Sunday, February 17, 2013

Poet’s Day - yahay

Friday, 15th February 2013: After yesterday’s ride I noticed two three things – my goodness me I felt pretty tired in the evening. I like a hot soak in the tub after a long ride – and in this case after a short ride as well. I could quite easily have fallen asleep – but didn’t. The second thing was it was a pleasant weariness – the sort that invites you to pleasant dreams when you go to bed. The last thing was I didn’t feel too bad in the morning.

Now there are some folk who probably wonder why I sometimes mention motivation when it comes to getting out for a ride.  Sometimes you need a reason to ride – afterwards you wonder why. For me cycling provides a combination of things, from transport through to physical peace and from doing my bit for the world through to saving a few pennies. Not necessarily in that order and frankly they change on a daily basis.

Now I haven’t been getting out on my bike that much in January. I don’t count my daily ride to the shops as anything more than a brief leg-stretch – although I still enjoy that early morning ride. Working from home theoretically throws up more time but much of that has been spent trying to get my computer sorted. Frankly the weather has also been a bit changeable.

As I have gotten older I seem to have gotten worse at selecting the right cycling gear – my brain knows that less is generally better, my heart makes me put on too much and I tend to overheat. Only when the weather stays constant do I settle on a sensible selection. The good news is that this was a day like the day before – a day when shorts are just right for cycling. Now I don’t tend to look at winter and go all miserable – although it was something that my Dad suffered from. What I do notice though is that there is an extra bounce in my pedals when Spring looks like it is springing.

So with Snowdrops and Aconites in flower and the knowledge that whilst I was unfit, my old bones were still capable of recovering overnight it just had to get out for a POET’s ride.

The sun is out it’s time to rove
I’ll head off down to White Fen Drove

Sorry, that was a bit corny, however despite the fact that I have been cycling around these parts many times it is still uplifting to be out in the fresh air with the weekend ahead. Although it was also going to be a busy weekend and the weekly shopping had to be done in the evening.

The only downers were that there has been so much water and so much of it is still lying that I have become a little conservative in  my choice of riding routes. Alright very conservative.  So for a change I cycled to Wicken via Upware and then back via Burwell and then the Lodes Way. I wish there was an alternative route to the Lodes Way rather than only along NCN51 to Bottisham. I rather like the old railway line behind Anglesey Abbey – but I  reckon that it will be rather muddy. The road between Quy and Lode is far too unpleasant and I tend to avoid it at all costs.

As you can see blue skies – lovely.

White Fen Drove (part of the Lodes Way)

Near Upware I noticed that this place was on the market again – I guess Spring is a good time to sell.

Chapel Farm for Sale, near Upware

Although the land rises slightly after passing through Upware and getting close to the A1123 it would seem that the water-logging has called for a bit of action. The farmer has cut a drain along the edge of the field and as you can see it has already filled with water.

Newly cut drain – a field near Dimmock’s Cote Road

The left spur doesn’t go right into the field, the right spur does seems to have been dug along the entire edge of the field.

Newly cut drain – a field near Dimmock’s Cote Road

After passing through Wicken and then down the entrance into Wicken Fen I was amazed at how many cars were in the car park – it looked full. A good sign for the NT but not such a good sign when you want to cycle through. It struck me that pedestrians can’t really view cyclists as that dangerous – well judging by the way they resolutely carried on walking and blocking the paths. Fortunately it seems that many of the visitors are fair-weather walkers and don’t venture far along the beaten track (that is NCN51). So the hold-ups don’t last long.

This is the Maltings path which become Priory Drove. In this case looking back towards Wicken. There is a lot of water lying in the fields this year. it used to be an open path – but was turned into a walkers corridor.

The Maltings Path  - Wicken Fen

As you can see the amount of rain/snow we have had has also made things difficult for operations on Wicken Fen. I think that the notice mentioned something about mending/replacing fences on the Guinea Hall Farm part of the area.

Is it me or has the Wicken Fen website been altered? It seems that the Wicken Fen website has been hacked down and the NT’s website is missing a lode load of stuff. They might know how to look after property and land – they ain’t so good at the internet.

The Wicken Fen vision no longer appears on the front page of – what is there has been “streamlined” and some of the links fail. I am sorry NT – but 3/10 for your web presence – I reckon you focus on the productions values too much and not enough on making the information clearly available.

Here is the Lodes Way Leaflet (pdf) if you are interested – with a map! Ah here is a map on the NT site (pdf) -  as it happens I have eaten (and drunk beer) in quite a few of the places mentioned.  They have also put in a few more cycle routes – well done. Is it just me or does this shift in information feel a bit too corporate?

Muddy paths – Wicken Fen

On my way back I cycled into Burwell and then back up Newnham Drove – a combination of the Village Explorer cycle route and the Wildlife Watching Cycle Route!  Newnham Drove is the bounce you fillings out route as well.

When I go back onto the Lodes Way I stopped to take a picture of the pit left behind by the creation of the Bund. It must have been wet – look how much water is in it.

I took the picture standing on one of the gates in the airlock.

Burwell Fen borrow pit -  filling up

I have also not invested in a 3D camera – these are multi-exposure pictures and I wobbled whilst perched on the gate taking the picture – it does look a little as if the lettering on the sign is coming out to meet you.

Newnham drove/ Lodes Way

There is quite a lot of ditching going on – when I cycled past on the way out there were two cutters – now there was one.

Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

As I cycled into Lode for the last leg of the journey – there were miracles coming down from the sky (as my son used to call them).

Sunbeams near Lode

If I was tired yesterday – I was even more tired today – but roll on Spring is all I can say.

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