up.  Message from Wowbagger that he & Canardly had stopped for bacon butties.  2nd message from Wow saying that Canardly now had food poisoning !


They turned up shortly afterwards. Bob was not at all well, but improved as the evening progressed. He wasn’t up to Drinking though, so I had all that Malbec to myself….
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #1 on: 12 September, 2021, 07:25:26 am »
A bit of a cool night as I’d packed the summer sleeping bag to save on weight & bulk. Think I’ll use the liner & thermals for the rest of the trip.
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #2 on: 12 September, 2021, 09:44:42 pm »
Absolutely knackered.  Wowbaggers suggestion of a scenic detour via an old Roman road was very pretty W but we didn’t make fast progress & ended up well of our planned route. A detour via the Camps & Steeple Bumpstead was required then we had to follow the main road to Clare & Long Melford.  Currently camped behind the White Horse at Edwardstone.  There are some pictures on my Twitter feed. Link under my avatar.
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #3 on: 16 September, 2021, 09:57:11 pm »
I’ve not been keeping this updated I’m afraid.  I’ll try to do so shortly.   We’ve had a mostly pleasant week, enjoyed some excellent Full English Breakfasts and are currently at Queen Adelaide where we were honoured by a visit from Wobbly John.


The campsite is swarming with large black beetles, so I’m zipped up tight in my tent.
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #4 on: 17 September, 2021, 07:02:43 pm »
It looks like a lovely tour.
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #5 on: 18 September, 2021, 08:46:14 pm »
Said goodbye to Wow & Canardly yesterday then had a mooch around Ely Cathedral. Wow! Awesome.


Today I rode to Cambridge, which seemed to be longer & more tiring than it should have been. Booked into the C&CC site for 3 nights.  The plan was to have a relaxed wander around Cambridge, but the forecast says rain for the next 2 days.
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #6 on: 19 September, 2021, 11:15:05 am »
Very unimpressed with my new Shimano sandals, both big toes suffering abrasions and becoming somewhat painful, requring the wearing of thick merino socks in mitigation. At one point I wondered how I would get home. Exustar next time I think.  I cant shrink the photo atm.


Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #7 on: 19 September, 2021, 11:29:51 am »
Wowbagger doing lunch on the guided busway near the Col de Cambridge, on the way home.


Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #8 on: 19 September, 2021, 11:33:27 am »
The amazing cafe at Norwich Cathedral where we lurked for some time due to persistent heavy rainfall. There is a pool of water on the floor behind the camera running off my Paramo.

Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #9 on: 19 September, 2021, 11:50:42 am »
Seems if you misbehave in Norwich you do it here.....


Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #10 on: 19 September, 2021, 12:23:48 pm »
Bit chilly whilst sat outside a cracking little cafe in Wymondham. Food was really good.


Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Wowbagger

  • Sylph
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #11 on: 20 September, 2021, 07:39:25 pm »
Last-of-the-summer whine

Saturday 11th September: St. Neots - Cambridge C & CC site.

I drove to Canardly Bob's residence, a distance of about 80 miles, arriving around 2pm. After a bit of faffing, in which I carefully left my water bottle in the door of the car, we set off, heading east through the St. Neots park. We had something like 25 miles to do to get to the campsite, where AndrewC was travelling by train from Liverpool.

The weather was warm and sunny and the cycling was fairly easy and gentle. I had mentioned to Bob that I hadn't had lunch, so a stop somewhere appropriate would be appreciated. He assured me that there was a "greasy spoon" on the way, and that sounded eminently desirable.

We went through Abbotsley and onto Great Gransden, and still a greasy spoon failed to appear. I did like the thought of a Great Gran's Den, and all the exciting things there might be in there - crochet hooks, ear trumpets, mothballs, mismatched false teeth...

After Caxton, we skirted Cambourne (is Cambridgeshire twinned with Cornwall?) and eventually arrived on the old road that must at one time have been the A428, with the current manifestation of that particular road running pretty much alongside. "Not much further to the café now!" Bob reassured me, and within a few minutes Frankie's Snack Bar appeared.

