11 May. Dawgfight over Duxford. 30 miles

This was a day many had been looking forward to – Andrew was celebrating his big 70th birthday which meant that he would be buying a large round of drinks.

Jeremy organised the ride which met at the popular Café 19 in Duxford at 9.00 for coffee and placing lunch orders before setting off at 9.30. Those accompanying him and Andrew were Roger, Deborah, Simon, Graham, Geoff, Howard, Alan, Iain, Paul, Martin B and Martin W, which meant a big bill was in store for Andrew!

Ready for the off

Setting off in two groups, this was the route taken:

Riding clockwise from Duxford the route was pretty well flat as a pancake but Jeremy had craftily incorporated a spike of a climb and descent between Bassingbourn and Haslingfield as can be seen from the elevation chart above. En route the first group came across a lady cyclist in distress with a puncture and nobly gave assistance, Howard being chief mechanic. Martin W’s feeble attempt to photograph the scene only resulted in a stressed looking selfie and a race to catch up with his group, but that’s what e-bikes are for.

Local lad Ric leads a panting group up the hill from Bassingbourn, before the fast descent of Chapel Hill to Haslingfield

Whizzing through to Harston, Ric’s home turf, Simon and Martin W stuck on the tail of Geoff as he cycled at speed on the bike path alongside the busy A10 thinking he knew where he was going. But, alas, a turning to Shelford was missed and it wasn’t long before the M11 junction hoved into view. Meanwhile, Ric, Graham and Iain took the right route and so a U-turn by the three lost sheep resulted in them getting to the coffee stop at Stapleford Granary last of all. The first group, who were behind having helped the lady in distress, also took the right turning.

Coffee and cakes at the Stapleford Granary were great – it’s a lovely place – but 13 Windmillers descending all at once plus regular customers makes for a test of any coffee machine.

The next part of the route took us alongside the fast flowing River Granta towards Babraham along a delightful off road route. Andrew is seen leading his group in the featured photo above.

Paul, Simon, Andrew, Jeremy, Deborah and Geoff pausing on a bridge over the River Granta, or are they about to play Pooh Sticks?
Babraham Hall, the focal point of what is now a huge science park at the Babraham Institute

It was at Babraham that Martin W decided to take a different route from the others in his group, to avoid lugging his heavy e-bike over the bridge spanning the A11. The diversion via the A 1307 was longer but the time was the same.

Cycling through Little and Great Abington, past Suzanne’s house (Where are you Suzanne? We miss you), the route took us into the large site of the former Land Settlement Association, one of many scattered around the country which were formed in the late 1930s to provide work for unemployed people in industrial areas. Each five acre plot came with a cottage and soon a thriving market garden industry was established which helped considerably to provide fresh food during wartime. In 1983 the LSA in Great Abington was disbanded and the cottages came up for sale. There are some left but most have been extended into large properties, many of which have equestrian facilities, but there still lots of greenhouses and vegetable growing enterprises.

This is an example of an extended cottage which is now a major asparagus business. Note the wartime Nissan Hut. For more information on the Land Settlement Association, click here:

Next stop was Sawston and then the bike path from the Spicers site through to Whittlesford and finally a network of alleys and twittens in Duxford before arriving back, a bit on the late side, for lunch at Café 19.

But before lunch could start for Deputy Dawg Andrew, he was treated to a Dawgfight between a Spitfire and a Spanish built Messerschmitt which was seen spewing white smoke from its tail to indicate it had been shot down.

The victorious Spitfire

Eventually, lunch got underway and it was good to have Maurice join us. A hearty rendering of Happy Birthday to Andrew was had, who we thanked heartily for buying the drinks.

Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday dear Dawggie, Happy birthday to you.

Thanks go also to Jeremy for planning and organising the ride, and for some of the photographs. Additional photographs kindly taken by others including Graham and Andrew.

Martin W

One reply on “11 May. Dawgfight over Duxford. 30 miles”

I’d never heard of a ‘twitten’, Martin, but a Web search soon put me right; ‘a Sussex dialect word for a path between two walls or hedges’.


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