Monday, September 17, 2012

Last ride of the month (August) Lodes Way variations

Friday, 31st August 2012:We might not had have a fantastic Summer as far as weather goes, but it wasn’t that bad and although we are fast approaching Autumn (Fall) it is still pretty good for cycling. Although I do rather like the Dutch approach to cycling in the rain – “we are not made of sugar”. See the link for the original Dutch, actually being male I am made of slugs and snails and puppy-dog tails but the girls better watch out if they cycle in the rain.


At this point I don’t know where to start – stuff has been happening out in the Interweb – but it has collected for so long I’ve forgotten why I hung onto it. Normally I only hang onto web snippets when they relate to to my cycling particularly if they they are about somewhere I’ve just cycled.

I also have to get a view of the Posts out otherwise I’ll never catch up. So here goes. This was a POETs day ride and the last ride of the month – so I set off unadventurously toward the Lodes Way and then took a few  byways to vary the route.

Heading out of Lode towards White Fen cars were streaming in for the Lodestar Festival. No problems though they drove along with care. You can see quite a bunch had already turned up to what was reported to be a great event. My son was hoping to go, but had to be out in the fields that weekend.

Lodestar in full swing from Fen Road

And here is the entrance – although there were lots of signs along the way. it appears as a brown dotted line nearly opposite White Fen Drove. There were cars driving through – I just waited for a gap.

Entrance to Lodestar Festival 2012

The last time I cycled this way this field hadn’t been touched – no there was a haystack in it. (Blue skies and white puffy clouds as well.)

Haystack on Lodes Way

As Summer moves to its end we get the berries and conkers. Elderberries (Sambucus?) are definitely out, when I was a lad it was much more usual to see people out picking fruit from the hedgerows. I do still see people blackberrying, but I guess in our time-poor world making jams and marmalades is not so usual. My Mum used to regularly pickle shallots every year and my wife’s Grandma would always give me some LOG Jam.  (Lime, Orange and Grapefruit marmalade – delicious).

Elderberries growing along Lodes Way

one of the hazards of cycling is punctures, especially on some of the out of the way roads which don’t get swept clean by the regular passage of cars. Mind you the cycle lanes that twist and turn through the towns and cities can also be a bit dodgy as they regularly suffer from broken bottles strategically placed.

So, how useful, someone has places a cache of tyres – just in case – along Headlake Drove. Although I don’t think they would fit my bike!

Dumped Tyres on Headlake Drove

This is Headlake Drove, it is not a through road really, although there are routes through. It mainly an access road to the fields. (Of course it is also the route of Lodes Way.)

Headlake Drove (lodes Way)

A view I have taken quite a few times – the view back along Split Drove (which joins with Headlake Drove) from the Reach Lode Bridge.

Reach Lode Bridge

Of course having stopped I can’t resist the standard up and down the Lode shots. I have only included the down picture in this Post though.

The view down Reach Lode from the Reach Lode Bridge

Further long Lodes Way as I approached the footbridge over Burwell Lode I strolled out onto the water and took a picture of the reflection of the bridge. (Which is not strictly accurate, I used the electrically-powered  bridge to give myself a different viewpoint).

Footbridge over Burwell Lode

For a change I went the right way around Wicken Fen and then back along the Maltings Path from Cross Green. Pausing briefly to take a picture of the Windmill in the village – with the sails nicely positioned.

Wicken Village Windmill from the Maltings Path

I then headed back towards Priory Farm, which has yet to appear on the OSM map but is on Priory Drove. Before I got there I stopped to admire the Highland Cattle – this one had its beady eye on me. The ponies have been in the press recently as well. There were a few cattle passing through the “air lock” between the two open areas. A passed a cyclist who decided to wait for them to move on – I cycled through – they were nae bother.

Wicken Fen – Highland Cow

At this time of year you often see random dung heaps appear in the fields – after the crops the soil has to be replenished. Apparently there is not enough animal dung in some parts of the world such as India to go around. Human waste or biosolids is/are used here in the UK although the article suggests it has no smell although this complaint on FixMyStreet would appear to question that. (as would this US report.) According to this article though, we humans have to many heavy metals in us to allow it to be used on Organic Farms.

This looks animal – although it smelt a little human.

Dung ready for ploughing into a field near Wicken Fen

As I cycled towards Burwell on Little Fen Drove having passed the dung on one side there was a load of Maize on the other side. It seems to be doing well.

Maize crops near Wicken Fen

For a complete change I cycled through Burwell via the High Street although some motorist decided that despite my direction having right of way on the Causeway bicycles didn’t count. (the Causeway is a single lane, short stretch of road with priority from my direction.)

I have mentioned the Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway – now disused, more than once. Bits of it are still in evidence around and about – Burwell used to have a Railway Station – this plaque is all there is to show of it now. It marks the entrance – LNER 1884 – 1962 – as was. The is a picture on the Wikipedia link for Burwell Railway Station along with a description here (second page down).

A slightly random link this – but there has been progress on getting the Cambridge to Colchester rail link re-instated.

Plaque marking the Entrance to what was Burwell Railway Station

Across the way from the plaque was a Sustrans signpost – it looks as if there has been a bit of editing taking place.(It used to point out route 11 towards Cambridge via  Reach as well.

Sustrans Signpost after editing – Burwell

I headed back via Reach and then along Black Droveway (a bridleway kinking two 11-51 links as it happens) and then up Whitway Drove to the Lodes Way and back along Lodes Way. I spotted these cans across the fields and wondered whether I would see engineers atop the pylons as reported by The Wicken Fen Vision Warden – but no such luck.

Pylons – not being worked up along Lodes Way

When I reached the Swaffham Bulbeck Lode instead of carrying along Lodes Way I turned down the bridleway alongside the Lode. The going was good to moderate as the grass was quite long. I also picked up a stingle somewhere along the way.

Bulrushes opposite Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

There were some dog walkers who on seeing me yanked their dogs on their leads and moved off into a field – they managed to restrain the dogs from dining on me though. After passing them I pushed my luck ands stopped to take a picture of the skies over Long Meadow. I managed to get away the second time.

Skies over Long Meadow

Have I mentioned the Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway at all – here is a now disused bridge that used to carry it over Swaffham Bulbeck Lode.

Old Railway Bridge over Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

After the bridleway you reach Fen Lane where I turned right down to White Drove Way – there is a lot of name re-use round these parts. A bit of “allotment” style gardening take place in the field along side the White Drive Way – there were some sunflowers doing quite well.

Sunflowers along White Drove Way – Swaffham Bulbeck

For a change I cycled into  Long Meadow and over to Lode via the “footpath”.  The B1102 is not a pleasant road, it is very noisy. At the time I was amused by the way in which the shared-use path had been marked – they must had had lots of cyclists carrying on along the grass – too stupid to realise perhaps.

Sad smile

So helpful pavement markings for cyclists in Long Meadow

And that is it – but for celebs on bikes – Paris Jackson – 4th picture down, a pregnant supermodel (Gisele Bundchen). Nothing to do with cycling – but geeky tattoos – don’t do it is my advice. A rather weird Loo with a view – where the view allows the public to see in.

And finally a whale kite (although it has yet to feature in my blog I rather like kites, but don’t have the opportunity to fly them as much nowadays.).

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