There were no other customers and, it being after 4pm, it seemed as though Frankie was on the point of shutting up shop. However, he assured us that he would provide two lattes and a bacon sandwich each, and when the provender appeared I was a trifle surprised that the food was contained inside a paper bag and it consisted of just two slices of bread cut diagonally, which in my book is just one bacon sandwich. I wolfed mine down fairly rapidly and announced my intention of ordering another.

Bob got almost all the way through his but then put what remained of it down. "I suddenly feel really queasy..." he announced. My second one appeared, Bob said that he didn't want any more, so I ended up eating three times as much food as Bob had. We set off again pretty soon. About 3km further on, there was a right turn we need to take. I looked over my shoulder as I signalled right, but there was no sign of Bob. I waited at the junction and eventually he appeared, having regurgitated the merchandise from Frankie's Snack Bar somewhere along the way.

We'll gloss over the next hour or so, and it's not out of the question that the presence of Jeffrey Archer's house at The Old Vicarage, Grantchester (Poetical scene has surprisingly chaste Lord archer vegetating (3,3,8,12), as the late great Araucaria put it in a Guardian Crossword some years ago) added to Bob's unsettled digestive system. Eventually we arrived at the C & CC campsite, where Andrew had already paid for our pitches, and we slowly set about pitching tents and stuff. The camp wardens were very good and went out of their way to check up on Bob's state of health, ensure that we had the number for a doctor etc.



Fortunately, none of that seemed to be necessary, and a short time before sunset I strolled down the road to a small convenience store and bought some food for my evening meal - mostly salad and stuff.

We sat around nattering in the gloaming, and the topic of missing items cropped up. I mentioned that there were several possessions of mine which had seemingly vanished into thin air somewhere at home: a Panasonic Lumix camera that I last used when we were on our narrowboat trip almost two years ago; a lovely Aspreys silver carriage clock, not much bigger than a matchbox, which Phyllis had given me a few years back, and a Dennis Wick 6BS trombone mouthpiece, which I had recently been looking for.

"What are you doing with a trombone mouthpiece?" enquired Andrew.

"I used to play a trombone," I replied blandly. "It was one I borrowed from college. We pianists were encouraged to take up a second instrument if we hadn't already got one, and since there was a spare trombone knocking about and a brass teacher made a weekly visit to the college, it was suggested that I learn trombone. I was never any good, and I didn't carry on after we left college, but I had bought my own mouthpiece."

A passing camper had earwigged this conversation, and came over to let us know that he played in a band and was very interested in my brass-playing pedigree. I think he left rather disappointed but we did learn that he lived in Billericay (my birthplace) so it passed a few minutes before the inevitable happened, the daylight disappeared remarkably early, and we decided to call it a day.

I slept well, and much to my surprise I did not need to get out of the tent at all for the purposes of relieving myself, the first time that has happened for a long time.

Bach without a doubt.

Wowbagger

  • Sylph
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #12 on: 20 September, 2021, 07:56:43 pm »
Sunday 12th September: Cambridge - The White Horse, Edwardstone

The idea for this ride was inspired by some audax or other, The Capitals of East Anglia, a 300k which visited Cambridge, Ipswich, Dunwich and Norwich but, curiously, avoided Colchester, which is probably the most significant capital of all of them. Today we were supposed to be following this track to some extent or another and the fact that we didn't was largely down to me. I had noticed a Roman Road on the map, marked as being a byway open to all traffic, and suggested it as a possible route in a generally south-easterly direction. Andrew seemed OK with the idea and Bob still wanted the earth to swallow him up. So within about 3 miles of our start, we found ourselves on a Roman Road.

