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2 May. Windmillers on the line. 33 miles.

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Windmillers on the Meridian Line between Great and Little Eversden (actually about 90 degrees to it!). From the left, Keith, Roger, Victor, Simon O, Simon T, Sandra, Ric, Mike, Chris, new boy Charles, Maurice, Lawrence, Andrew.

Having gathered at The Red House at Longstowe this also proved to be a tour of windmills for the above 14 Windmillers including new boy Charles who lives in Chrishall. Welcome, Charles, even though he called us a bunch of old b******s! Clearly, he summed us up quickly and accurately. Setting off at the early hour of 9.00am, or thereabouts, the group headed firstly up the busy A1198 as far as the Bourn turning after which all was peace and quiet.

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Preparing for departure

This is where we went:

Longstowe Wimpole ride 2 May 2019

The first windmill was spotted tucked away behind some trees in Kingston, so tucked away that it doesn’t seem to be listed on a Wikipedia list of Cambridgeshire windmills, but here it is all the same:

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The residents must have thought we were Chinese cyclists

Shortly afterwards we crossed the Meridian Line with its attractive marker, unveiled by Sir Martin Rees, The Astronomer Royal, on New Year’s Eve 2000. Hopefully there were fireworks too.

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The Meridian Marker plaque

Maurice always likes to sort the men from the boys with an early hill and he didn’t disappoint when offering us a steep ascent out of Haslingfield towards Barrington, but probably not quite as steep or long as the hill coming the other way from Barrington which we were able to cruise down at speed. Then it was through Shepreth and right towards Orwell where you could almost smell the coffee at Wimpole Hall.

Coffee at Wimpole Hall is always a delight except for the system which does not seem able to cope with a sudden onslaught of customers, despite the number of staff on duty. However, there were two queues this time which was better unless you were in the queue on the right! That was the more dangerous queue too with its large choice of cakes and buns on display.

Leaving the grounds in a westerly direction afforded a wonderful view of Wimpole Hall bathed in sun on what was a lovely spring day:

Wimpole Hall

 

Then we continued through quiet lanes to Croydon and  Hatley St George before turning north towards the Gransdens and more windmills for those who chose the blue route shown on Maurice’s map above. Victor, Charles and Simon O decided to continue on the red route.

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Stopping for a breather at Hatley St. George

Great Gransden Mill dates from 1614 and is a fine example of rural engineering. Restored in 1982 / 83 it is still in great condition but minus its sails.

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Simon resting amongst the dandelions and buttercups in front of Great Gransden Mill
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Maurice explaining how it works
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We might want to take a look inside next time.

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By this time there were thoughts of beer and lunch back at The Red House but that didn’t stop a few Windmillers, those who show true respect to windmills, from stopping and admiring at close quarters the very attractive Bourn Windmill, set back from the road up a path. So whilst Simon T, Mike and Martin got chatting to the nice lady in the adjacent Mill Cottage, who offered to show us around the mill on a future occasion, the others decided to head back and quench their thirsts.

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Martin, Simon and Mike showing respect to Bourn Windmill in all its glory

Finally, most gathered for lunch back at The Red House, including Ken who had hoped to catch up with us at Wimpole, and very good it was too although two of us subsequently wondered about the ham and egg mayo sandwich due to some after effects. It might have been the Belhaven!

Ric and Sandra clocked up much longer distances having cycled from their homes. Well done both.

Thanks to Maurice for a great route and to Andrew for getting us to the start point.

Martin

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