Brisk ride on Saturday morning, 13th April

Phil Letts will be leading this ride and writes:

We start at 9.30 a.m. from the Brampton Valley Way (BVW), at the crossing of the A5199 near The Windhover, for a brisk ride of 35 miles.

The route follows or shadows the Midshires Way – all of which is now on good road surfaces so off-road bikes are not required.

We go out via the Bramptons, Nobottle, Flore, Gayton and Roade to Salcey Forest for a coffee stop after 25 miles.

We return following the National Route 6 through Quinton, Great Houghton and Northampton to the BVW after 10 more miles.

Phil is on 07867 388592.

Report – Ride on Sunday 17th February

Ian Macsporran led this ride and writes:

On a beautifully sunny morning, nine riders gathered at the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) crossing with the A5199 at 9.30 a.m. (and a tenth was waiting for the group at the Waterloo Farm Café).  Iain D, Brian, David, Eleanor, Phil L were joined by Malcolm, Hartley and Vikki – these three being guest riders out to see what we were like.  Bill was waiting at the café.  I had chosen, in retrospect a bit of a leg-stretching ride: only 45 miles but plenty of bumps.  I had no excuse, having recce’d it only two days earlier.

Before elevenses,the high spot (literally) was pausing at Naseby Church.  Every route in to Naseby seems to involve a considerable climb.  But the sunshine and the company made it pleasant work.  We reached the café – at 18 miles – at 11.15 a.m.  I’d booked a table for eight at the Foxton Locks Inn and, by phoning ahead at this stage, was able to increase it to ten.  Through East Farndon (downhill for once – as Iain noted) and Lubenham was delightful.  We reached the locks at 12.30 p.m.

The inn was fully booked for lunches, and there was a queue – so it was good to have a table set for ten waiting for us; and a helpful waitress bringing us drinks and meals.

Leaving Foxton at 1.30 p.m. we went on some lanes new to most of the group – to Theddingworth and Sibbertoft from the north. We climbed up to Naseby again and enjoyed the fast descent.  Then the last big climb of the day was up into Guilsborough.  One or two pimples brought seven of us back through Teeton and Holdenby to the BVW and the A5199 by 3.40 p.m.  (Iain, Eleanor and Bill had peeled off at appropriate points.)

Everyone claimed to have enjoyed the route but, as a distinguished music critic once said that an orchestra is nothing without listeners, so a planned route is nothing without riders.  My thanks are heartfully felt to my nine fellow pedallers.  I hope that Malcolm, Hartley and Vikki join us again.

 

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?

Upgrading the Brampton Valley Way Cycle Path, part 2

At the end of CTC Northampton’s morning ride last Saturday, Iain Dawson and I continued back to The Windhover along the Brampton Valley Way (BVW) to see the improvements where the BVW goes under the Northampton-to-Rugby railway line.

This crossing has been notorious for many years – a complete mud-bath – and, let’s face it, a local disgrace since the BVW is part of the National Cycle Network Route 6.  It’s been pretty much impassible in all but the driest weather and, even then, you’d want an off-road bike!

We were pleasantly surprised.  Here’s the start of the underpass approached from the south:

IMGP5669Iain shows how it’s negotiated:

IMGP5671and how you emerge on the other side:

IMGP5673Once you’ve emerged, you can see why it used to flood so often – it’s where cycle path, railway line and river all merged:

IMGP5675This is the edge of Kingsthorpe Local Nature Reserve, which has splendid views:

IMGP5676IMGP5677The cycle path then swings up to run alongside the railway line:

IMGP5680and the view remains good:IMGP5679All in all, a very welcome improvement!

And work looks well underway to complete a nice tarmac surface between here and the A5099 crossing, further north near The Windhover.

Upgrading the Brampton Valley Way cycle path

The Brampton Valley Way (BVW) is being upgraded in at least two places in Northampton: where it crosses the A5099 near “The Windhover” pub and where it goes under the Northampton-to-Rugby railway line to the north of King’s Heath.  The BVW is a “linear park” that follows the disused railway line connecting Northampton and Market Harborough.  It forms part of National Cycle Route 6 (NVR6).

Here’s what was happening today at the A5099 crossing:

IMAG0201IMAG0202IMAG0203IMAG0204One of the workmen confirmed that the intention is to widen the cycle path and provide a tarmac top.

Brampton Valley Way mudhole is no more!

Phil Letts writes:

Members will be pleased to know that the infamous Brampton Valley Way (BVW) mud-hole is no more!  Did I hear cheering?  The mud has gone under the railway bridge and a two-level concrete cycle/pedestrian path rolled through.  It looks as though the engineers have conceded that it will always flood under there but during dry times there is a big wide solid path through but then during the times it’s flooded there’s a higher-level but narrower concrete path above flood level which is walkable pushing a bike.  (It will be possible to ride through on that but the ‘roof level’ is lower.)

They have also put down a black-top surface linking the underpass back to the farm track at the back of the Kings Heath sports field.

Notices say the BVW is closed from the underpass back to the Windhover pub for ten weeks from 10th January to effect path repairs.

So hopefully that should solve the problem.

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!!

Ride on Saturday morning – 22nd December

Phil Letts will be leading this ride and writes:

Start  9.30 a.m.  Brampton Valley Way (BVW) by “The Windhover”.   Brisk club ride – 35 miles. 

This is ride follows or shadows the Midshires Way all of which is now on good road surfaces so road bikes required.

Route links the Bramptons, Harlestone, Nobottle, Flore (coffee break) Bugbrooke, Gayton, Blisworth, Roade to Salcey Forest for an early brunch/lunch (25 miles)

Then the return follows the National Route 6 back through Quinton, Great Houghton and Northampton to BVW (10miles)

Phil is on: 07867388592

Report – Ride to Cyclists Carol Service – Sunday 9th December

A first for everything: a card-carrying atheist enjoying riding and taking part in the (61st) Annual Carol Service of Leicestershire & Rutland CTC!

Brian, David and I met at “The Windhover” at 10.00 a.m. on a bright morning.  We’d planned a simple ride along the Brampton Valley Way.  A mountain bike along this track is slower than a road or touring bike along the lanes.  Enjoyable though, once in a while – and you can chat as you ride.

IMG_0007Brampton Valley Way – at the Kelmarsh Tunnel

By 11.20 a.m. we were at the Waterloo Farm Café and met up with Max and Pete from CTC Kettering and our very own John Cutler.  Refuelled, we took the road route through Market Harborough to Great Bowden and SS Peter & Paul’s.

IMG_0014Great Bowden church – SS Peter & Paul’s

Chicken stew for lunch in the church hall and then into church!  A welcome from the vicar (Rev James Shakespeare), seven carols, six readings (one by Max), a brilliant prayer (May God bless Sustrans!) and a nice address from the vicar.  He quoted from “Little Gidding” – so Shakespeare quotes T S Eliot (boom! boom!).  Tea and mince pies in the church hall.  Fellowship renewed, new friends made.

IMG_0025The Carol Service

A fairly slow cycle home.  John was on his Brommie – for the Brompton Valley Way (groan! groan!).  And we arrived back at The Windhover in the dark.  Great stuff!

Thanks to Peter Witting and CTC South Leicestershire who organised the service; Robert Sulley and CTC South Leicestershire bell-ringers; Rev James Shakespeare; the members who provided the refreshments; and David for his photos!