“Boundary Rides” – Two morning rides circling Northampton – Saturday 11th March

Phil L has organised these two rides and writes:

Start: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Brampton Valley Way (BVW)/A5199 crossing near The Windhover, NN6 8AA.  There is a BVW car park just up Brampton Lane.
Distance: 40 miles (brisk), 35 miles (moderate).
Refreshments: Salcey Forest Café

This circuit of Northampton skirts/circles the Borough boundary keeping the Express Lift Tower as our “hub” all morning – taking in Boughton, Moulton, Overstone, the Houghtons and Salcey Forest for an early brunch.  Then we complete the circuit through Quinton, Blisworth, Milton Malsor, Rothersthorpe, Kislingbury and return to BVW.

Brisk ride led by Phil L; moderate ride led by Brian.

Questions?  Phil is on 07867 388592.

Ride report – Brisk ride to Ashby St Ledgers, Sat 8 Oct 2016

Philip Gray led this ride and writes:
Seven riders gathered at Brampton Valley Way on Saturday 8 October in crisp Autumn weather for a brisk ride to Ashby St Ledgers, which turned into something of an “adventure cross” ride – with an unexpected bonus at the end.

Familiar roads took us through Long Buckby, which was busy with other cyclists out enjoying the morning, then north-west to Yelvertoft, and sharp south to Crick, on mainly good roads. After crossing the A5 we wound into historic Ashby St Ledgers and saw the famous room where the Gunpowder Plot reputedly was hatched.

We then followed smaller unclassified roads from Welton to Norton, and the disintegrating road through Dodford Lodge Farm, which involves opening and closing four gates, then slithering along half a mile of deep gravel.

Phil and Milton found this more fun than they could bear, and left us at the A5, mumbling excuses about family engagements… 🙂 The rest of us continued on the pretty but dodgy gated road through Brockhall, as it started to rain.

Pop-up Coffee

Pop-up Coffee

After a further challenging surface from Whilton, we reached Great Brington. Here by serendipity we noticed some bunting and a “Pop-Up Cafe – Cyclists Welcome” sign outside a house, and swiftly agreed to stop. We were received very warmly by the purveyors of Great Brington Coffee who were running this “pop-up cafe” in their garden in aid of Scope. Not only were the coffee and the cakes excellent, but we discovered a shared interest in cycling with other guests, including a group of young women cyclists .

After this well-timed stop, it was a short ride back through Althorp and Church Brampton to the star for a round trip of 38 miles.

Thanks all for your company.

PS I set off afterwards for an extra loop, only for my rear gear cable to snap after a couple of miles – which made for an interesting limp home, with only two gears… At least it didn’t happen on the ride!

Ride report – Sunday 2nd October

Phil J went on this ride led by Ian M and writes:

Seven riders assembled at Brampton Valley Way on a crisp sunny morning for Ian’s ride north to Kilworth.  Milton showed off his new Titanium tourer in stunning silver before we left.  Once we departed, the Brampton climb gave the group a heart thumping start to the morning before we settled into an easy pace.  With time on our side before the first café was due to open, we ambled along without any great urgency and everyone enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere.

The first few miles towards Teeton really undulated.  One quick downhill followed by the uphill equivalent almost immediately keeping the ride interesting but the group together. Horses at the Teeton junction gave the group an impromptu stop before moving on through the village.  Milton tested the tourer on the downhills and it tested him on the uphills.

Creaton passed in a moment and it wasn’t long before we were meandering through the glorious Cottesbrooke estate anticipating the big climb at the end but Ian cleverly avoided that with a left turn through easier terrain.

Naseby beckoned and with a quick u-turn along the way the seven were back on track as we headed passed the majestic All Saints Church in all its splendour in the morning sun. Skirting the Cottesbrooke estate again gave us a bit of respite along flat roads that allowed the group to up the pace towards the first cafe stop at the World Peace Café at the Buddhist Centre.  Right on cue we arrived for elevenses in the tranquil setting with the sun shining perfectly.  Over tea and cake riders revealed how many bikes they owned.  Some going into double figures!

