Monday, October 18, 2010

An anti-clockwise loop to Wicken Fen and back

Monday 18th October: I had a few glitches with getting pictures to upload in yesterday's Post, it seems to work now though. Having written the Post I uploaded it in Draft form but left the editing window (and Post) open so I could finish it in the morning. This meant that a copy of the Post was stored on the Blog and more importantly the pictures were stored on Picasaweb (the time-consuming bit). But when I came to finish it the next morning I wanted to add a couple of pictures and did, but then when uploading the edited post it kept stalling at the first new picture. I think the problem was that my computer had re-started overnight. I always subscribe to OS software updates, but always get the computer to check with me before installing them. In fact I try to do this with most updates, but it seems that there are some that just go ahead anyway and carry on and re-start the computer regardless of what is running. (This time I think it was to do with the BBC iPlayer software - or rather the underlying Adobe programs, although I am not sure.)

To work around the problem I uploaded the two pictures using Picasa and then linked to them via embedded HTML in the post so it should behave like the rest of my Posts. This (new) Post has uploaded the pictures without a problem so I would imagine that the problem was caused by the forced closing of Zoundry and the associated editing window (akin to crashing) affecting the association between pictures on disk and Picasaweb.

After mentioning my penchant for clock-wise cycle rides I thought I'd better break the habit. Mind you without checking I would guess that at least 10% of my rides are essentially counter-clockwise. The other thing I thought I'd do before forgetting it is to cycle along NCN51 to Bottisham to get pictures of the Bottisham Airfield Museum. So for completeness here is the map of my ride. To make it easier to get the ride on a single screen-shot page I used Chrome to reduce the zoom level on the Map window - I should have thought about that before. Here is the BRT link it is a shortish ride of 50Km/30 miles and pretty flat, the only hills I can think of are around the back of Swaffham Bulbeck and Reach - both of which you can avoid if you want. The route heads out on NCN51 apart from the aforementioned Reach detour and then also circles around Wicken Fen using the Maltings path.

Cambridge Lodes Way Loop 6 Ant.jpg

It is slightly unclear to me where the shared-used cycle path between Bottisham and Swaffham Bulbeck starts. The OSM cycle map does not show it at all. Perhaps because it is a rather narrow pavement, too narrow for two cyclists to pass without one stopping. Anyway halfway up Tunbridge Lane is the place where the Bottisham Airfield Museum resides. I took this picture from the pavement and I do not know which of the various buildings is the Museum, however Crystal Structures Ltd is also based on there. It turns out that this company make the models used in Schools and Universities to demonstrate crystal structures - you know polystyrene balls held together with metal spokes used in Physics and Chemistry lessons. The buildings do look like the remnants of a WW2 airfield - although the airfield was across the village, where the A14 now runs.


A bit further along the road was what looks a little like a wishing well. It is the memorial to Colonel Thomas Christian, commander of the 361st Fighter Group. The road has also been named after him.


Here is a closeup of the Commemorative Plaque.


The work seems to be proceeding well on the new Windpump at Wicken Fen, a big concrete tube was being put into the ground, just off NCN11 - I'll take pictures next time I am going that way.

Since I was on an airfield theme on my way back I stopped off at the Burwell Fen Farm buildings, just up Newnham Drove (just off Lodes Way.) MikeC mentioned that the buildings have historic value as some of the few remaining examples of a type of construction used in aircraft hangers. All the HDR pictures in this Post were made from 3 exposures ( I normally use 7) and I was hoping that the interior picture of this building would look somewhat clearer.


The view looking down Newnham Drove towards Burwell. You can see how the roof has a curve typical of an aircraft hangar.


This one has a more complete curve to the roof.


The closeup shows that "secret" of the construction - curved girders built to be light and rigid with. The same type of girder is also used along the wall (but not curved). The vertical girders differ in that the "struts" are set along the centre line of the girder, whilst the roof girders have the struts each side of the metal beam. I presume it is to ensure a more rigid structure.


If you find yourself cycling back to Cambridge along the Lodes way at night without decent lights then beware this barrier being constructed. I assume it is to prevent large vehicles getting through, but at the moment there is a stump sitting 15cm (6") out of the ground on the right side of the path.


If you look closely you can see there is a digger behind the trees and the green box has Nuttall on it. Perhaps this is why the CGB problems are not being fixed - the contractors have gotten lost and have confused this Lode with the cycle path and are digging away the bank to cure the flooding! At first I thought it was a slightly bodged attempt at cutting an edge on the bank, but you can see that two wooden pegs mark out the area being excavated - I wonder what it is for - a fishing platform?


As I was getting close to Quy - but still on the bridleway (The Drove Way) I saw a Hercules in the sky. You can see four thin exhaust trails being left behind. It seemed to be doing large circuits to the edge of Marshall's Airfield - presumably a test flight. There is a better picture in the link.


This is the route of the Drove way, the bridleway to Quy. The actual path is to the right of the hedgerow you can see. Also if you look closely you can see three planes (Hercules) flying in formation in the sky. Er, actually it is the same one, but this picture was composed of three exposures and the plane was moving further away as each picture was taken.


I don't think this barn on the outskirts of Quy on Station Road used the techniques employed in the barns at Burwell Fen Farm.


Did I mention that I saw 5 diggers from Burwell Fen onwards. Has there been a sudden collapse in the Lodes around the Fens? There were two on Bottisham Lode, perhaps I'd better take a life-vest with me the next time I cycle around these parts.


  1. Anti-clockwise eh? How novel. :-)
    I hope that barrier is brightly painted.
    I occasionally go along the Bar Hill road you wrote about recently. The barriers with the handle-bar hight protrusions are pure evil. I trust these are nothing like that.

  2. I forgot to mention it but when I went through one of the barriers in Bar Hill there was a traffic jam, three cyclists were coming the other way - it took ages for us all to get through.

    There appears to be a decent gap on these - but it is trap for the unwary at night when you speed down off the bridge.