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4 January 2018: A Muddy Mile

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A rain soaked morning saw Windmillers gathering in the Black Bull at Balsham for the first Thursday outing of the year. It looked so bleak outside, we decided to prolong our stay on the pub’s comfy sofas and drink coffee until the rain stopped.

We were a gang of six – Andrew, Lawrence, Sandra, Chris and the two Brians. Maurice, laid up following a painful visit to the dentist, had thoughtfully provided a route.

We eventually got going at 10:15, heading out northwards towards Newmarket and then on to Exning and Burwell before turning south for the return leg via Reach, the Swaffhams and the Wilbrahams.

It was at this point, behind schedule and with a strengthening headwind, that we opted for the shortest route back and foolishly followed Brummie Brian on an off road shortcut. This turned out to be a mule track of the sort favoured by John Bagrie and, no doubt, would have been delightful on a summer’s day. Alas in January it was heavy going.

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Brummie Brian’s shortcut; Chris, ahead of Andrew, dismounts to avoid the deeper ruts
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Yorkie Brian enjoying (?) the off road challenge
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Thank God! The end of the muddy mile.

It was a relief to be back on the road where Chris used the contents of his drink bottle to clear the mud jamming his brakes.

Reaching Balsham at last, we were delighted to be joined by Maurice for lunch. We munched sandwiches and sipped beer while swapping tales of Christmas past. The prize for most eventful festive season was shared by Chris – who had experienced drama on the M11 – and Sandra; if she ever offers to change your wheel, just say no.

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32 miles anticlockwise from Balsham

Thanks, Andrew for getting us organised. And thanks, Maurice, for the route, even if we didn’t follow it very well.

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