Leaving Kelmarsh there were six, with Milton going his own way home.  The rest of us doubled back and headed up the long haul to Sibbertoft and onto the Welford Road allowing the group to open up a bit on the open roads.  The gliding school alongside giving a lovely backdrop against the sunny skies.  Now Nick left us.  A perfect day for gliding and cycling for that matter!

At the next junction a plane flew low overhead towing a glider on a line on its way to the release altitude.  Perfect timing.

A country lane or two later we approached the urban road of North Kilworth before entering the more picturesque location of South Kilworth soon after and made our way swiftly through.  After Swinford we entered the impressive grounds of Stanford Hall. Roads that were made just for cycling through.  Just walkers and us.  Villages with names like Stanford-on-Avon and Clay Coton summed up the wonderful location we were riding in.  Purely Idyllic.

Wind turbines seemed visible from all angles in the distance and all moving steadily in the breeze.

The Red Lion at Crick was our next port of call and we were accommodated quickly by the friendly staff.  John Cuttler had ridden in and joined us for lunch too.  Roast dinners consumed and pints put away we were soon on our way again for the last leg of the ride.

Leaving Crick we headed for Watford – as in Gap not Watford Herts.  But not before long we were climbing into Long Buckby and out the other side.  A road closure some way along didn’t divert our ride and we breezed through it enjoying closed roads for a while.  Brington church then came into view and the mood changed with thoughts of the climb in mind.  Probably the hardest climb of the day was left to the end but everyone climbed admirably.  The long stretch at Church Brampton was the only rise left to do before turning back the way we had come and the finish at the Windhover.

A great days riding in perfect weather.

Thanks Ian.

Ride report – Saturday 16th April

Rowan, our Ladies Rep, went on this ride and writes:

It was a damp and grey start to the inaugural “moderate” series of cycle rides but that did not stop four riders congregating at the Brampton Valley Way meeting point bedecked in rain legs, overshoes and warm cycling attire.  Brian and I met with two new riders Andrew and Brian (another one!) at the start and were met later at Brixworth by a second Andrew (on a Sully complete with touring kit) who hoped to make this the first of his two CTC rides this weekend!

We cycled steadily, initially through Chapel Brampton and then along the Pitsford Road, over a few “bumps” passing Sedgebrook Hall, towards Harrington in rather damp conditions – but by the time we reached our coffee stop at the Buddhist Centre in Kelmarsh the sun was peeping through and we could appreciate the new spring growth in hedgerows and a myriad of daffadils.  After digesting the centre cafe’s excellent cheese scones and cakes and putting the world to rights, we rode home along a more challenging route, roller-coasting through the Cottesbrooke estate and Creaton, towards Teeton and Holdenby.  By the time we reached the Brampton Valley Way, our final destination, it felt like a different weather day and we rode our separate ways home rather overdressed and hot!

Thanks to Brian for leading the ride and setting the route. I tried out the “Tail End Charlie” job for the first time.  Any feedback would be welcome!

Our next moderate ride is entitled the “Bluebell Ride” and will visit Stowe Dairy Farm Café on Saturday 14th May.  See you there!

Ride report – Easter Monday

Brian, our Rides Secretary, writes:

With Storm Katie hovering in the area it was not surprising that no riders turned up at the Brampton Valley Way for the ride.

At 9.30 a.m. – our start time – it was very wet with strong gusty winds.

True to form our ride leader for the day – Iain D – did turn up to check and was probably relieved to find there were no other riders keen to do battle with the weather.  We had let common sense rule the day!

A big thanks to Iain for turning out in the storm.

Ride to Catthorpe – Easter Monday

Brian, our Rides Secretary, has planned a lovely ride for us this Easter weekend:

Bank Holiday Monday

Start: 9.30 a.m.
Start point: Brampton Valley Way (BVW) – Welford Crossing, NN6 8AA – near “The Windhover” – there is a BVW car park just up Brampton Lane
Distance: 47 miles
Refreshments: Catthorpe (lunch), Whilton Locks (possible tea stop)
Return by 3.00 p.m.

The ride takes us out through Guilsborough, Cold Ashby and Yelvertoft on mainly quiet country roads to Catthorpe (23 miles) for lunch at the Manor Farm Kitchen Café.

We return is via the outskirts of Rugby and through Barby and Norton with a possible tea stop at Whilton Locks.  Then through Great Brington and back to BVW.