It was OK to begin with. But then they always are, luring the unsuspecting cyclist into their clutches from which they will be lucky to survive. We made moderate progress on a reasonable surface. There were some ups and some downs, but perhaps this was not surprising. We were not all that far from the highest points in Essex and Cambridgeshire - and these, apparently, are only a couple of hundred yards apart. But it was the surface that deteriorated and became quite overgrown. I'm a bit surprised that the Romans, who had a reputation for orderliness, had allowed this to happen. However, where the road crossed the A11, much of which is another Roman road, someone had had the foresight to place a petrol station with attached Londis. We partook of soft drinks and sandwiches, and I bought one whose bottle could act for the rest of the trip as a substitute for the one I had left in the car door.

We carried on along the Roman road, which turned out to be the Harcamlow Way, largely because the only alternative was the A11 itself and that would not have been a good idea. But the vegetation became thicker until we were negotiating a single track and our spokes were playing Bach preludes, being plucked by the grass stalks we had picked up along the way. The climbing became tougher, and I shouted a most vociferous "Fuck Off!" when three youths undertook me very closely at high speed on scramble motor bikes. It may have been marked as a byway open to all traffic, but there were quite definite signs saying "NO MOTOR VEHICLES" and there's certainly no excuse for that sort of antisocial gittery.

Bob still felt rather rough, and out of sorts, which was hardly surprising given the battering his innards had suffered at the hands of the previous day's bacon sandwich, and this surface and the undergrowth didn't agree with him either. After about 5 miles, the opportunity to return to proper metalled roads presented itself, so we took it, and headed towards Linton. Through Bartlow, Shudy and Castle Camps, Helions and Steeple Bumpstead, we were so far behind the clock that we headed for the A road and bashed on through Clare and Cavendish, before stopping for a well-earned pint at the pub near Long Melford church.

We still had another 7 miles to go before our campsite at the White Horse, Edwardstone, and when we got there the sun had set and the pub was shut. There were some other campers, the last dregs of a brewers' convention that had taken place over the weekend. We managed to get the landlord to open up, he took our camping money and sold us some beer and then we pitched our tents by torchlight. I had picked up a rather nice loaf and a tin of chilli con carne at one of the village shops, so tucked into that, whilst crane flies flew headlong into my torchlight.
Bach without a doubt.

Wowbagger

  • Sylph
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #13 on: 20 September, 2021, 07:58:36 pm »
Monday 13th September: Edwardstone to Swilland.

We had a far less arduous task ahead of us today, but even so we had a reasonably prompt start. We hadn't gone far when we passed the ancient St. James Chapel, Groton, so we stopped and had a look at that. We also stopped on the north side of Kersey, a favourite destination of WARTIES of yesteryear, but Andrew's reconnoitre demonstrated that there was nowhere fit for 11ses. Eventually we found an open shop next to a closed pub in Elmsett, so bought some lunch and sat in the sun on a bench to eat it. Very pleasant!



There was something of an issue crossing the triple barriers of the River Gipping, the London to Norwich railway and the A14 in quick succession, but we opted for Claydon. This was convenient because there was also a pub, and pubs sell beer. The slightly annoying part was that we left this pub just as the large secondary school up the road turned its pupils out, and that road involved a long climb with quite a bit of traffic trying to pass us. Eventually we reached the top and the traffic calmed down.

We made our way through Henley (no, not that one) and enjoyed another short break on a bench, but were then thrust into some most unpleasant fast rush-hour traffic as we approached Ashbocking, and we opted for a slightly longer, but quieter, route, which also enabled us to examine our hearts' desire, the Moon and Mushroom pub, before finding the camp site at Swilland.

We found it eventually, on a rather large field behind Barn 2. This was being converted into a house, and a bit of shouting caught the attention of a chap who was installing skirting boards. He warned us about the killer sheep that inhabited the adjacent field and explained that the dilapidated caravan in the corner of the field housed a bog and a shower. "But there's no hot water," he added.

