Yes, it was brass monkey weather as eight hardy Windmillers set off from the Pheasant in Great Chishill in -1 C and quite a strong wind, wrapped up like Eskimos to stop their extremities from falling off. Maurice led the way followed in cold pursuit by Andrew, just back from a big family wedding in the Emerald Isle, John B, John T, Sandra, Brian, Lawrence and, saying prayers that we didn’t skid on the ice, the Revd Holy Moley Martin. Downhill we sped to Shaftenhoe End hoping that the first climb would create some warmth but, alas, fingers, toes and other extremities remained numb until way past Barkway and the icy lanes around Reed. Here is the route we intended to take (sorry, colour cartridge empty on printer):
Luckily, it was a bright, sunny day and the temperature gradually crept up to a degree or two above freezing. All went well until Steeple Morden when we realised that Lawrence had gone missing, again. A phone call and a specially saved text message for Lawrence stating ‘Do a U-turn’ failed to elicit a reply and so the remaining seven carried on in the general direction of Wimpole, hoping to bump into Lawrence en route. Then at a junction near Wendy some turned left to tackle Croydon Hill whilst Maurice and Martin took a right only to find that the shadow behind them was not Lawrence but John T.
Eventually, seven arrived in dribs and drabs via the back entrance to Wimpole in Arrington:
In the warmth of the Wimpole café Andrew dispensed a miniature of whisky to those on his table whilst Lawrence described how he had followed the wrong cyclist in Steeple Morden, thinking he was a Windmiller. The young chap concerned must have got worried being followed by a complete stranger, particularly when Lawrence followed him up his own driveway on a council estate near Litlington!
Outside the temperature had risen a bit more and layers were seen to be removed before setting off back for a shorter leg through Orwell, Meldreth and Melbourn with the wind behind most of the way. Maurice had thoughtfully planned the final 3 mile uphill stretch to Great Chishill to be directly downwind – well done Maurice!
Back at the Pheasant, Lawrence very generously bought a round of drinks in celebration of his birthday – cheers Lawrence! – and Ken joined us too, after which we tucked into good fare and talked of the Christmas lunch which was coming up in just 2 week’s time.
Thanks, Maurice, for organising a great ride.