Friday, June 22, 2012

A Cambridge Soham Loop and more experiments with my close-up filter

Wednesday, 13th June 2012: This was half-term week so I had some time off, which also meant that when activities like shopping reared its head I made my excuses and went for a cycle ride. This is a route I’ve taken before. I basically follow NCN 51 to Burwell and then as much off-road as I can to Soham. There is also a delightful, when dry track from Soham to Wicken. Then I tend to follow the Lodes Way back.

Here is the Bike Route Toaster link to the route. The second picture down is a map of the route which is around 58Km / 36 miles in length. depending upon the weather it can be a bit wet in places. Although as I have mentioned before we don’t need to many dry and windy days here in the Fens to dry the mud out again.

I think that these pictures of Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris) were taken up near Quy. Just after NCN 51 runs through the tunnel there is a road to the Quy Mill Hotel that also doubles as the NCN 51 route. There are quite a few poppies out there as well.  I was having another go with my close-up filter.

Actually I think this is without the close-up filter.

Common Mallow

And here is the map of the route (and if you missed it the first time here is the link to the map.) I forgot to mention earlier, there are road closures for the laying of a 33Kv cable in the village of Burwell at the moment.

Map of my ride form Cambridge to Soham and back

This is a close-up and what I should have done is pay a bit more attention to a better specimen of flower – but you get the picture.  It was quite bright so I was also able to use quite a small aperture to improve the depth of field to get more of the flower in focus.

Common Mallow taken with a close-up filter

This was a different flower, same species taken at more of an angle.

Common Mallow taken with a close-up filter

It was an uneventful ride along NCN 51 through to Burwell. This time I detoured around the road works along Weirs Drove and carried along NCN 51 and then turned of down a loop round the church in Burwell. Although I cycled along Low Road and re-joined the 11-51 link on Hythe Lane. This time instead of cycling up Dyson’s Drove to Wicken Fen I carried along North Street to Broads Road. Mind you North Street was also “closed” except for access.

You do end up cycling past the local Sewage Treatment Works – although there seemed to be some works taking place there as well. I also took a picture of this AWACs plane flying overhead.

Airborne early warning and control over Burwell

As you reach Broads Farm you reach the end of the road, where it turns into a muddy farm track. (It is a byway – 35/4 on the CCC rights of way on-line map). Here is the track, with Burwell Lode somewhere off to the left (or Catch Water drain on another map). It was another of those grey days – although the countryside was lush and green. The track as fairly dry – a bit of care was needed to avoid following ruts that got too deep.

Broads Road byway, Burwell, heading towards Ness Farm

And this was the view looking back the way I had come from Burwell.  This end was slightly wetter.

Broads Road byway, looking towards Burwell

As you can tell I seemed to be taking quite a few picture from the same spot. Well that was because I had hit the rush hour in these parts and was waiting for a tractor towing a spray that was coming down the track.

Tractor coming down the Broads Road byway, Burwell

This is yet another picture taken from the same spot – that track to the left of the picture is the route of a footpath (35/5) heading North in  this OSM map link. It might be worth exploring as it would cut out the B1102 between on this route between Burwell and Soham.

Footpath leading to Block Road from the Broads Road byway, Burwell

This time I had my camera out and to hand, as I was waiting for the tractor to pass so I also got a closer picture of the AWACS plane – this was flying under the NATO designation. (I got a nice wave from the farmer as he drove past by the way) It can’t be much fun driving along the byway towing a trailer. That implies that this is probably a Boeing E-3 Sentry. Apparently NATO took delivery of 18 of these planes.

NATO – Boeing E-3 sentry above the skies of Burwell

After passing between Ness Farm and Tollgate Farm I headed up the B1102 towards Fordham for a short distance before turning off along Cockpen Road. This just about reaches the new Fordham bypass but fortunately (for the cyclist) you can cycle along Larkhall road and then along a byway (205/98) to Soham.

This is the bit just before reaching the Fordham bypass – I rather liked the oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) growing in the verge.

Oxeye daisies along Larkhall Road, near Fordham

I passed another tractor on the bit of the byway just before Soham. After passing through Soham I headed down Mill Drove after crossing Soham Lode (at Horse Bridge) and then the railway line to Ely.

I then turned off along Bracks drove (another byway), I was a bit worried that this would be unpleasantly wet and muddy – it wasn’t, although in places it as fairly wet. It is a fairly narrow byway with a tack more or less down the middle and at the Soham end bricks to lift the bit you walk on out of the mud.

Bracks drove (byway) Soham

I have a bad habit when taking pictures, I rarely check them to see how they come out. I could claim that it is because I am so used to taking pictures with film cameras where you didn’t get to see you pictures until they were processed and printed. That would be an excuse, it is just laziness really. If I had checked I might have realised that this one picture I took s not actually focused on the flower. (It was taken with a close-up lens.) I am still pretty sure it is Common Vetch (Vicia sativa) though.

Common Vetch growing in the hedgerow along Bracks drove

There was also loads of Dog Rose (Rosa canina) growing along the hedgerows as well – for some reason I took more pictures of these and some of them turned out ok.  I rather like the delicate paper-thin petals.

A Dog Rose flower growing in the hedgerow along Bracks drove

The flowers vary from white to deep pink.

A Dog Rose flower growing in the hedgerow along Bracks drove

Another shot of the last flower, closer and with a reasonably small aperture to get a decent depth of field.

A Dog Rose flower growing in the hedgerow along Bracks drove

After that I took a slightly different route through Wicken, coming out along the line of the Electricity Pylons on Church road.  I then took the Maltings path rather than the main entrance to Wicken Fen.  (You turn off down Cross Green.)

This is the view across towards Wicken Fen from the Maltings path at the top near the village. The sun had made it through the clouds.

Sun shining on Wicken Fen, Maltings Path

At the spot where the path meets Monk’s Lode (and turns into New River) there is a bridge – this is Monk’s Lode form the bridge.

Monk’s Lode, Wicken Fen

After that it was a pleasant ride along Lodes Way – although I couldn’t make it over the Reach lode bridge without taking some pictures. When the land is flat there are few vantage points and so the bridges do provide a bit of height.

Lily pads in Reach Lode (from Reach lode Bridge)

Another picture form the bridge – more water lilies.

Water Lilies in Reach Lode (from Reach lode Bridge)

These looked a little like Pacman men in a black liquid. They also looked somewhat like  what I though were called Ammonites but aren’t. However using the power of the Internet, rather than my less powerful memory, I can see I meant to say Trilobites.

Lily pads in Reach Lode (from Reach lode Bridge)

It was the reflections of the stalks that made me (yes made me) take this picture. It didn't turn out quite as I hoped. Perhaps I really ought to check the pictures I take when I take them. Otherwise what’s the pint of having a digital camera.  Well one point is that I can and do take  in the high10,000s of picture – way more than I could ever afford when I was younger and using a 35mm film camera.

Lily pads in Reach Lode (from Reach lode Bridge)

On a good day this ride is rather pleasant – coming back on the Lodes Way helps to make it more of an off-road most of the way route.

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