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17 May 2018: Ireland – the one in Bedfordshire

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No hard border here

With Maurice and Andrew indisposed, it fell to Brian to find a route for Thursday’s outing. Starting from The Cock at Broom he led the gang around a 26 mile circuit south east of Bedford. It took us through the little village of Ireland; we didn’t see any leprechauns though there were some garden gnomes.

We were particularly pleased to see Rod, in fine fettle and back on two wheels after a long absence. He was joined by Keith, Ken, Lawrence, Martin, Ric, Roger, Sandra and two Brians; ten Windmillers in all.

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Nice bike, Sandra

Sandra – on a shiny new road bike – was somewhat dismayed that the route included an off road section, notably a rough footpath across a meadow and over a ditch. But it was dry so her new machine sustained nothing more than a light dusting. Others complained about  stinging nettles, which brought out a fine rash on bare legs.

Highlights along the way included:

  • The Shuttleworth Collection of historic aircraft. We pedalled around the estate admiring the House and even managed to get into one of the hangers
  • The fifteenth century bridge over the Ouse at Great Barford
  • Willington Dovecote and Stables, built in 1543 – but the pigeons are new. It’s owned by the National Trust
  • The Cardington Sheds; two massive airship hangers dating back to 1916.
  • And, of course, the aforementioned village of Ireland, which is tiny. Blink and you’ll miss it.
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Shuttleworth House
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Do you think they’d mind if we looked around?
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Sopwith Camel
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Bristol F.2B
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A Hucks Starter based on a Ford Model T truck, built in 1920 by de Havilland
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Willington Dovecote and Stables, 1543
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Coffee stop at The Barn Cardington
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There’s no escaping the Royal Wedding

Returning to Broom, we were joined by John B and enjoyed lunch in the garden of The Cock. This is a new venue for Windmill Club outings, a quirky place where there’s no bar and the beer is served directly from barrels in the cellar. John went exploring its various rooms and original fittings, returning visibly moved. “It’s a proper pub,” he declared, wiping a tear from his eye. There is no higher accolade.

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The Cock at Broom provides a warm welcome for beer loving cyclists
26 miles anticlockwise from Broom
26 miles anticlockwise from Broom

Finally, we all wish Maurice – who is in hospital having some worn out parts replaced – a very speedy recovery. We hope to see him joining us for a good lunch – and eventually getting back on the bike – very soon.

Brian

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