Our shepherd Maurice announced that this would be an easy flat route starting and finishing at The Golden Fleece in Braughing. 35 miles later, the view was that since his childhood in these parts some geological activity must have happened to create some significant hills, including a final granny gear hill in Braughing itself!
It was a clear, bright but slightly chilly start to the ride when Maurice led the way clockwise down memory lanes, followed by a herd of sheep including Deputy Sheep Dawg Andrew, John B (back from a week’s walking in Majorca), John T, Keith, Hot Rod, Jimny Ken, Brummy Brian, Marmite Tom, Peter, (landlord of, appropriately, The Golden Fleece), and Moley Martin. Here is the route:
After traversing fords and cart tracks, the first photo call was at the same spot in Barwick (pronounced Barrick) where Maurice’s grandfather was once photographed with his traction engine:
……and this is what it looks like today:
Note the building on the right is the same as 100 years ago but the house behind has gone and been replaced by barn style buildings. Here’s another photo of Maurice’s grandfather’s traction engine driving a hay elevator with the hayrick being built in the background:
Then it was onwards through fabulous deserted countryside taking in Wadesmill where Maurice and Moley stopped to look at the monument to Thomas Clarkson who was instrumental in the abolition of slavery:
This spot also happens to mark the point of the start of the first English turnpike, which probably had fewer potholes than today’s roads. By the time we reached the picture postcard village of Westmill, the need for refreshment was considerable and the local tea shop produced some excellent coffee whilst we sat outside and admired another customer’s Harley Davison:
Some useful advice was also offered in the toilet:
The return leg took us through Buntingford, Wyddial, Great Hormead, Furneaux Pelham and a strong headwind ride to Braughing, where a good lunch was had at The Golden Fleece. Other than a few chain problems the ride was uneventful.
Thanks are due to Shepherd Maurice for planning a wonderful ride and to Deputy Sheep Dawg Andrew for herding the sheep to the starting pen. Baa baa!