There was no lock on the caravan door either so the code was that if the door was shut, there was someone in there, if it was open there wasn't. Given that, apart from us, there was only one other camper present, we didn't think it would be an issue. I did, however, harbour some suspicions about this lavatorial arrangement and was keen to test my theory. At least there was running water so the cistern filled nicely and there was water to wash one's hands. I went out and peered over the fence to see where the waste pipe led. It disappeared through a thorn bush but I could clearly see the end of the pipe.

I returned to our pitch and proudly announced to Bob "I was right about that bog!"

"What were you right about?"

"Where the wastepipe goes..."

"A septic tank?"

"Nope"

"A soakaway?"

"Nope."

"What then?"

"A ditch."

"A ditch?"

"Yes. If you need to go for a crap at this site, your turds will be wafted gently into an open ditch."

"That's outRAGEous!"

Which, of course, it was. However, we couldn't afford to let this bother us as there was food to buy. We were treating ourselves to the luxury of the first pub meal of the trip, at the Moon and Mushroom, a pub whose name reminded me for some reason of skinny-dipping. We arrived there, and the rather terse barman clearly had no time for people wearing masks. Eventually we established that when he said "Victoria or Porter?" he was actually offering us a choice of two different types of beer. I had a couple of pints of the former, Andrew had a pint of each, and Bob was busily swigging tonic water to see if the quinine would help ward off the night-time cramps which had been troubling him.



My burger was OK, Andrew opted for some sort of Mediterranean fish stew, but rather too many of his mussels remained unopened and I think he was a bit disappointed with it. I've forgotten Bob's choice. We cycled back to the campsite and disappeared into our tents, our slumbering being occasionally punctuated by the call of tawny owls.
Bach without a doubt.

Wowbagger

  • Sylph
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #14 on: 20 September, 2021, 08:00:05 pm »
Tuesday 14th September: Swilland - Norwich (rail assisted)

What had been a forecast of glorious late summer weather for the enire week had, almost overnight, changed into something much less desirable. This had manifested itself the night before and it looked at that point as though we were going to be subject to several hours' heavy rain. Worse still, we had no assured campsite for the night adjacent to Dunwich. None of us was keen on the Cliff House site near Minsmere, for the historical reason that Charlotte, Annie and I had a big bust-up with the guy some 11 years ago. I can't recall precisely what the issue was now as I think I was in the loo when it happened, but suffice it to say that we didn't stop there. That was, I believe, the first time that the YACF Camping on the Beach at Dunwich became a thing, and whilst it works very well in high summer (that first occasion was late June) it is less desirable around the equinox when the sun sets almost 3 hours earlier and there's a pub meal to be had. The only other campsite we were aware of was the Mill Hill one and Bob had previously been in touch with them and it seemed that they weren't accepting tents this year. So we agreed that we would cycle into Ipswich and catch the New! Improved! Guardsvanless! train to Norwich as wandering around a city in the rain, where there are frequent places to dive in for shelter, is much more desirable than dragging one's damp and sorry arse across a rainwashed rural idyll.

We were up pretty early, and there was indeed an early shower, but the forecast had changed and the heavy stuff wasn't due to start until late morning. This gave us an opportunity to make a dash for Ipswich, which was a mere 8 miles away, to catch the first available train to Norwich where a real breakfast could be obtained. Bob found me a cereal bar which I ate gratefully, whilst being pestered by a pair of small goats who wanted me to offer them some. I made aggressive predator gestures and eventually they got the message and left me alone. We packed away damp tents in the full knowledge that they would be a good deal damper by the end of the day, and hied us to Ipswich.

I used to visit Ipswich regularly when the children were young as it was a very happy hunting ground for us as chessplayers. Suffolk Junior Chess was amazingly well organised, to the tune that a county with a relatively small population was capable of winning titles against big counties and large London boroughs. Furthermore, one of their players, one Nick Pert, won the World Under-20 Championship and is now a Grandmaster.

