Having enjoyed coffee and chocolate cake recently at The Cricketers in Weston, to celebrate his birthday, Maurice decided to organise a delightful clockwise ride from there taking in many lanes and villages that we rarely visit, and somehow avoiding Stevenage in the process. There was a large turnout on this glorious Spring day, Maurice’s faithful followers being Andrew, Vernon, John B, John T, Keith, Brummy Brian, Yorkie Brian, Tom, Lawrence, Chris and Martin, with Ric once again clocking up 50+ miles by cycling from Harston and joining us for coffee, making 13 in all. Here is the route taken:
Despite being so close to Stevenage, or Silkingrad as it was once known by locals opposed to the new town, there was rarely a glimpse of it. Brian and Tom reckoned they spotted the Lister Hospital (see above map) but that’s about all. Perhaps that says a lot about successful new town planning, the topic of which exercised several minds as we sauntered around the mainly quiet but severely potholed lanes. No one could remember the name of the architect of Harlow until Lawrence came to the rescue – Sir Frederick Gibberd. Apparently he has a house and garden in Old Harlow which is open to visitors. (That’s enough about architecture for one blog!)
Vernon, Maurice, Yorkie Brian and Martin in the middle of nowhere, but near Silkingrad
The clockwise circuit meant that there were few difficult hills to tackle en route to Whitwell, where we said goodbye to John B before coffee in Emily’s tea shop, and hello to Ric afterwards. There was a sign saying Dogs on Leads but we couldn’t find one to clip on Andrew.
Coffee and sunshine at Emily’s Tea Shop in Whitwell – a favourite stop for cyclists
The return leg, thankfully, went down a long hill near Poynders End, which we remembered struggling up last year when we did a similar route anti-clockwise. But what goes down must go up and we were rudely awakened of this when hitting a very steep climb at Gravely with only a herd of deer to take our minds off the grind of gears not engaging correctly. But it was not far back to The Cricketers in Weston where we met up with John B again and received a warm welcome with a good lunch of pizzas and other dishes whilst we tried to decipher who was who in the cricketing photographs that adorned the walls. Luckily we had Keith with us.
Thanks, Maurice, for planning the route, Andrew for organising us all and Brian for the photographs.