Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Maid's Head and an excuse to go there

Friday, 20th May: Officially it wasn’t POETS day as I had stuff to do. There was a bright spot to the day though.I was meeting a friend for lunch and he suggested the Quy Mill as a reasonable distance  (for him) to cycle. You see I am getting other people to cycle to meetings as well. The trouble was that this curtailed the distance I would get to cycle – I know it is always me, me, me.  I also know I could have always taken a longer route but for choice I prefer quainter village pubs and so as a change from the Dyke’s End in Reach (which I do like), but would have shortened his ride I suggested the Maid’s Head in Wicken.

Despite have cycled around Wicken a gazillion times I have never been into the pub. I guess it is quite a long way from Cambridge for a meeting – I tend to go for pubs that are slightly closer and when I am on longer cycle rides I carry food and drink with me.  Call me old-fashioned, but I tend not to go into pubs on my own. I like a good pint or two, but it is a social thing to do. If I am on my own then a pint of lemon squash with ice or an ice-cold can of coke out of the fridge does the trick.

A quick look at their website looked promising and I knew it had a garden and was set back from the main road through the village so all in all it seemed to be a good choice.

My friend would also get the chance to try out part of the Lodes Way for the first time as well. Although it turns out he did get lost on his way from Burwell.

As usual I set out later than planned but by cutting down on picture-taking and going a little bit faster  I was still able to detour via Upware (as I had hoped to do). Since we were both arriving by bicycle then me getting there hot and sweaty was less of an issue. I did cut out Bottisham and cycled along the main road from Quy to Lode though.

It was really quite a pleasant day the wind wasn’t too bad and there was quite a bit of blue in the sky.  I did stop once on the way – to take this picture of these crops getting a fine sprinkling of water. They look a little like onions or leeks or spring onions. This is up near the main road into Wicken (A1123).  I was pretty certain at this point that I would get there on time. Certain enough that I also cut across the A1123 onto High Fen Road and then along the byway (Docking’s Drove) to the NCN11 on Lower Fen Drove and into Wicken and the rear entrance of the Maid’s Head. Which Google Streetview notes as Butt’s Lane.

The pub was really quite large, the service friendly and the food good and a decent pint. If you are interested we both had the Fenman’s “Docky”.  - just the job for a hungry cyclist.

It turns out my friend had struggled to find the right way from Burwell to Wicken – if you aren’t aware what a Sustrans route marker looks like then you can end up following footpaths, which he did and sometimes don’t make for easy cycling. So he joined me on the way back – this time he detoured a little. We both crossed the Reach Lode bridge and then turned down Little Fen Drove to Reach and parted ways at Black Droveway which I turned down.

On the way we did stop so I could get another picture of the clay pit used to supply clay for the bund around “Burwell Fen”.  This is made up of four pictures and I am not sure it was any easier to stitch together than the previous attempt.  The scene does not really have any good features which the program (Photoshop Elements) can use to align the joins.

As I had taken the scenic route back I did have to make reasonable time on the way back home, although there was time to take one picture of some orange poppies growing in the verge on Whiteway Drove near Swaffham Prior.

Well I would certainly go to the Maid’s Head again – it is a pleasant distance from Cambridge on a pleasant route and a friendly pub.

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