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22 July. Bull circuit. 17 miles.

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A fine hot summer’s evening saw seven Windmillers assemble at The Bull, Lower Langley, for a leisurely ride around the lanes. Maurice led the way followed by Andrew, Keith, Simon T,  Charles, new member Nick and Martin. The route took us to Langley Upper Green, Duddenhoe End, down to the Wendens Ambo road and then up to Chrishall as far as the track through the woods to Elmdon.

There was talk of stopping at Simon and Ollie’s house in Elmdon but there was no sign of life and so we pressed on towards another off road section, this time from Elmdon to Catmere End, except for Keith who preferred not to shred his tyres and so we agreed to meet him at the Axe and Compasses in Arkesden.

The journey through the woods was uneventful thanks to the new surface on the bridle way and we soon emerged the other side to continue to Littlebury Green, down Hill Bastardo to the Wendens Ambo road and then up the long hill towards Arkesden before rejoining Keith for some refreshment.

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Windmillers enjoying refreshment at The Axe and Compasses in Arkesden. From the left, Nick, Maurice, Keith, Simon, Charles and Andrew.

It was on the return leg in Clavering that we stopped in awe to watch an old fashioned binder cutting a field of tall wheat, spitting out tied sheaves as it did so until it of course jammed like they always did. This resulted in Maurice and Martin reminiscing about the old days and chatting to the operator who was busy unjamming the  machine. It turned out that the wheat was being cut for thatching straw but the sheaves would still be stacked up to dry before being threshed. It would be interesting to know how the yield of this particular Maris variety compared with more modern varieties.

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Cutting wheat straw with a binder for thatching in Clavering

Declining the operator’s invitation to return the next day to stack up the sheaves, Maurice and Martin finally set off in pursuit of the others who had gone ahead, only to find that the Ms got back to The Bull first, Andrew and the others having gone via Meesden to drop off Nick but who arrived quickly afterwards. It was the end of a perfect ride and what better than to finish by sitting outside The Bull soaking up the evening sun?

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Thanks, Maurice for planning such an excellent ride around our lovely quiet lanes and Andrew for the Strava map and organising us.

Martin

 

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