Ride Report – CTC “Sulley Challenge” – Sunday 1st March

With no CTC Northampton ride this weekend, Philip G and Brian (our Rides Secretary), rode the Sulley Challenge organised by Leicestershire & Rutland CTC.  Philip writes:

We took on the Sulley Challenge today and had a good time despite exceptionally blustery winds on a delightful and generally quiet route.  The Challenge ride is an audax-style, self-navigated route, with GPX files available for those with satnavs.  The ride starts and finishes in Lutterworth with a choice of 70 km or 100 km routes.  The longer route was out towards Great Easton, north to Tilton-on-the-Hill, through Rutland and back via Kibworth.

A total of 66 riders were registered, most setting off in twos and small groups.  Brian and I set off together and had such a good chat that we missed our turn in Walton, hence doing an extra mile.

We said goodbye in Great Easton where Brian followed the 70 km route and I stayed on the 100 km.  Brian stopped at the Neville Café along with fifteen cyclists from Rugby Velo and three Lutterworth cyclists doing the 70 km route.  I met a chap who was regretting choosing a fixie!

Both of us faced a return route to Kibworth directly into the wind – in open countryside with little to stop the wind – making it sometimes hard to control the bike. Average speeds fell significantly.  However we both got back before any serious rain.

You can see my route here.

Perhaps next year more people will be tempted to join this low-cost enjoyable event.  A organiser’s report is here.


The Rutland Ride – 2 Takes

We have two different perspectives on last Sunday’s ride to Rutland.


Brian’s Account
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)

Rutland Ride – Sunday 6th October

Philip Gray leads this ride and writes:
This Sunday’s ride takes us from the gentle hills of The (Northampton)Shire to the remote and craggy Kingdom of Rutlandia. Travelling via Broughton, Rothwell and Rushton, we shall seek refreshment from the good Caterers of East Carlton (Country Park) before entering Rutlandia. Then our route will take us north past Eyebrook Reservoir to sanctuary and a midday meal with the Travelling People (whom some call the Camp-Caravanners) of Sweet Hedges.
We will return through the seductive Vale of Welland and hamlets of Medbourne and Weston, to the hidden Dale of Dingley, before re-entering the Shire by a little-known route and tackling the gradual ascent to the plateau of Harrington and Lamport. From there it is a brief down, up and down back to Moulton.
Assuming we do not fall victim to any Orcs, Nazgul or the rumoured Worm of Uppingham, we shall have covered 55 miles and around 1000 metres of climbing by our return.
If you feel called to this adventure as one of the Fellowship of the Flying Wheel, please gather at the Co-op in Moulton on Sunday 6 October. As this is a longish and slightly arduous route, I would like to leave promptly at 9.30 am, so please aim to be there at 9.15.
Please let Philip know if you have any questions. Tel 01604 720522 or email philip.g@ctc-northampton.org.uk.