My reason for mentioning this is that the chap who was largely responsible for this was one Bob Jones, whose day job was running a training company at Ipswich Port. He was the best organiser of anything that I have ever met, and when he retired (and I think he must be in his 70s now) he decided to do a round Britain tour with a tent and a bicycle, visiting every port en route. He told me that me managed to gain sponsorship to raise money for two charities close to his heart (one of those was a meningitis charity, a disease from which he had suffered when he was in his 50s or 60s), and I don't think he actually shelled out from his own pocket for any of his kit, and he was using good quality stuff.

But I digress. We found Ipswich station with no difficulty, but for such a large town it's a really insignificant station. I think it has 4 platforms and its main traffic consists of the through trains between London and Norwich. Trains from Peterborough, Cambridge, Lowestoft and Felixstowe terminate here, but even so the station is away from the town centre and has almost nothing by way of cafés. It is a truth that is universally acknowledged that a touring cyclist undertaking a long journey must be in want of a large breakfast, and there was none to be had near Ipswich Station, so we boarded the first available Norwich-bound train, the 10.08. We fitted the three laden bikes in the allocated spaces, but had to ask a couple of other passengers to vacate the tip-up seats there so that we could do so, and a little over 40 minutes later we found ourselves in Norwich.

We decided against the "standard fare" that was on offer at the station and wandered in completely the wrong direction for the city centre, where we intended to be. Shortly we encountered four others, two of whom I recognised: it was a party of cyclists, including Brian Penny, the Secretary of the Essex CTC, who had left their bikes at a different campsite and had the same idea as ourselves: to avoid unnecessary cycling on a horrible wet day.

After a natter with these worthies, we found the Butterfly Café, which we thought perfectly appropriate, and enjoyed large cooked breakfasts whilst chatting occasionally to the very friendly staff. When we entered, the rain had hardly begun, but when we left it was falling steadily, so we pushed our bikes until we saw signs to St. Julian's Church. We felt it entirely appropriate that we should pay homage there, in the interests, of course, of all being well, and did that.





The rain was intermittent, but mostly not too heavy, so we continued to wander around. Andrew and I partook of coffee a little later, and later still we all visited the cathedral and afterwards patronised the elegant, modern refectory tagged onto it. Eventually the rain appeared to be easing off so we thought it a good idea to find the campsite. It wasn't far from the city centre, but we seemed to be searching for quite a while before it turned up. Traffic was heavy now as rush hour approached and Norwich is not as flat as one might expect for an East Anglian capital. The rain also started again in earnest, and when we found the campsite the warden told us that their normal lightweight field was waterlogged so we would have to pitch amongst the camper vans. We did so, but I avoided taking my bedding out as I was confident that the rain would stop later.



At about 7pm I telephoned the recommended curry house, the Roti, for our dinner. It took a little longer to arrive than was originally suggested, but by the time it did, shortly before 8pm, the rain had stopped. There was a convenient picnic table and we sat down to an excellent meal. Andrew and Bob had lamb jalfrezi and I had a lamb tikka dhansak, each with rice and naan. It really was very good indeed, and not long afterwards we climbed into our tents.
Bach without a doubt.

Wowbagger

  • Sylph
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #15 on: 20 September, 2021, 08:01:39 pm »
Wednesday 15th September: Norwich - Everett's Farm, Foulden

When we awoke the sun was shining. Unfortunately, it wasn't shining on our tents so they were wet when we put them away. We set off fairly promptly and navigated our way out of the city.

Initially everything went very well, and we found ourselves on an old bridleway, Marston Lane, which had been well surfaced and led us past a golf course. We crossed the A11 onto Colney Lane but then became embroiled with the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, twice taking a wrong turn on its service roads. We finally found our way out and headed towards Wymondham. The roads were quite busy with fast traffic, but fortunately there was a well-surfaced cycle path for our delectation, so we used it. Once in Wymondham, we found a cafe and sat outside drinking coffee. We had an action replay when we reached Hingham, and this time the coffee was accompanied by cake.

