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.

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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!!

“Phil’s Hills” – Saturday 26th October – Report

Phil Letts led this ride and writes:

There was a healthy-looking group of seven riders who braved the start of the cold weather for yesterday’s dash round the ‘hills’ out Teeton/Creaton way. It was good to ride with some of the triathletes from Antoinette’s club – hope they come again!

Legs were beginning to ache as we hit the last bank – the short 18% but tough slope at back of Teeton but a coffee stop at Brampton gave us the real ‘hit’ we needed!

“Phil’s Hills” ride on Sat 27th Oct

Phil Letts is leading this popular ride and writes:

Come and join me on Saturday 27th October at 9.30 a.m. at the start of the Brampton Valley Way (near “The Windhover”) for a brisk (category B) club ride.

We’ll ride about 30 miles taking in the Cols de Teeton, Creaton and Haselbech with a coffee stop either at Guilsborough or at Pitsford before we return via the Cols de
Brixworth, Spratton and Teeton.  Home for lunch.

This is a deliberately brisk and hilly ride to stretch those legs for winter!

I’m on 07512 425957.

Ride report – Saturday 7th April

Phil Letts led this ride and writes:

Despite an unpromising grey sky and spats of rain, Philip Gray and I met at the Brampton Valley Way’s Welford Road Crossing (by “The Windhover”)  for this brisk circuit of Northampton.  We were delighted to be joined at the last moment by three new riders: Simon, Graham and Fiona. They had seen the ride advertised in the paper and were attracted by the description as “brisk”.

And brisk it was to with a good steady pace of 15-16 m.p.h. all the way via Kislingbury and Blisworth to Salcey Forest for morning coffee.  Then on via Great Houghton and Ecton to Moulton.  Our new friends departed for their neck of the woods in the Creaton area.

Good to get out and good to ride with some new folks. Let’s hope they come again!

Ride report – Sunday 4th March

Ian Macsporran went on this ride to Kelmarsh and writes:

No “unseasonably clement weather” today.  Just one leader (Brian – many thanks) and one follower (me – I’d sent Brian an email on Friday so I felt I had to turn up!).  We met under the garage canopy in Moulton.  Decided not to go to East Carlton Country Park but only as far as Kelmarsh where we could throw ourselves at the mercy of the Buddhists.

We went the scenic route to Kelmarsh – just over 17 miles.  It rained heavily all the time.  The downhills weren’t all that much fun – just wetter!  We chatted about all sorts of stuff, including camping on glaciers (an achievement of Brian’s; I gathered a lilo makes a reasonable insulator).

The kind Buddhists allowed us in ten minutes before they opened.  This was the dry and warm part of the ride.

When we emerged, it was snowing (it wasn’t lying when it hit the ground) and it kept snowing till we got back to Northampton.

I’ve been playing about with the Endomondo app.  My fingers were so cold by the time we got to Kelmarsh that I tapped the wrong part of the screen.  But our route is recorded as two routes: for out see www.endomondo.com/workouts/40528344 ; for return see www.endomondo.com/workouts/40558604.

It was cold.  And wet.  Even the pure-hearted Sir Galahad would have said, “Bugger this for the Grail!”