Friday, November 23, 2012

Lodes Way–delay/detour

Friday 26th October 2012: Note to self – must try harder, I am still behind on my posting and can’t seem to distinguish between ranting (about how unjust the world is to cyclists) and raving (how nice it is to cycle).

So I will cut down on too many words for the time being and try and catch up – (how many times have I said that!).

After returning to gloomy and grey Cambridge I had to catch up on stuff but had arranged to meet a friend for lunch at the Maid's Head in Wicken. Chosen because it was a place we could both cycle to. As per usual I was late setting off, but reckoned with a bit of willpower I would get there on time by cycling a bit faster. Unfortunately the wind was against me so I ended up having to use a lot of willpower. .

As  usual I went the Lodes Way way and things were going well as I reached Burwell Lode, just before Wicken Fen my heart dropped. There seemed to be a cycle way closure. At this point I thought that would mean heading back towards Newnham Drove and detouring through Burwell. You might laugh but detours rarely take the needs of cyclists into account. Fortunately this was different, The detour was “just” for a 100m of so along the bank of Burwell Lode up to the footbridge.

Well all I can say is it nearly broke me, having pushed hard to make up time the extra effort to cycle along a somewhat soggy bank was almost too much. It both slowed me right down and had me puffing worse than a steam train.

The good news was that my friend had also taken fallen foul of the detour route, although he could have taken the road in from Burwell and so we both got delayed and so honours were even. That lunch (and the pint with it) were most welcome – we both had a sandwich – Bacon, black pudding & fried egg – delicious.

Because of my late arrival I didn’t stop at all on the way to take pictures – these were taken on the way home.

So what is happening – well this is preparation work for the bridge that is to be built to better accommodate cyclists and animals.  There is some money available (from Sustrans) to start construction of the first part of the ramp which will act as a viewing point over the fen until they “secure” funding for the rest of the bridge.

Constructors’ Car park on Little Fen Drove (next to Burwell Lode)

Quite a lot of digging had taken place in the time I had been away. One of the pits is a search for clay and then there is also the diversion of a drain.

Earthworks on Burwell Lode

This is a “panoramic” picture the track on either edge is in fact a straight track, but the way I have stitched the picture together makes it look like a right angle.

Earthworks on Burwell Lode

A plaque to inform walkers and cyclists of the plans.

Earthworks on Burwell Lode

The existing path from the bank to the Lodes Way track is closed whilst the ditch diversions take place.

Earthworks on Burwell Lode

As I was taking pictures a couple of cyclists went by, well one stopped and had a chat actually. We then played tag all the way back to Lode. I would stop and take a picture and then overtake them, then stop take a picture.

Cyclists on Lodes Way

I had stopped at the point the detour re-joined the Lodes Way proper. There is quite a steep section from the top of the bank down to the cycle way level – it can be tricky when wet and with a bike. There were four earth movers/diggers in action.

Earthworks on Burwell Lode

I did stop on Reach Lode bridge – to get a picture of the last of the summer leaves before they drop.

Reach Lode – tree reflection

Of course I stopped and the two cyclists passed me. They had driven to Lode and parked up and cycled the Lodes Way – they wanted a traffic free day – personally I would like all days to be traffic free.  It turns out that the purple-coated cyclist had a bit of a handicap her rear tyre was somewhat flat and getting flatter.

Cyclists heading of Reach Lode Bridge on Lodes Way

Do people have a clear-out just before Christmas to make room for new stuff?  It does seem to be seasonal this fly-tipping. I still reckon it would have been just as easy to take it to Butt Lane tip Milton Recycling Centre than drive out to Headlake Drove.

Fly-tipping on Headlake Drove (Lodes Way)

I was also surprised to see potatoes being lifted – I am not sure why – but I thought it might have happened earlier in the year last year.

Lifting Potatoes along the Lodes Way

This is a no-name road along Lodes Way just before reaching Swaffham Bulbeck Lode. The last time I cycled this way there was a gurt big haystack. It looks as if all the rain we’ve been having made taking it away quite a challenge.  It also means that cyclists need to take a little care – the peaty mud can be quite slippery. Coming the other way you run down a slop and turn right through ninety degrees – so even more care is need.

Haystack, What Haystack – Lodes Way near Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

Whilst some fly-tip others use the time to do a bit of regular bank maintenance – it is an on-going activity keeping the drainage systems up to scratch.

Swaffham Bulbeck Lode: bank maintenance

The trees are also looking much more autumnal than the last time I came this way (before my hols).

Autumn Leaves – White Fen Drove (Lodes Way)

After a couple of weeks not cycling I felt pretty tired when I got home – still it was Friday there was the weekend to recover.

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