Sunday 3rd September – Naseby Figure-of-8

Meeting point: Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / A5099 crossing – near the Windhover.  There is a BVW car park a little way up Brampton Lane.
Meeting time: 9.30 a.m.
Distance: 40 miles
Speed: Tourist speed – with time to stop and stare!
Refreshments: Elevenses, if required, at Kelmarsh Buddhist Centre (18 miles).  Main stop at Naseby Vicarage where we are booked in at 12.30 p.m. / 1.00 p.m. (28 miles)

This Sunday’s ride is a little different in that we will be visiting well-known places but pausing from time to time and trying to appreciate them as if we were seeing them for the first time.
From BVW we will ride via the Harlestones (viewing the Dovecot), Althorp (gazing at the House over the ha-ha), Great Brington (contemplating dead Spencers), East Haddon (the old water pump), Holdenby (considering the fate of kings), Cottesbrooke (the wealth of turkeys) and possibly stopping at Kelmarsh (as described by James in the last ride report).
Then a tour of Clipston, Sibbertoft and Naseby takes us around the viewpoints of the Battle of 1645 before arriving at the Vicarage where we have booked the large and grand table for lunch.
On the return, which is only twelve more miles, we shall inspect “probably the most impressive seventh-century building north of the Alps” at Brixworth before emerging from the country park at Pitsford and returning to our start point via Chapel Brampton.
We should be back by 2.30 p.m.
The reason for this ride’s different pace and approach is that we will have a visitor from Aachen in Germany with us.  Back in 2013, Philip G organised a twinning visit there for CTC Northampton members where we were hosted by ADFC Aachen members.  (The ADFC is the German equivalent of the CTC.)  Eight of us went – and Alex and I were hosted by Sabine Neitzel.  Alex and I stayed with Sabine again last year and now she is visiting Northampton for a long weekend.
Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!
Ian
Questions? 07960 302095

A ride for Max Scott – Thursday 16th April

Everyone is invited to join this ride which will be a special occasion.  Thursday would have been Max’s 79th Birthday and his family are coming up from Suffolk to scatter his ashes along a quiet local lane.

Max Scott

             Max Scott

We will meet from 10.30 a.m. at Waterloo Farm Café, Great Oxendon, LE16 8NB. [Grid Ref SP 740 843]

The Ride will proceed to Great Oxendon turning right up the hill then left to Clipston, through the village to turn towards Kelmarsh, cross over A508 towards Harrington to turn left down the hill towards Arthingworth.  Here we will meet up towards the bottom of the hill by the last clump of trees at noon [Grid Ref SP 754 806].  The family will then conduct the scattering of Max’s ashes. Afterwards we shall proceed through Arthingworth up the hill to Desborough for lunch at the Tapas Grill and Wine Bar.  This is attached to “The Ritz” in Station Road, NN14 2RL. [Grid Ref SP 803 833]

Map of ride route

                       Map of ride route

Richard Daniells has circulated these details as there may be quite a few cyclists who are not regular attendees at Thursday Club rides but who may like to come to pay their last respects to Max in a local quiet spot of the kind that Max enjoyed.

As the Tapas Bar only holds approx 30 people, if a large number turn up there are other eating places locally: “The Bulls Head” Arthingworth and “The Tollmache Arms” at Harrington.

We look forward to seeing you on this special occasion and our last link with one of most loyal supporters of and workers for our pastime.

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.

Ride Report – Sunday 5th January

Ian M went on this ride today and writes:

It was lovely to get back riding with the group today. When we met at the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) / A5199 crossing, the temperature was just above freezing. Although there were occasional slushy bit of ice early on, we were to be very fortunate with the weather. Two leaders (Bill and Brian) marshalled eight riders – including one new rider from Brixworth – and numbers were to fluctuate as there were joiners at Waterloo Farm Café and leavers at Sibbertoft. Bill was leading those who had booked the New Year’s Lunch at Sibbertoft Reading Room; Brian promised to lead home those who hadn’t booked! Rowan made sure that females were represented.

A unanimous vote chose an on-road route to Waterloo Farm. We CTC members don’t seem to like the BVW (well, not in this weather).

Bill took us up through Spratton and Creaton where we left the A5199 to head to Cottesbrooke and Kelmarsh – where we joined the A508 to Great Oxendon and the café. Reasonably sized refreshments were eaten at this point – even by those faced with only a short ride to lunch. Iain D, who joined us at this point, thought that a balmy 36F didn’t merit more than a t-shirt and a hi-via waistcoat – although he did wear long trousers rather than shorts!

Elevenses at Waterloo Farm Café

Elevenses at Waterloo Farm Café

A larger group pedalled after the café, heading via Clipston to Sibbertoft and there we split. Brian kindly made sure there were several more hills for those of us riding home at this point. Naseby, Thornaby, Guilsborough and Holdenby were conquered. The rain – forecast for days – only began between Teeton and Holdenby and then only gently! True to his plan, Brian led us back to our starting point just before 2.00 p.m.

