Monday, June 3, 2013

Stretching my Legs on a Sunday

Sunday, 19th May 2013: After  a brief stay up in Scotland it feels as if I have driven thousands of miles. Whereas it was just less than a thousand and the journey was pretty straightforward both ways with little congestion. The weather was also pretty good except for around the Durham area on the way back and that wasn’t too bad.

So after getting chores sorted in the morning I felt I had to get out and stretch my legs.  Unfortunately I missed the sun, but the weather was quite warm enough for cycling, and more importantly it wasn’t windy or rainy.

I stuck to a usual route for a Sunday ride – one that I like because it is away from traffic and helps me catch up with the week’s radio podcasts – concluding The Archers. It appears that Ambridge Extra is returning on July 2 as well. (The soap’s editor has also been “forced to deny deliberately sensationalising storylines”. I know that some people moan about cyclists listening to music/radio on headphones – although strangely enough the more you pay for a car the less can hear as the sound-proofing increases. No one worries about that though. Although it seems that bogus whiplash injuries are a £1billion-a-year racket is still around. (One driver made 17 whiplash claims in just eight years – but a prang with a bus turned out to be bogus and so an enquiry was instigated into the previous accidents.

So for my Sunday cycle I went around Low Fen Drove Way, across the fields from Horningsea to Lode and then along Lodes Way and back.

The chrome yellow oil seed rape fields do help to brighten up an otherwise grey day.

Yellow Fields below the bridge over the A14

At this time of year the Bluebells are also appearing.

Hyacinthoides non-scripta

As a cycled around Low Fen Drove Way there might be no noisy road vehicles (usually) but you do get traffic in and out of Cambridge Airport.  This helicopter looks like a Robinson R44.  Here is a used one for £135,000 plus VAT, here is the brochure if you are thinking of one.) It amazes me just how varied the price of a helicopter is.  Perhaps the Police force could get a cheaper one like this, as apparently the “drop in police helicopter use ‘helps criminals’” here in the flatlands.  Our force now shares a helicopter, ostensibly to save money, of the order of £500,000 a year.

R44 flying into Cambridge Airport

The oil seed rape alongside the Low Fen Drove Way as it approaches the Horningsea Road was looking pretty good. Although apparently the plant’s canopy spreads to take advantage of the available space around it. So my untrained eye isn’t able to assess possible yields. The coverage looks pretty good though.

Oil Seed Rape – alongside Low Fen Drove Way

After a short ride on the cycleway (a loose term in the UK)  to Horningsea and then through Horningsea on the road (past Ben Hayward cycles) I headed back along a byway that used to be called Hundred Acres Road towards Lode.

There are a few fields out here with Oil Seed Rape growing. The tree in the hedgerow is not looking too healthy.

Oil Seed Rape along Hundred Acres Road – Horningsea

At the spot where the Drove Way and the line of the old Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway line cross a tree had come down. It looks like an old Oak. We have had some fairly strong winds recently. (The 18th of April according to Cambridge DTG.)

Fallen Oak – The Drove Way, near Quy

This is the view looking back along the route of the old railway line.  If you look past the gate the next line of hedges is where Quy Station used to be. (Here is what it looked like in 1973 and 1969.)

The trunk is scorched, which made me wonder whether it was hit by lightning or did someone try to burn it?

Fallen Oak – The Drove Way, near Quy

The line of the railway line looking towards Lode.  (A picture of the Bottisham and Lode Railway station – derelict and with railway tracks still in place.)

Route of the Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway Line (Near Anglesey Abbey)

Although we have had some wind, the last few days has been pretty still – which is why the blossom as formed a small carpet (rug) across the track.

Route of the Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway Line (Near Anglesey Abbey)

It seems that potatoes will be on the menu around the Flatlands, well judging by the number of fields were potatoes are being planted. These seed potatoes were parked near White Fen.  Apparently Highflyer Farms are one of the largest individual potato producers in the UK. They have a pack house at Sutton Gault, near Sutton. You can learn to fly a Microlight near there as well.

Seed potatoes – ready to go – White Fen

This is the field – ready and waiting – I assume. Or perhaps the potatoes have been planted here and the remaining crates will be going in other fields? The ridges do look well defined in this field.

A potato field to be – White Fen

I cycled through White Fen and stopped on the bridge over Swaffham Bulbeck Lode to take a picture of two. Conveniently two cyclists appeared in view.  All in all I reckoned that I saw over 70 cyclists around the Lodes Way area. This place is attracting cyclists.

Cyclists on White Fen

The obligatory picture of Swaffham Bulbeck Lode – higher than the surrounding fields. It was pretty still as you can see from the reflection of the tree.

Swaffham Bulbeck Lode – Lodes Way

This is the road into Burwell, I sometimes detour through Burwell and then back onto the Lodes Way via Newnham Drove.

There were to things that caught my eye – the verges have been trimmed and look how quickly the Cow Parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) appears. It is not to be confused with giant cow parsley which is poisonous  with sap that can burn the skin.

Cow Parsley – Little Fend Drove – heading to Burwell

I have rabbited on about cows having had a herd “stampede” past me on Stourbridge Common.  The consequences can be serious. In this case a man was killed as he walked his dogs through a field with cows.

On the subject of Stourbridge Common – good news the Council have removed the rattling strips on the bridge under the railway line.  I wonder if they will do the same on the bridge up near Swaffham Bulbeck.

And finally some pictures – UFOs over the Forth. Not that I saw any when I was there.  Some amazing pictures of Iran and how not to park your Land Road Discovery.

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