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07 April: Hatfield to Broom

posted 10 Apr 2013, 10:03 by South Herts   [ updated 12 Jan 2017, 21:59 ]
Nine of us met in Hatfield for the start of the day’s ride.  This included newcomer Diane, who had been recommended to us by the Forty Plus CC.  We also had the very pleasant company of the sun; yes that’s right THE SUN.  It was strange to see it up there.
Four cyclists standing
Gathering in Hatfield
Group outside cafe
Cafe Plus, Baldock

I had two routes in mind and after a quick consultation it was pointed out that my second route out was near the last stop, so route one it was.  Both the easy ride and my moderate ride followed more or less the same route all day, with the easy ride arriving at the stops just as the queue was going down.

We headed to Baldock via Tewin, Datchworth, Hall’s Green and Weston.  It turned out to be a very nice route and really straightforward, which it needed to be as the tea stop was a fair way to go (23 miles in fact).  As we made our way the countryside really did have that springy feel to it, with birds and horses all over the place.  I spied some cows and our little herd of riders were making a happy chatting sound as we pootled through all this.  When we got to Weston I had to check my map, just to make sure we got it right.  This gave Ian a chance to test out the public bench.  Soon enough we headed into Baldock and Café Plus. 

Nobody was there to meet us, which was just as well as we were 20 minutes late, HA!  It was here that Jackie and Diane left us to head back home, but Diane had a good time and I’m hoping we’ll see her again.  Coming out of Baldock we had to do a little wiggle, nip under a bridge and head off for Stotfold, and that was rather easily done.  We picked up National Cycle Route 12, which took us through Arlesey Station, under and up the cycle path beside the A507, through a gap and onto the B659.  Done!  Now we just followed that until the signpost for Broom magically appeared, and here we did a left and straight to lunch.
Vintage cars in car park
Triumph TR cars
Group of cyclists in front of old cars
Bonnets up as we left

Lunch was at The Cock, which had been attacked by a Triumph TR owners club, so the food took a little time coming out, but the staff were pleasant and very helpful (let’s hope the new publican keeps the pub going).  Here we picked up more riders: Carol, Steve and Richard. It was great to see them all.  Well it was only 10 miles to lunch and we were enjoying the sunshine on the patio, but had to make a move - destination Whitwell.  As we were leaving, the Triumph owners must have been worried about starting their cars as they all had the bonnets up.  Off we went in the direction of Southill, which we didn’t reach as I took a wrong turning, but never fear we went off down to Clifton.  Through Shefford, Campton and Upper Gravenhurst, but just on reaching it we turned off for Shillington and from there onwards it was plain sailing to Hexton, up Butts Hill, down through Lilly Bottom and straight on for Whitwell and Emily’s teashop.  

Man being served from pub cellar
Bill gets his pint from the cellar
Cycles leaning on ancient waggon
Cycle parking at Whitwell
This is a cyclist-friendly farm type place, with chickens and rabbits and lots of people.  That leg was 20 miles and believe you me some of us were beginning to feel it.  After this we made our separate ways home.

All in all I covered 65 miles from home, some did more, some did less but we all had a great time.