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12 July 2018: Off roading with horses

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Calixta’s magnificent Comtois horses

Andrew, Laird of Wendens Ambo, had invited us to meet at his place for our regular Thursday outing. We were very pleased to see Ric for the first time since his tumble in May. Even more impressively, he had cycled to Andrew’s from Harston. Andrew and Ric were joined by Sandra, Tom and both Brians – Yorkie and Brummie.

Setting off, the six Windmillers made the long ascent up El Bastardo and on via Strethall, Ickleton, Duxford and Whittlesford to Great Shelford, where we pulled in at the excellent Deli for refreshments. Here we met Pam, Brummie Brian’s missus, who joined us in the garden for coffee.

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With Pam at Linton Deli

Having already done 25 miles, Ric thought it best to not overdo things on his first outing and headed home to Harston.

The rest of us continued to Stapleford, where we negotiated the gravel trap at the Granary, and took the off road route to Babraham and Abington. Along the way, Brummie Brian, caught napping by the rutted track, took a spill and fell in a nettle patch. No real harm was done, apart from nettle rash. We have yet to find out if there’s footage of it on Sandra’s handlebar camera.

Despite the tumble, we were gung ho enough take another off road section from Hildersham to Linton. Along here we came across a woman leading a pair of working horses pulling a plough. Her name was Calixta and the horses were Comtois, a French breed from the Jura Mountains. They were working a market garden supplying organic produce to up market restaurants, including Midsummer House and Cotto in Cambridge.

Setting off again from Linton we took the return leg via Hadstock and Little Walden back to Saffron Walden and Wendens Ambo. Having clocked up 31 miles on a hot day, we were glad of a beer at The Bell and lunch in the garden.

Thanks, Andrew, for organising everything.

31 miles clockwise from Wendens AmboBrian

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