Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sneaking off for a ride–the sun was shining

Monday, 19th May 2014: The trouble with working flexible hours is that sometimes weekends get sacrificed. I am not complaining though. I find cycle best when it is pleasantly sunny and not windy. Which means that being able to nip out for a ride, when I feel like it has its distinct advantages. The downside is that life doesn’t have the usual “get up, go to work, come back” clock tick driving it. But I am not complaining.

For a bit of moderately rugged off-road seclusion the Roman Road or Worsted Street is ideal.  Generally the track is good to firm and the land undulates and, surprisingly, it isn’t very busy.  For this ride I joined the Roman Road near Fulbourn, but instead of turning off towards Balsham I carried on to Streetly End. Although the track does become a bridleway and in the wet the hoof prints make for bumpy cycling.

I then cycled along the country lanes to Carlton, before going off-road, intermittently to Wilbraham and then back to Fulbourn.  Here is the Bike Route Toaster link to the map. It is 44Km/28miles in length and rises to a dizzy 121m above sea level – which for these parts is quite high.

Rather surprisingly I saw what looked like an X-Wing Starfighter in the sky in the skies. A “versatile Rebel Alliance Starfighter”.

X-Wing Starfighter above the Cambridgeshire Skies

Here is is in close-up.  It isn’t quite the same. In fact it is a V-22 Osprey. A combination of a helicopter and turboprop plane.  It has two engines mounted on the wings which can tilt upwards to act like a helicopter, but tilt forwards to get the benefits of a plan.  to facilitate the behaviour the props are rather large.

It is used for long-range “Infil” and “Exfil” as part of the U.S. Special Operations Group operated out of Mildenhall.  They can re-fuel inflight and each one costs £43m.  I don’t know whether the engines are synchronised, although according to this and this they are, which is why although each prop has three blades in both cases one blade is in line with the wings.

V-22 Osprey above the Cambridgeshire Skies

Just about to reach the Roman Road from Fulbourn

The Roman Road – great for getting off-road, without being technical

The Bridge over the A11

More Roman Road – it undulates pleasantly

The Roman Road – singletrack?

As you go further east the terrain gets a bit rumpled.

The view from the Roman Road

After the Balsham Turning it becomes more of a grass farm track.

The Roman Road – after Balsham

At the next junction after Balsham it turns from a byway into a bridleway. You can also wash your steed’s wheels in the ford.

The Roman Road crosses a ford

There is also a bridge – which I used – those cobbles look to gnarly for my 25mm tyres.

The Aforementioned Ford

The hills still undulate – look at all those crops growing.

The View from the Roman Road, near Streetly Hall

The Roman Road undulates a bit as well

The Old Linton Water Tower from the Streetly end of the Roman Road

The Wadlow Wind Farm from the Streetly end of the Roman Road

The turn to Streetly Hall – the Roman Road carries straight on (and up)

As you get close to Streetly End and Horseheath the Roman Road becomes a Roman “Pavement” – presumably the soldiers went in single file!

This bit can get a bit soggy and is used as a bridleway by horse riders. I have never actually met horse riders but there are some some hoof prints.

Roman Road Singletrack

There were quite a few air bases dating from World War 2, in this part of the UK, owing to its proximity and relative flatness. RAF Wratting Common was one such base.

Memorial – RAF Wratting Common

St Peter’s Church – Carlton

Roodhall Lane (Carlton end)

River Stour – Ford – Brook Lane

Wadlow Wind Farm – from Brook Lane

The View along Brook Lane

Bridleway to Grange Road

A Fire – Crick’s Farm

Wadlow Wind Farm – again

Approaching Grange Road

There used to be a thick hedgerow along the trackside.

Railway Line Crossing – Westley Bottom

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