Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A ride to not-so-sunny Soham

Tuesday, 19th April: This week was going to be quite busy, you do try to get things done before bank holidays and there were quite a few coming along in the next couple of weeks, not that I am complaining. I was also having to drive on the Good Friday – my son needed picking up along with a car load of stuff, so that was all the excuse I needed to bunk off early and have a ride. I have not included a map of this ride as it is a variation on a theme.  Here is a Bike Route Toaster link to a similar ride. It was around 64Km/40 miles and this one is probably similar. The main differences are that I left NCN51 at Quy and cycled along Station road and along the disused railway line behind Anglesey Abbey to Lode. Today’s route also took the road to Upware and then used Docking’s Lane to join NCN11 back to Wicken  and down Drury Lane towards Soham on the byway/bridleways. The route back to Reach was similar although this time around I cycled along a byway in the middle of the village and then along Black Droveway.

As I am currently running a week behind in my posts I had to check the GPS trace for the day just to make sure.

So as this is a short post – I only took a few pictures (nine) I though I ought to comment on a few of the web-links I saved up over the last week.  Of course the Cambridge Guided Busway gets a mention: “Busway handover welcomed but there is more work to do”. One comment suggests that the “legal battle could go on for several years”!

Talking about Bank Holidays the Cambridge News Cycling Blog reminds us that there are plenty of places worth exploring over the next crop of holidays and predicted nice weather. (Of course since I am writing this late I know that the weather was excellent for cycling.)

Talking about Spring sights there are some spectacular pictures in the Daily Mail of Dutch Tulip Fields – mind you I have cycled up in the Spalding area (Lincolnshire) and seen fields full of flowers growing. They also have an annual Flower Parade on the 30th of April this year. The daily mail also has some excellent pictures of bluebells growing in Micheldever Wood near Basingstoke. A bit closer to home for bluebells, but I have never been, is Hayley Wood (another Hayley Wood link) near St Neots.

Apparently South Cambridgeshire has the highest quality of life in a Survey of England, Scotland and Wales, with East Cambridgeshire ninth in the list. This sort of news will make it harder to get grants such as the £2.5m Adventurers Rural Development programme.  So what is it about Cambridge City life that is not so good? (it is a separate authority – here is a link to the survey.) Perhaps it is the smog? Apparently London has had its first smog warning for two years. Now let me remind myself what causes smog – ah yes – “vehicle exhaust gases such as nitrogen dioxide reacting with the air in strong sunlight to form ozone”. I think particulates have something to do with it as well. (Yes I am guilty – I have 300 miles plus to drive over Easter.)

So let’s move onto one of the reasons this area is such a pleasant place to live, the Fens. This is an Oak (I think, I can’t say I’ve ever paid much attention to it – it just “feels like an Oak”). It is on the Drove Way a bridleway near Allicky farm.

A little bit further along – this time on the disused railway line (Cambridge to Mildenhall) another Oak tree.  I know they are easy to spot really, I’ve just never looked closely I will do the next time I go by. Well the last one, this is a field away from the path.

Despite being a working day, but perhaps because it was a School holiday I passed quite a few people walking along the path.

A quick stop on the bridge over Swaffham Bulbeck Lode  - the trees on the right are also pretty much in leaf. (This is my standard picture looking North.)

In the field adjacent to Lodes Way and Swaffham Bulbeck Lode  you can see irrigation taking place.  As I have mentioned before this is a pretty dry part of the world, well in terms of rainfall, it is a good job that it is low-lying and has lots of drainage ditches  all over the place.

As this was me playing hooky I didn't stop too often to take pictures, I had stuff to do really. Did I mention I had my long lens on my camera (100-300mm or 200-600mm in 35mm speak). This is the Soham Water Tower taken from the byway near Ness Farm. The last web link for Soham has a huge amount of history.. It amazes me how some villages have such excellent websites and others don’t. That’s crowdsourcing for you I suppose.

There is also a NASA building in the middle of Soham, no of course it isn’t, but I have seen it many times and am not at all sure what it us. A quick wander along the street using Streetview shows it might be GSE.

On the way back through Reach I also took some pictures of the Swaffham Prior skyline. Here you can see the towers of the two churches which are side by side – if you want to find out more follow the link.

There is also an old style Water tower. According to British History, it was built in 1939 on Greenhead Hill. Apparently the Sewage Works on Station Road was built in 1973.  In the hotter weather you tend to notice these sewage plants sometimes have a bit of a whiff about them.

Did I also mention that I swallowed a fly – I do know why, I cycle with my mouth open.  I also got passed by a lorry which threw a bit of grit in my eye. But with the wind in my eyes it got washed out.


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