Report – 10th CTC East Midlands Camping Rally, Beaumanor Hall

David went to this camping rally from Friday 24th to Monday 27th May in Leicestershire and writes:

We started on Friday around 10.30 a.m. from Chapel Brampton. Three of us set off just as the rain started to come down as a light shower on and off, with an ever increasing wind.  As we approached the Leicestershire border we had the worst of it for the day with rain, hail and gale force winds attacking us as we climbed the hill to Theddingworth. The roads were littered with twigs and foliage.
Ian phones for a lift home

Ian phones for a lift home

At The Queen’s Head in Saddington Ian phoned for a lift home as he was wet and miserable – see his account here.  So that left two!  John and I continued north then east, cycling around Leicester City, stopping at Mr Pick’s Farm Café for an hour or so to dry out a bit and let the Friday rush-hour traffic go by.  We had tea and cake in a newly built wooden café. Hens were in the fields and a farm shop opposite.
Cafeé in hailstorm

Café in hailstorm

Before reaching Beaumanor there was one more patch of hail and heavy wind but when we arrived at 8.00 p.m. the weather had settled.  In fact there was no more rain or severe wind for the rest of the weekend.
The CTC Milton Keynes group used Route 6 and said they came across two fallen trees on the paths and had to lift their bicycles over to continue.
I took part in the 30 mile ride led by John Catt (Notts CTC Webmaster) which took us south to a nursery café and then on to a pub for lunch by a canal.

Start of Saturday's ride

Start of Saturday’s ride

A happy cyclist at the Plough Inn

A happy cyclist at the Plough Inn

The evening slideshow was presented by Jeff Burton (Notts CTC) on his two-week tour of the Hebrides in Scotland.

John and I went on Max Scott’s 30-mile led ride which went north towards Nottingham stopping at the Six Acre Garden Centre. Max turned right instead of left at Costock, going up the A60 until he realised his mistake and had to return up a steep hill.  Some of the local riders had stopped and informed me that Max had gone the wrong way.  We returned to the café.  Ten minutes later Max and John joined us for bacon buttes and tea.  The two families in the group were glad not to have descended then ascended  the same hill.  We then headed to Old Dolby Brewery for lunch and a pint.

Max leads the Sunday ride

Max leads the Sunday ride

John enjoys a pint of Old Dolby bitter

John enjoys a pint of Old Dolby bitter

The evening entertainment was a selection of four films on cycling. The first was a B&W film taken in 1903, of racing championships held at the time.  The second was a 1967 film on the French courier service, a humorous ten-minute film in which a cycle-courier gets into difficulty delivering his regular round.  The third showed the First Bicycle Carnival held in Manchester Football Stadium in 1900. People were dressed up as clowns, roundheads and cavaliers as they walked passed the camera.
Then we had two power cuts and a search for the fuse box. The hot water had just boiled so tea and coffee was served. The power came back and the last film was on the 1965 TDF with  a car horn blowing sound track as the riders were shown enduring the heat and tension of the race with crashes, injuries, crowds and the media following in cars and motorbikes.
We returned home stopping at The Old Greyhound in Great Glen for dinner.  The sun shone all weekend, Saturday night’s temperature fell to -2 degrees but otherwise it was well worth going.

The Old Greyhound at Great Glen

The Old Greyhound at Great Glen

John struggles up a hill on the way home

John struggles up a hill on the way home

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.


IMAG0209I hope to see lots of you on Sunday morning!