A hearty thank you to Bill and Brian; and personal thanks from me to you all for your splendid company!

Our route is here on RideWithGPS.

Ride Report – Saturday 20th June – Petite Etape de Northants

Brian (our Rides Secretary) went on this ride led by Alex and writes:
On the day the Tour de France covered the same route as this years Etape (successfully completed by our own member Philip Gray two weeks ago) Alex had lined up a hilly route for a brisk morning ride. The challenge was 2600ft and 35 miles. At the end Alex extended the route to just complete a total of  3000ft of ascent according to his GPS logger. A mere trifle compared with real Etape I suspect.
Six riders, including a new CTC member Terry, set out from the Brampton Valley Way / Welford Road meeting place at 9.30 a.m. in cloudy and cool conditions. This lasted throughout the ride and made for very pleasant cycling compared with the previous few days, although potentially the forecast was hot.
The route took us through Holdenby, Spratton and Brixworth in a series of undulations to Cottesbrooke where we had a brief spell on the flat before the long climb up to Haselbach.  Then we pedalled a short stretch to Nasby before turning down to Clipston and then to Kelmarsh. A slight problem was a sign that the road to Kelmarsh was closed over the weekend but we pressed on to find that the reason was a major event at Kelmarsh Hall with a one way system for traffic to its car park. Luckily we were able to walk the short stretch to the A508 and cross to Arthingworth. More hills followed in a loop to Harrington on some very pleasant narrow roads.
Whilst we were bidding farewell to Iain – he left to pedal to Kettering – an elderly gentleman cyclist passed us on his way to a wedding (not his) in Harrington. A drop into Draughton and then up to Lamport Hall before more gentle undulations through Old and Hannington and then the final few hills and a short detour to complete 3000ft of ascent before ending at Moulton.
We arrived at the J Gallery Café in the village at 12.30 p.m. for a welcome cup of tea in the gardens. Alex’s Bianchi kit was much admired by the other customers who were cycling-friendly.

(l to r) David, Alex and Brian in the J Gallery Café garden

(l to r) David, Alex and Brian in the J Gallery Café garden

Many thanks to Alex for planning and leading a very pleasant ride through quiet picturesque Northamptonshire lanes. A route definitely to be recommended.

Ride Report – Sunday 7th April

Brian Tunbridge, our Secretary, led this ride and writes:
Seven riders met at Moulton Co-op for a ride to Braybrooke. Spring must have been in the air as two “best bikes” (Bianchis) were taken out of winter storage. The temperatures were not quite up to normal and there was still snow alongside some of the lanes, but it was sunny and dry.
With a tail wind we set a brisk pace up through Old and Draughton and on to Braybrooke where we crossed the River Jordon before hitting the outskirts of Market Harborough. I’d forgotten just how long the hill up to East Farndon is and that both Clipston and Kelmash each sit on the top of their own hills. However, we made the Nagarjuna Buddhist Centre at Kelmarsh by 11.30am in good time for brunch, only to find at least four other cycling groups had the same idea. Brunch was only coffee and cake with few seats available and we departed for home after only a short stay.
The ride back was into quite a cold breeze which showed that Spring has not yet sprung but it was still good cycling weather.

Brian Tunbridge, our Secretary will be leading this ride and writes:
We meet at 9.30 a.m. at Moulton Co-op for a ride of about 45 miles to Braybrooke and back.
Our route goes via Holcot, Old, Draughton and Harrington to Braybrooke.  We’ll come back via Market Harborough, Clipston, Kelmarsh (brunch), Naseby,  Guilsborough and Brixworth.  Quite hilly,  all on mostly quiet roads.
Could Sunday be the start of the Spring weather?
With only one planned stop for sustenance at the Kelmarsh Naganjuna cafe, please bring a snack as a top up along the way.
More information from Brian on 01604 622073  (or 07722 055149 on the day).

Report on recce for Sunday 17th February ride

I’m glad I left my recce to the last minute.  Today was the nicest biking weather for quite a while.

Start from the Brampton Valley Way near The Windhover at 9.30 a.m.  Elevenses at Waterloo Farm Café.  Lunch at Foxton Locks Inn.  Return to The Windhover.

Out via Holdenby, Spratton, Creaton, Cottesbrooke, Naseby and Clipston to Great Oxendon at the Waterloo Farm Café  .Don’t be alarmed by the A5199 between Spratton and Creaton; we’ll use the dual-use path on the eastern side.

On via East Farndon and Lubeham to Foxton Locks.

Return via Theddingworth, Sibbertoft, Naseby, Guilsborough, Teeton and Holdenby to The Windhover.  There’s a short stretch of A road (the A4304) just before Theddingworth; it’s about ½-a-mile and the only A road on the whole day.

