Ride report – Brisk ride in the dark – Saturday 6th December

Milton, our new Secretary, went on this ride and writes:

A hardy band of nine met up at the Brampton Valley Way starting point for Phil G’s 30-mile brisk ride.  He could really have advertised it as icy brisk, as it was certainly that.

We headed out through the Bramptons and thence to Holdenby, Guilsborough and West Haddon by which time the hilly terrain had done for two of us who took the offered short cut to the pub at Great Brington via the beautiful and historic Ashby St Ledgers.  Later Phil would stop the main group there to point out the building in which the gunpowder plot was reputedly hatched.

As the sun sank and our lights went on we came across a couple of lads trying to push their broken-down car up the single track road to Welton to find a safe spot to leave it.  We downed bikes and heaved them to a safe spot before setting off again and starting to wonder if we’d kindly helped a pair of thieves with their booty.  Who can tell?  If they were thieves, they were grateful ones!

By the time we reached Long Buckby it was pitch black and the single track and lonely road to the pub at Great Brington loomed large to those of us with less than adequate lights … me that is.  I stuck to the well endowed in the lighting department as s*** sticks to a shovel and made it through.

We, all nine of us now, had a beer or two in front of a fine open fire and reluctantly, as it was colder than ever and annoyingly still dark, we set off on the final few miles back to our starting point via Harlestone and Church Brampton.

How did I find my first ever night ride? … Bonkers, totally bonkers but much fun.  We all enjoyed it and owe a debt of gratitude to Phil G for leading it.

Ride Report – Leisure Ride – Saturday 25th October

Rowan went on this ride, led by Iain D.  She writes:

Four of us met up at the entrance to the Brampton Valley Way (BVW), near the Windhover pub on Saturday afternoon for what was the last of our summertime rides.

Luckily for us, the sun came out and we enjoyed some very mild, if a little windy, weather as Iain D. led Milton, Dave U. and myself northwards up the BVW path, over loose chippings and through some puddles (eek!) until we hit a beautifully smooth surfaced (in comparison) road towards Creaton village and up the rather steep but scenic hill!

Our ride was rather challenging in terms of ups and downs; certainly it was for me after having a few weeks off from suffering a twisted neck muscle but as we got into the swing of it I would say we might have re-titled our ride “brisk”.

We rode through Creaton, Hollowell, Ravensthorpe, East Haddon and lastly along the Holdenby road towards our refreshment stop, Café Monde, Church Brampton. We went “up hill and down dale” for the whole ride, but I seemed to go up a few gears on the final stretch towards my waiting coffee! Milton left us at this point to go and walk his dog ….

The remaining three of us were very pleased to meet up at our tea stop with John Alcock , who had cycled over from his home in Duston to be with us. Thanks to John we had a great conversation ranging from our shared re-collections of Chesterfield and Worksop to the future of our CTC groups.

Thanks to Iain D for organising this ride and for everyone else’s company.

Ride Report – Leisure Plus Ride 19th July

Milton, another ride leader, went on this ride and writes

On a mild damp day, 7 of us met up for a short 30 mile ride to Kelmarsh Buddhist Centre for coffee and cake via Holcott and Harrington and returned to Moulton by means of  Arthingworth and Scaldwell and not the Brampton Valley Way as first planned. Pouring rain during our tea break meant the BVW surface would be less than good for the bikes, and our esteemed Chairman was, after all, out on his fine Bianchi!

A lovely day, even in the wet, and with three first timers, including the visiting Ken from Morecambe, a good club day.

Ride Report – Harrington Thor Missile Site

Ian M went on this ride, organised by Alex and guided on site by Steve, and writes:

Last night’s ride was from our Brampton Valley Way meeting point out to the old airfield at Harrington. There were seven of us on the ride and others also made their way to Harrington so that ten of us met with Alex’s friend Steve for a guided walk over the remains of the airfield with particular reference to the part it played in the Cold War. Most people associate Harrington with American bombing raids over Germany from 1943 (and also perhaps with the dropping of SOE parachutists into occupied Europe) but few perhaps realise the part the airfield played fifteen years later in the Cold War.

Between 1958 and 1963 (that’s from the launch of Sputnik to the Cuban Missile Crisis – the height of Soviet-American tension), Harrington was the home of one of the UK’s Thor Missile installations. It housed three intermediate range ballistic missiles (with a range capable of reaching Moscow) all tipped with nuclear warheads!

Steve met us at the roadside closest to the main WWII runway. He gave us a short introduction, handed out a site plan of the airfield (which he had drawn himself) together with a collection of contemporary photographs, a map of all the other Thor sites, and cutaway drawings of the southernmost launch site and of a Thor missile.