When we reached Watton it was time to buy dinner. There were no hostelries within easy reach of the campsite so we went into Tesco's and it turned out that Andrew and I had had the same idea: there was some lovely steak on offer and we each bought some. I bought a pack of vegetables as well, and some rolls at act as carbs. We dined well that evening.

The campsite, on the edge of the Thetford Forest, was largely deserted, but it had well-appointed loos and a good washing up area. There were also electrons available from a couple of power points in the gents, so we recharged our power-hungry devices.

The sun went down as we ate, and it treated us to a beautiful display of pyrotechnics. The sky cleared after dark and for the first time on this trip bowel o'clock occurred. Orion was shining beautifully above the trees, but when I emerged the sky was becoming pale with the approaching dawn. It wasn't long before Bob and Andrew were up and about and it was time for porridge.








Bach without a doubt.

Wowbagger

  • Sylph
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #16 on: 20 September, 2021, 08:10:46 pm »
Thursday 16th September: Everett's Farm to the Mad Hatter's Campsite, Ely.

Another beautiful morning dawned and we had just about our shortest day in store. We were off to the Mad Hatter's campsite about 3 miles east of Ely for our final night together.

We headed south and west in turn as we approached the fens, with their scant roads, lengthy sections of river without bridges, and uncertainty of through routes. I had long since become utterly fed up with my Garmin Edge Explore. Its internal battery was short-lived, and its means of presenting data was providing me with a challenging learning curve I just didn't want, and I was turning more and more frequently to the good old Ordnance Survey app on my phone.

We cycled along deserted roads through the forest, and the silence was an utter delight. For many of us the constant noise of motorised traffic is ever-present in our daily lives (as I type this, I can hear car after car passing within feet of my window) that when it stops it is an amazing relief. It comes as no surprise that high stress levels, high blood pressure, mental health issues and cardiovascular disease are associated with high traffic areas, to say nothing of the pollution damage, so finding oneself in a really peaceful place is most therapeutic.

Our first village of any size this morning was the appropriately-named Feltwell, and, Oh Frabjous Day! There was a café! In we went and, despite the generous portion of porridge that I had cooked for him earlier in the morning, Bob declared his intention of having a full cooked breakfast. Andrew concurred, so it would have been very rude for me to have done something else. It was a very good idea, and some while later we emerged and carried on, but not before having discussed with the waitress the best way of crossing some of the artificial waterways that Cornelius Vermuyden, or some other, had constructed for sending water as rapidly as possible out into the Wash. Andrew had discovered an issue with the bridge at Brandon Bank, where the Little Ouse marked the boundary between Norfolk and Cambridge. It seemed that this privately-owned iron bridge was in disrepair and the owners, the South Yorkshire Pensions Fund, had imposed a £650 per year charge on the villagers for its upkeep. I had an alternative route planned, again using bridleways, but it wasn't clear from the map that the bridge between Shrub Drove and Redmere Drove offered easy passage. Our friendly waitress assured us that it would almost certainly be open. "And anyway, my brother is the farm manager!" Suitably reassured, we set off.

Our first waterway was the aqueduct which was built in the 1960s to supply fresh water from the Denver Sluice on the Great Ouse to the reservoirs of Essex, via the Lark and the Stour rivers. Judging by the submerged reeds, this appeared to be flowing the wrong way, and when I sent the photograph to a retired water company chemist close to my heart, he doubted that it would have been used this year because the weather had been so wet.



We worked our way alternately south and west, and successfully crossed the Little Ouse at the appointed place, but Andrew discovered, almost to his cost, that the wooden platforms on either side of the bridge were decidedly rotten and not to be trusted. There was quite a long drop into dark, deep water below, and we felt that this was best avoided. There was plenty of agricultural activity - I think it was celery being harvested - and we eventually emerged onto a metalled road again and headed fro Prickwillow. We had hoped to stop for more beverages, but the museum and tea room were closed. Nevertheless, the weather was perfect so we lay on the grass and may have snoozed a little.