That makes it a very narrow figure-of-eight centered on Naseby.  As I was a history teacher for forty years, I can’t get enough of Naseby.  One of the three most important battles in English history!  (The other two being the Battle of Hastings and the Battle of Britain.)  Riding the area on a bike is a close to seeing the view from 17th-century horseback as you’ll ever get.  You appreciate why, at dawn on the day of the battle, both sides raced to control Naseby church with the view from its spire.  Fairfax’s own view on the ground is magnificent enough!

Some may want to join us at Waterloo Farm.  Some may want to say goodbye at Foxton Locks.  Timings:  if we leave The Windhover at, or shortly after, 9.30 a.m., we’ll reach Waterloo Farm at approximately 11.00 a.m.  A table is booked at Foxton Locks Inn at 12.30 p.m.  If we leave Foxton Locks at, say, 1.30 p.m. then we’ll be back at The Windhover at 3.20 p.m.

If anyone needs afternoon tea, then Seatons at Guilborough will be open and serving hot drinks, although I was given the impression that hot drinks would be from a machine.  Certainly the café space there is much reduced since I last visited.  I got the impression it was under new owners.  We’ll be in Guilsborough at about 2.40 p.m.

Distance: just over 45 miles.  Route on Endomondo here.

Here’s the Foxton Locks Inn’s menu for Sunday.  There’s a range of roasts and Sunday dinners at one end, with filled warm baguettes at the other end.  Today, I had a pint (of very good real ale) and a filled baguette.

IMAG0208and

IMAG0209I hope to see lots of you on Sunday morning!

Ride into Leicestershire – just! (Sunday 17th February)

Ian Macsporran will be leading this ride and writes:

This Sunday’s ride is to the north, just into Leicestershire.

Start from the Brampton Valley Way, near The Windhover, at 9.30 a.m.

Originally, I had intended (and it’s advertised in the rides list as such) to get to Saddington for lunch.  The Queen’s Head, unfortunately, has just been taken over by new management.  Well, that’s not unfortunate; it’s just that they closed their kitchen and are re-opening to serve food next Sunday (24th).  So I’m proposing to make Foxton Locks our lunch stop.

Out via Holdenby, Spratton, Creaton, Cottesbrooke, Naseby and Clipston to elevenses at Waterloo Farm.  (My original plan was for elevenses at Farndon Fields Farm Shop but that was close to Saddington and is just too close to Foxton.)

Return via Sibbertoft, Naseby, Guilsborough, Teeton and Holdenby to our starting point.

About 45 miles.

I should tell you that I’ve still to ride a recce!  Apologies!  I had planned to do it in January – but found the weather and a hectic social life put the kybosh on that.  I had planned again for this Monday or yesterday but I chickened out again for weather-related reasons.  Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and I’m a romantic and so I’m now planning my recce for Friday!  It should be milder!!

[I’m off to London on Saturday to ride my Brompton around London with some like-minded Bromptonauts.]

The BBC website is predicting cloud and sunny intervals for Sunday itself, with temperatures up to 7° which is a little more normal.

Why not join us?

Cyclists New Year’s Lunch – Sibbertoft – ride report

A splendid first ride of the year for CTC Northampton.  Five of us met at the Brampton Valley Way in damp but mild conditions for a ride led by Bill.  Having wished each other a Happy New Year, we went at a brisk but comfortable past north on the A5199 to Creaton and then onto country lanes through Naseby and Clipston before joining the A508 just south of Great Oxendon.  We soon entered the Waterloo Farm café and met up with Max and our friends from CTC Kettering.

After refreshment – bacon sandwiches went down a treat – there were only five more miles to Sibbertoft where an excellent welcome awaited us not only from our CTC Leicestershire friends but also from the ladies of the parish church committee!  This was the annual New Year’s Lunch in the Sibbertoft Village Reading Room.

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This room was erected before the First World War by the local lady of the manor, Elizabeth Mansel of Sulby, in memory of her brothers who were officers in the HIghland Light Infantry and the Durham Light Infantry.  (Sulby Hall was demolished over sixty years ago but the name lives on for students of the English Civil War – the parliamentary dragoons hid behind Sulby Hedges at the start of the Battle of Naseby in 1644 to emerge at a crucial point in the battle.)

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Today her reading room was set out with tables for fifty cyclists to be served lunch by the ladies who are responsible for Sunday afternoon teas in the summer. Brilliant: shepherd’s pie, apple crumble and tea/coffee.  And seconds, too!

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After a lovely lunch, it was a pleasure to cycle home.  Bill led us via Naseby and Cottesbrooke to Brixwoth (and the A508 south to Northampton) but by different lanes so that we completed a figure of eight.  Route here.

And there was a final treat of the day.  At an extensive hedge being layered at the edge of the Cottesbrooke estate we stopped and John gave us an extempore lecture on the craft of hedge layering.  The hedge we studied was typical of the “South Midlands style” and was clearly “bullock-proof”.  We could easily see its advantages over an adjacent hedge which had merely been strimmed.

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Big thanks to Bill for sorting out our route, to Max for reminding us about the event, to the Leicestershire committee for the organisation, and to the Sibbertoft parish ladies for their hospitality!  Splendid!!