Paying attention to Steve's description - and to his hand-out

Paying attention to Steve’s description – and to his hand-out

Then, having locked our bikes together out of view of the road, we went on a thorough walk (and a thoroughly entertaining walk) of the site. The southernmost of the three missile launch pads is the one that has crumbled away least and it was here that we spent most time. With a guide like Steve, and with his drawings and photos, it was not at all difficult to imagine the buildings and operations as they were over fifty years ago – albeit now there are just a few ruins of buildings and oddly unremarkable marks of the nuclear front line.

Posts and wire from the security fencing

Posts and wire from the security fencing

But, with our guide, we were able to make out very clearly everything from rusting wire (that had been part of the security fencing) to the erecting and launching pad for a missile (shades of Dr Strangelove!).

At the erecting-launching pad

At the erecting-launching pad

There were the scarely visible paint marks which guided the personnel and the marks of the surveys which were used to aim the nuclear weapons.

We walked past the middle and northernmost launch pads towards the part of the site that had been the US compound – and there, looking for all the world like a prefab garage for a minibus, was the warhead store – a building which for a few years had held three nuclear warheads!

Nuclear warhead store

Nuclear warhead store

We met one or two birdwatchers – and a family from Rothwell who had always lived in the area and who remembered what their parents and grandparents had told them about the site. Then, after a good one-a-half hours at the site, it was time to pedal back to Northampton with the opportunity to carry on our discussions with Steve at The Brampton Halt.

Truly a very memorable evening!

Some of Steve’s work can be seen on the Facebook page of the Harrington Thor Preservation Society which is another treat!

Our route is here on RideWithGPS.

Ride Report – Sunday 1st June

Eleanor went on this ride, led by Ian M, and writes:

Eight of us arrived promptly at the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) near The Windhover for our ride, a loop around Daventry.  One new rider (Ken from Morecambe) who was visiting family in the area joined us.  We set off enjoying blue sky and sunshine – which lasted all day – along familiar and then less-well-known lanes taking in lovely views over a very green countryside.  After our coffee stop at The Willows in Barby, we left on schedule along quiet lanes dotted with gates and cattle grids to negotiate.  Our final obstacle was a flock of sheep we herded along and off into a field before arriving at The Windmill in Badby for lunch.

Eleanor discovers her inner shepherdess

Eleanor discovers her inner shepherdess near Lower Catesby

With the few delays and after a longer lunch we eventually got moving and headed for home.  Four of us split just before Flore, the rest heading back to BVW.  I hope you all arrived safely home and like me enjoy a great day out.

Thanks to Ian M for his time in organizing and leading the ride.

The route is here on RideWithGPS.

 

Ride Report – Beaumanor Rally – Bank Holiday weekend

While some members had a local ride on Saturday afternoon, others attended the Beaumanor Rally organised by CTC East Midlands.  David – a regular at the rally over the past few years – writes:

For the Bank Holiday Weekend – the annual camping rally at Beaumanor Hall in Leicestershire – I travelled by train on Friday from Market Harborough to Loughborough.  After the thirty-minute journey, I negotiated the one way system through the town to be able to cycle to the camp site.  I was the first to set up my tent up in the dry.

Milton Keynes group putting up their tents

Milton Keynes group putting up their tents

Others arrived while I went to Tesco to pick up provisions using the track that goes through woods to Loughborough.  In the evening I joined the CTC Milton Keynes cyclists on a ride out to Rothley Fish and Chip Restaurant. They had done 82 miles that day.

On Saturday I went on the fifty-mile ride.  Just before we left the rain came down and was with us all day.

On the 50-mile ride

On the 50-mile ride

In the evening we enjoyed a slide show on rides around the country from Ian, a CTC Nottingham rider.

Sunday also started of wet but by 10.00 a.m. it had stopped and we had sunshine all day. I went to Bradgate Park and saw the deer and the ruins of Bradgate House and then pushed my bike up a hill to Old John Tower, which looked nice and gave a good view of the area.

Bradgate House

Bradgate House

Old John Tower

Old John Tower

I returned to the campsite and walked around Beamanor taking pictures.

Beaumanor Hall looking imposing. The campsite is in the beautiful grounds.

Beaumanor Hall looking imposing. The campsite is in the beautiful grounds.

Later on we gathered to watch three short films “Jour de Fete”, “A Ride across Cheshire” and “A Day Out”.

On Monday I cycled back to Northampton passing the train on the Brampton Valley Way, just setting off with a plume of smoke from its chimney.

Steam on the Brampton Valley Way on Bank Holiday Monday

Steam on the Brampton Valley Way on Bank Holiday Monday

Ride Report – “La Petite Étape” – Sunday 11th May

Five Cycling – Report written by Nick (Enid Blyton being unavailable)

Five riders made the rendezvous point at the Windhover/BVW to enjoy the delights of this ride led by Alex (Alex, Miriam, Terry, Milton and Nick).  Maybe it would have been more but the previous evening’s weather forecast was not particularly fair.  As it turned out however the rain had cleared, the sun was out and the wind was blowing.  A great day for drying your washing but an even better one for riding a bike!

We set off in good spirits and headed north through Church Brampton before hitting the hills on the roller-coaster roads heading east from Holdenby through Spratton and up to Brixworth.  Happily each of the hills was easily conquered with the large helping hand supplied by the not inconsiderate tail wind.  It was then north and north-east through the picturesque lanes linking Brixworth to Cottesbrooke and Haselbech.  On the hill up to Haselbech we were reminded of the need for caution when riding near horses when an oncoming beast (with rider) was seriously spooked.  Apparently it was something to do with the sight of Milton’s knees!

Onwards to Naseby and then a seriously fast descent in the direction of Clipston (wind-assisted) but then turning south-east to Kelmarsh and Arthingworth.  From here we climbed the Strava Queen of the Mountains section used in Wednesday’s Stage One of the 2014 Women’s Tour of Britain.  At the top, outside the Tollemache Arms pub, we paused for a breather.  It was at this point that we realised that we had actually ridden three of the four Queen of the Mountain stages used on Stages One and Two of the Women’s Tour.  A little bit of messing about with a smart phone and we were ecstatic to discover that all five of us had ridden two of the sections faster than the professional riders on Wednesday and Thursday had.  FANTASTIC – however, just for the record we did it in the opposite direction …..

Not long after Arthingworth it was pay back time; we turned right and headed south and south-west across the flat land of the former aerodrome at Harrington which put us right into the teeth of the gale!!!  Alex was the leader so we all hid behind him.  We took a hilly detour off this road through Draughton – its a strange day when you prefer including a hill to avoid the flat – but it did cheat the wind.

The tightly formed peleton close to Lamport

The tightly formed peleton close to Lamport

Through the villages of Old, Walgrave, Hannington and Holcot before closing on the destination of Moulton.  Terry and Milton peeled off for home whilst those left enjoyed a coffee at the J-Gallery in Moulton before wending our way home.

Game for a laugh!

Game for a laugh!

Grateful thanks to Alex for leading this ride. It lived up to its name and happily, despite the often ominous clouds scudding along, we did not get rained upon.

The route is here on Garmin Connect.

Wishing Phil a speedy recovery!

This morning’s ride was planned by Phil L – “brisk” of course! Phillip G stepped into the leader’s rôle.  We all took time at the start to pose for Phil – and especially in the wave to wish him a speedy recovery!  All the best, Phil!

Riders gather at the start

Riders gather at the start

We pose - looking ready for a "brisk" ride!

We pose – looking ready for a “brisk” ride!

And we wave, "All the best, Phil!"

And we wave, “All the best, Phil!”

Brisk morning ride to Canons Ashby – Saturday 26th April

Phil L originally planned a brisk ride this Saturday.  As he gets better from his accident, we’re grateful that Philip G has volunteered to lead it.  He writes:

This is a “brisk” cycle ride to Canons Ashby.  The aim is to maintain 14-15 mph average with as few stops as possible.  A shorter alternative route will be available for those who want a slower pace.  The route, which includes several hills, is roughly Brampton Valley Way – Althorp – Little Brington – Flore – Weedon – Everdon Stubbs – Sustrans Route 70 (south) to Canons Ashby (teastop).  Then return by Banbury Lane – Pattishall – Kislingbury. Distance 35 miles, return by 1.00 pm.

This should be a varied, enjoyable but slightly demanding route with a nice teastop at 20 miles.  Current weather forecast for Saturday is unsettled with a risk of showers, possibly heavy, 10 – 12 degrees with moderate breeze from the SSE.  So nothing the right clothing won’t deal with!

Road bikes are advised. Meet Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / Welford Road Crossing (NN6 8AA) for a 9.30 a.m. start.  The BVW car park is on Brampton Lane opposite The Windhover.

New riders welcome.

For further information contact Philip on 01604 720522 or philip.g@ctc-northampton.org.uk

Afternoon ride – Saturday 12th April

Iain Dawson, our Rides Secretary, will be leading this ride and writes:

We have a leisurely ride planned, leaving from the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / Welford Road crossing at 2.00 p.m.  (Postcode NN6 8AA; parking at BVW car park up Brampton Lane opposite The Windhover.)  We will cross the dam at Pitsford, tackle part of the BVW and the Gamboro Plantation track to Cottesbrooke.   Then we head back through Creaton and Holdenby to Church Brampton for coffee; then it’s back down the hill to where we started.

Only one significant climb but please note that one of the tracks is unsurfaced so we might all be walking that one (short) rough stretch!

Weather forecast is currently dry so I hope to see you down at the Brampton Valley Way at 2.00 p.m. on Saturday.

Iain is on 07909 992468.