We were only a couple of miles from the campsite now, and there was more offroad to be tackled. We found it eventually and were given a warm welcome, complete with tea, by the lady in charge. Quite appropriately, we were placed on a pitch appropriately named "Drink Me!" and we pitched our tents in the warm late afternoon sun and they dried very quickly. I was very pleased with the local fauna, and our campsite seemed to have far more than its fair share of devil's coach horse beetles, which make the Dunwich earwigs look very feeble indeed. Andrew had at least one pay him a visit in his tent.





We had been in touch with Wobbly John, whose parish this most definitely was, and he paid us a visit in the evening, riding a bicycle whose frame was quite enormous. Before John arrived, Andrew and I had ridden into Ely to visit Waitrose, and amongst the special offers was some very tasty smoked salmon with "botanicals". By which I think they mean plants. I also bought some filled pasta which I shared with Bob, and some brie and a baguette that had been reduced in price.

John arrived at about sunset, we prepared food and had a good natter, and some time later he bade his farewell and we others disappeared to bed.
Bach without a doubt.

Wowbagger

  • Sylph
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #17 on: 20 September, 2021, 08:11:29 pm »
Friday 17th September: Ely - St. Neots.

I rose before first light and partook of the ablutionary block. The shower was beautifully hot and there was a bog in the same cubicle, so everything could be performed utterly seamlessly. The Mad Hatters was, I think, my favourite of all the sites we used. With the C & CC sites, you know pretty well what you are going to get, but with the others it's something of a lottery.

Andrew still had some time left of his holiday, so he had decided on a second night at the Mad Hatters so he could look around Ely cathedral, and the rest of the time in Cambridge. Bob abd I said our farewells at about 9.40 and headed west again. We first had to find our way through Ely and some inattention had us travelling the wrong way. However, it gave me the opportunity to photograph the cathedral. We worked our way towards the Witchford road (A142) and the previous evening Wobbly John had informed us that there was a cycle lane alongside the road. There was indeed, and we used it, but a cycle route on the wrong side of the road forces the cyclist to cross the busy road to get to it.



After Witchford, things calmed down a bit, and the roads became much quieter. We made use of Grunty Fen Lane, and very shortly after Wilburton we found a garden centre with not one but two different tea rooms, although one of them was named "Coffee Lounge". We had apple pie and latte.

I had planned to more-or-less reverse Bob's outward route from a few days previously to return to St. Neot's but Bob suggested riding on the Guided Busway which runs between Cambridge and St. Ives. It added two or three miles to our trip, but I think it was well worth doing. Our last few miles had been punctuated by cars overtaking us at too high a speed and this becomes quite wearing after a while. The busway was pleasant and peaceful and I stopped for a lunch consisting of brie and baguette. Bob decided not to eat, but I thoroughly enjoyed my déjeuner français.



After Fen Drayton we crossed both arms of the A14, although the older one is now called something else, and meandered back via Hilton. There were a few rather irksome climbs but possibly the worst bit of the entire trip was the rapid descent from Little Paxton Hill. We were travelling well in excess of 20mph and the number of irresponsible arseholes who decided to cross the double white lines in the middle of the road was really quite breathtaking. We then pottered through the town centre and up the hill to Castle Canardly where tea and toast was taken prior to driving back to Southend.
Bach without a doubt.

Re: 3 Amigos post Lockdown tour.
« Reply #18 on: 24 September, 2021, 09:01:28 pm »
A footnote.

Both in Ipswich, Norwich and surrounds including our only pub meal, I was somewhat taken aback by the significant number of people, young and old, I observed smoking cigarettes. This was most noticeable and tbh a bit of a surprise, as in my own locality many seem to have kicked the habit, not least due to the scourge of Covid. Seems the no fags  message has still to reach some places. I am an ex smoker and  am not being judgemental.
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain