It was a fine, warm day when seven Windmillers met at the Carriers Inn in East Bergholt, Suffolk, for a memorable ride around Constable Country, some taking the A14 to reach the start, some taking the A120 and Vernon taking the scenic route via a Colchester industrial estate. The other participants were Squadron Leader Maurice, Deputy Dawg Andrew, Captain Keith Pugwash, our resident botanist Rick, Marmite Tom and the Revd Moley Martin. Once assembled, we set off on this very scenic tour of 34 miles:
The precise route can be found here: http://gb.mapometer.com/cycling/route_4411318
The first stop was for coffee / beer at the idyllic Butt and Oyster Inn on the banks of the River Orwell at Pin Mill, a place well known to Maurice, Moley and other sailors / smugglers, and hardly surprising given its remote location. It has not changed over the years and is now home to around 25 house boats and an anchorage for visiting boats:
Then it was down to the marina at Shotley, a convenient point for sailors for quick access to the North Sea or the Stour Estuary, which brought back happy memories of good sailing days:
Then it was along the picturesque Stour, crossing the bottom end of Alton water (which has a cycle track around it, perhaps for next time) and past this strange multi-phallic gatehouse to a desres in the large grounds
before heading to Flatford Mill to see Constable Country in all its glory.
It was a surprisingly hilly ride at times and the final one back to the Carriers Inn produced thirsts that were soon quenched with some fine Adnams Southwold bitter followed by an excellent 2 course lunch for £7.95 except for the young Captain Pugwash who had to pay £8.95. The pub had some fine advice for its customers on display:
Thanks to Maurice for planning a superb ride. We look forward to doing it again in the future.
PS. For all those motivated by the special scenes at Flatford to take up a brush, paint, canvas and easel, go no further than Hinxton Mill where cows still linger in the cool water of the millpond: