Chris Holt led this ride and writes:
Moulton had the bunting out for the 14 who gathered at the start, with Brian, leading the moderates, informing us of the presence of both coffee and a beer tent. Eight started with the brisk, though two dropped back to the moderates, probably because they knew about the café stop.
The route took us north over roads that varied in quality, but overall, fairly quiet, traffic wise. We passed two riders waiting to join the moderates at Old, though I don’t think they had long to wait. From Loddington, we headed through Rothwell towards Pipewell, and past what turns out to be the smallest church in Northamptonshire. Apparently, it was also at Pipewell that the moderates, having made quicker time than expected, considered extending the ride to follow the route taken by the brisks until Graham mentioned the Ashley Alps.
Whilst there were a few stiff climbs on the route, I think it would be safe to call them cheeky rather than vindictive. The A427 contributed a short stretch, fortunately slightly down hill, before we turned off to Middleton. Dropping into the Welland valley, the relatively flat road started to climb upwards towards Ashley, and then climb even higher as we headed towards Wilbarston and the Milking Parlour Café, where we discovered the moderates already gazing in awe as the rolls, cakes, coffees and teas they were being served with. I now understand why Otavio and Geoff swapped to the moderates. The staff at the café were exceptionally accommodating, bringing additional tables and chairs out into the courtyard for us to enjoy more time in the sun.
Fortunately, the route immediately after the café was downhill as we headed south. Skirting Desborough we headed along a short stretch of lightly graveled trail, before tackling Harrington Hill after which we were rewarded by great views over the valley. I think the pace quickened as we headed back to Moulton where the village festival was in full swing.
Overall, a lovely route treating us to stone cottages, fields, red kites, and weather that was just right, even the occasional headwind was not a trouble.