We have two different perspectives on last Sunday’s ride to Rutland.
Following a request by email 7 riders assembled early at Moulton and we made a prompt start at 9.30am heading off north towards East Carlton Country Park for the coffee stop. The weather was fine and sunny with autumnal temperatures. However, within the first hour we were all stripping off layers as the temperature rose to a very pleasant summer’s day, just great for being out on a bike.
Phil L was only out for the morning but as he peeled off we were joined by John C as we approached the Country Park for coffee, where we sat outside enjoying the sun.
A long downhill sweep took us into the valley, past Eyebrook Reservoir and on to the caravan site of Sweet Hedges where we received a warm welcome and enjoyed a selection of roast lunches. It was tempting to stay in the rural setting enjoying the mid-day sun and good company, but as we were only half way we pressed on towards Uppingham before turning home through the ‘seductive’ Vale of Welland (Philip’s words although the long hill out of the vale provoked a different comment ! ). The route was then a switchback of hills on quiet roads through the hamlets of Medbourne and Weston, to the hidden Dale of Dingley, before re-entering the Shire with an ascent to the plateau of Harrington and Lamport and back to Moulton at about 4pm.
If you read the original rides email we did not fall victim to any Orcs, Nazgul or the rumoured Worm of Uppingham, but we did cover the 55 miles and it was fairly hilly with a little more than 1000 metres of climbing. Although many of the roads were familiar this was a new route and it amazes me that there is such variety of day rides in the county (and beyond). Well done Philip.
The Leader’s Account
On Sunday last, the 6th day of October, seven members of the Fellowship of the Flying Wheel left Moulton in the Shire for a challenging ride through many hills and dales, seeking the Kingdom of Rutlandia.
We were blessed with clement weather, perhaps the last of the summer. But during our journey, the Raucous Drongo was called home – to be replaced later by the Sabbath Rider at Rothwell.
We restored ourselves with the secret brews of East Carlton Country Park cafe, before continuing through the quiet, grand countryside near Eyebrook Reservoir. We followed the path less travelled to the well concealed restaurant of Sweet Hedges, where generous meals in the plain country style awaited us.
But here, as he consulted the ancient OS map, an awful realisation dawned upon our leader. This was not Rutlandia! In fact our route stayed just within the border of the Shire of Leicester, while the Mountains of Rutlandia towered overhead…
Forced to return without entering that fabled Kingdom, we wended our way back, over long energy-sapping hills and short sharp drumlins. But our spirits were lifted up by views of the Welland Valley, Dingley Wood and the Harrington Uplands.
We had ridden 56 miles and climbed over 3400 feet. For those who made it back to the Shire of Northampton, it was clear: another expedition will one day enter the Kingdom and penetrate its mysteries. The Fellowship shall ride again!
(I don’t know what the leader’s been putting is his cocoa lately, but I’ve never seen mountains in Rutland. A couple of sharpish hills, yes, but mountains? The mind boggles. – Ed)