Friday, August 16, 2013

A Sunny, Saturday, Soham Quy loop

Saturday, 20th July 2013: Actually is was a Quy, Soham loop but that wasn’t as alliterative. I took my 100mm – 300mm lens with me, for a change. My Lumix has a smaller sensor and so that rule of thumb, I use is that the lens is equivalent to a 200mm – 600mm lens on a 35mm camera. Why – well I began to wonder when an photography article suggested that the difference between an APS sensor and a 35mm full size sensor was not as great. So I checked –  my Lumix camera is a four thirds system and Picasa was right.

It is good to see things with a different perspective, although I have to keep reminding myself how different the lens is when taking pictures compared to the 14-140mm lens that I normally use.

This ride evolved as I cycled. as I reached Quy I decided to cycle via the route of the old Cambridge to Mildenhall railway line into Lode and then I followed the Lodes Way and it was so pleasant that I carried on into Soham.

Walkers on the route of the Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway Line

Here is a map of my route. The yellow bits are off-road/away from road bits. The bit between Wicken and Soham needs care – the mud path is long and quite wide cracks that need to be avoided. The route is a little over 40Km in length and flat. Here is the Bike Route Toaster Link.

Unlike previous days it wasn’t sunny or very warm – it was still a very pleasant ride though.

Quy – Soham Loop

I find the longer lens requires a bit of practice and it is more prone to shaking and I tend to take fewer bracketed pictures (a sequence of 7 exposures). The dry weather is not really letting up and so a fair bit of irrigation is going on.

Irrigation reels – While Fen Drove

The potatoes are nicely in flower.

Irrigation – White Fen Droves

Just before I reached White Fen my plan was to turn left and cycle up the track (footpath) to Commissioners’ Drain. I was a little surprised to find four cyclists coming down the track from Commissioners’ Drain, one was pushing but the rest were cycling. They were lost, I think they had made their way over from Waterbeach and were trying to get onto Lodes Way. So I did my good deed for the day and pointed them in the right direction.

The OSM map shows that route as being under development. The problem is the Map Key doesn’t seem to show it as such.  (Nor does the CycleStreets version.) So perhaps they got a bit confused.

Still I put them on the right track, which once you are on it has regular blue signs. I used to carry a few Lodes Way maps with me (courtesy of MikeC) to give to lost souls, however since switching to my smaller saddlebag I don’t have so much space. I must stick one on the rack. I forget that the flat fens can me quite difficult to navigate once you venture of the beaten path.

Lost cyclists emerging from the undergrowth

I carried on up to the Drain and took a picture looing along it from the wooden footbridge.  It is looking quite lush.

Commissioners’ Drain

I also remembered to take this picture before getting too close. This was either taken near the drain or near Swaffham Bulbeck Lode. It is Rosebay Willowherb (Epilobium angustifolium or Fireweed or Chamerion angustifolium).

Rosebay Willowherb

As I was taking pictures a chap went by on a ‘bent or recumbent bicycle.  I have thought about it before – but they do look just a little top heavy, I suppose because the legs of more or less horizontal rather than vertical. It looks comfortable though.

Recumbent on Lodes Way

As I caught him up I would stop and take a picture – this is heading towards Reach Lode Bridge.  True country6 lanes have grass growing out of them.

Recumbent on Split Drove

Whilst stopped I took another picture of another potato field being irrigated.

Potatoes being irrigated along Split Drove

The Sustrans Portrait bench (and picnic tables) often see picnickers.

Reach Lode Portrait Bench

As the Reach Lode Bridge makes for a good vantage point it took some pictures.

Reach Lode

Lilies on Reach Lode

I rather like this way the growth around the paths tends to disguise them – the ‘bent looks as it if is sailing on a sea of grass (almost).

The same Recumbent along Burwell Fen

Another stop a the Burwell Lode Footbridge – a bit of wild mooring.

Wild Mooring – Burwell Lode

At first I couldn’t quite work out where I was when I took this picture – it is looking back along Monk’s Lode towards Priory Farm and the “CockUp” bridge next the the Burwell Lode footbridge.

Monk’s Lode

having gotten this far I was enjoying my ride so much I carried on down Drury Lane (Wicken, not London). This carries on a byway called Drove Lane, then a bridleway and then another byway – Bracks Drove. It is a much more pleasant way to get between Wicken and Soham than the road. Although it can be a bit bumpy.

With all the dry weather large cracks had opened up along the length of the route.  With the grass disguising them you have to be careful – it would be very easy to get you wheel jammed in one of these cracks. (They mostly occur on the bridleway bit in the middle.)

Large cracks on the bridleway between Soham and Wicken

They carry all along the path – but the grass does a good job of hiding them. In case you were wondering how I took this picture with my long lens, I didn’t. I used my Galaxy S4. It is pretty convenient. I did thin that it was pretty poor in bright sunlight. I could barely see the screen. Although it turns out I had accidentally turned the automatic backlight boost off.

Large and Long cracks on the bridleway between Soham and Wicken

This is Bracks Lane seen from the Soham end. It is not uncommon to see electricity poles running alongside  semi-remote byways. I suppose they do make it easier for them to be maintained.

And finally – another dangerous cow – this one is in Ely and it has form.  New York from the air.

And celebs on bikes – Olivia Wilde, Ruby Maguire (6 year-old daughter of a former Spiderman)

And really finally – the Dead Sea of Pamir.

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