Note that this is also the first ride of BRITISH SUMMER TIME this year !

Hope to see you there, Brampton Valley Way, 9.30 a.m. MONDAY morning.

Ride Report – Sunday 17th January

Philip G led this ride and writes:

For some reason, turnout was low today … just two of us.

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At the start of the ride!

We kept to salted roads and enjoyed the strangely unfamiliar snowy landscape.

We had an interesting historical glance around Haselbech churchyard and a welcome coffee (and toasted cheese scones) at Kelmarsh.

In view of the cold and the time, we decided to leave the Welland Valley for another day.

Hardest part, ironically, the was slushy / sludgy Brampton Valley Way (BVW) on way back and so we rejoined the road at Brixworth.

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Leaving the BVW

We didn’t do the full intended route but nonetheless a grand day out with some added challenge.

I’ll try to run the full ride and reveal the secret of Haselbech churchyard, another time.

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Indeed!

Crick Loop – Brisk-ish Ride – Saturday morning 13th June

Ian M will be leading Saturday morning’s ride and writes:

Meet: Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / Welford Road Crossing NN6 8AA (There is a BVW car park just up Brampton Lane)

Start: 9.30 a.m.

Distance: 27 miles

Speed: Brisk-ish (slower than Brisk!) – aiming at 14 mph and happy to achieve 13 mph

Elevenses: The Red Lion in Crick

The route is out via the Harlestones, Great Brington and Long Buckby to Crick; return via West Haddon, Ravensthorpe and East Haddon – here on RideWithGPS.  (For avid fans of OS maps, you’ll need *three* sheets – 140, 141 and 152 – as one mile of the route is on a corner of the Kettering & Corby sheet!)

Quiet roads (apart from three very short sections of the A428) – so quiet that on my recce on Tuesday there were two cows on the gated road just north of Watford village!

Elevenses at The Red Lion in Crick after 14 miles. There’s no teashop or café in the village but the pub opens at 11.00 a.m. and offers coffee and a small selection of cakes. (I had the coffee and walnut.)  If we find we’re going to be early then Mary, the landlady, has offered to open for us at 10.45 a.m. and I’ll phone her from Long Buckby.

We should be back at BVW by 12.30 p.m., allowing for the coffee stop.

Questions?  Contact Ian M on 07960 302095.

Ride Report – Sunday 3rd May

Phil L led this ride and writes:

I think we feared the worst as five of us assembled at the start of the Brampton Valley Way for the start of today’s 50-miler … because the rain came down and didn’t stop for the first hour and a half!  And, OK, this was “billed” as the “Four Reservoirs” ride – but they were supposed to be in view on the horizon, not streaming around our bikes!  Was that set in for the day?

Anyhow, by the time we’d had a welcome coffee at Guilsborough, the skies cleared somewhat and we started to dry off.  So we ticked off Pitsford, Hollowell and Ravensthorpe reservoirs before stopping for brunch at Daventry Country Park and its reservoir.

But the climate still had a short, sharp shower up its sleeve as we headed into Brington!

It was an enjoyable ride – good to see folks again!

Ride Report – Saturday 24th January

Milton, our Secretary, went on this ride led by Phil L and writes:

Five of us met at the Brampton Valley Way start point to be taken by Phil L on one of his legendary brisks!  In fact, because we had a nearly new rider with us, we were able to keep the brakes on Phil as we set off on the route round Northampton clockwise through Boughton and Moulton to Overstone and Ecton.  On through Little Houghton and up the hill at Great Houghton and via Quinton and Preston Deanery to coffee at Salcey Forest café.

We had already lost Eleanor before the cafe (Packing for the great Thailand trip perhaps?  Good luck you two!)  Our new rider decided to get a lift back home from there.  We look forward to your company again, Janne!

We three remainders continued off through Horton towards Kislingbury where Phil G left us to go to the bike shop to try out a new bike.  The remaining Phil, L that is, and I parted at Sixfields to our respective homes.

A cold and icy morning had miraculously turned into a sunny and almost warm day with only the slightest breeze.  As good a cycling day as you get. Good weather, a good route and fine company. What more can you ask for?