Sunday, August 19, 2012

On and off the Lodes Way

Tuesday, 7th August 2012:  I Am going to have to try and catch up with my posts. I can generally quite easily remember the last few cycle rides and the pictures tend to jog my memory. This set left me guessing so I had to go back to GPS data. (I use a Garmin Edge 650, which records all my rides, when I remember to turn it on.)

The trouble is there have been six other rides since this one. The other issue is that although I am trying to ensure a reasonable bit of mileage per week I am tending to stick with tried and tested routes. Not because I don’t want to get lost, rather because that way i don’t really have to plan them, which saves time.

The Lodes Way tends to form the backbone of many of my rides because it takes me into “wilder countryside”, it is a quiet and generally there is only light traffic  on the road bits. Just as importantly although the Lodes Way is one there and back sort of route between Bottisham and Wicken Fen there are quite a few roads, byways, bridleways and farm tracks that can be used to add a little variation.

This route follows NCN51 up to the Lodes Way, which starts in Bottisham and this time around I followed Lodes Way up to Newnham Drove and then detoured around Burwell and then up Little Fen Drove back onto the Lode Way.  I carried on out of Wicken and then down Way Lane onto the A1123 before turning down to Upware.

After passing through Upware for a change I cycled down Harrison’s Drove down to Headlake Drove and re-joined the Lodes Way.

Wheat ripening in the field, Fen Road, Lode

The weather was pretty good although there were showers around. Once again I seemed to be heading towards the dark clouds.

Dark Clouds along the Lodes Way, near Lode

Mind you the spuds seem to be doing well in the mix of weather we have been having. There seems to have been a lot less irrigation of the fields needed this year compared with last year.

Spuds growing alongside Split Drove

The field alongside Reach Lode Bridge, with the picnic tables had been recently  cut and bailed.

Haymaking alongside Lodes Way

The sky was still pretty dark and at one stage I thought it was going to start raining. The good thing was I had my cycling cape and depending upon the amount of rain there was also the option of sheltering under the bridge.

Lodes Way approaching Reach Lode Bridge

An emergency helicopter flew overhead – “G-CGZD”.  It is an East Anglian Air Ambulance – a Eurocopter EC135P2.

East Anglian Air Ambulance flying along Lodes Way

At this point whilst it wasn’t really raining, but I had stopped to put my cape on I thought I would take a self-portrait.  The good news was because it wasn’t really raining I wouldn’t get my camera wet.  When I got home it seemed like a good candidate for a bit of processing having recently been inspired by a rather nice colour-popped picture picture from the same bench.

A colour-popped self-portrait from the Lodes Way portrait bench

And for comparison the before picture.

A self-portrait alongside the Lodes Way Portrait Bench

As it happened the rain did not come to pass so after that bit of playing I set of again. Just after Priory Farm/Priory Drove I stopped to take a picture across the fields. Although this chap who looked to be heading home after work got his picture taken first.  There was still a few puddles around.

Cyclist heading into Wicken Fen from Priory Drove

And the view down towards Burwell from the same spot – it looks like it rained there – a good job I had not hung around taking picture. (I detoured down Newnham Drove into Burwell and then back along Little Fen Drove).

Rain over Burwell?

I carried along through Wicken and along Lower Road – still a fair few fields to harvest.

Ripening Crops in the field, Lower Road, Wicken

Ely is not that far away, as the crow flies, or that far away along NCN11 through Barway. I did think about popping up but settled for a picture of Ely Cathedral instead.

Ely Cathedral seen from Wicken

As I cycled along the A1123 to the Upware Road I was amazed by how much room the passing cars and vans and lorries were giving me. It is a fast road and “connects” St Ives/Huntingdon with Ely/Newmarket, sort of. I did wonder whether it was the Olympic effect. There has been a bit of press about the UK’s cycling success and also a few pictures showing cycling crashes on during the road races. I wonder if that brought it home that bicycles only have a tenuous grip of the road and are best avoided.

For a change I cycled down Harrison’s Drove, which starts of as tarmac but in places turns to islands of tarmac surrounded by loose gravel.  There is often a pile of carrots here. Perhaps I should have colour-popped this as well.

A pile of carrots alongside Harrison’s Drove

This is Harrison’s Drove just by that pile of carrots, The dark rain clouds have gone and I seem to be managing to dodge the rain as well. Although the puddles look recent. This but is where the good tarmac surface stars to run out.

Harrison’s Drove – near Upware

As I approached the turn-off towards Headlake Drove I discovered the source of the Nile beetroot. I haven’t seen so much growing in the fields recently – but here was a field being dug.

Beetroot alongside Harrison’s Drove

Although you often see fields completely weed free – there are some farmers who choose not to use chemicals. Well I assume so. This field was fallow last year, I seem to remember. This year it seems to have quite a chunk of weed – in fact more weed than wheat on the lower half.

Low-intensity Farming? Lodes Way, near White Fen

And finally the last picture getting my head down to hurry home to avoid any showers – Bottisham and Lode Railway Station. The station closed in 1962 having originally been called Bottisham Station. Here is a picture from the other end. Whilst looking up information on the web it turns out there were brick kilns nearby (now part of Anglesey Abbey) which must have used the railway.

And the good news I didn’t get wet.

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