Thursday 19th July 2007
Wansford (nr Peterborough) to Waltham on the Wolds
Yes - I know that Wansford is 10 miles away from Peterborough where we finished our ride in May. But we had to find a B&B that was happy to have the car for a week while we cycled to York. Hence the last part of this week's journey will be Peterborough to Wansford. The weather forecast for the week is very mixed - I don't think we are going to avoid the rain this time! Only three cathedrals and one minster to visit on this part of the trip - but there are other sights to see along the way. We very soon realise that we have forgotten to pack the waterproof map carrier - this is not good news as our printed maps will soon become soggy bits of paper and the ink is not waterproof. Today is fine though so perhaps we won't have a problem just yet.
The first leg of today's ride is to Rutland Water - and we soon discover what a pain it is to keep extracting the map from the back pocket. Even my perspiration inside the jacket is starting to make the ink go blotchy. I was hoping to pick up the cycle track on the south side of the reservoir and ride across the dam to the north shoreline - however we miss a turning and end up in Empingham adding at least 2 or 3 miles onto the journey. We eventually make it to the cafe at Whitwell where there is also a cycle centre - it not only hires out bikes but we find that it has an excellent cycle shop and soon we are kitted up with a replacement map holder. We follow the cycle path along the north shore until we reach Barnsdale Wood where we turn north making towards the villages of Exton and Cottesmore.
The RAF station at Cottesmore is just north of the village, and we find a pub which provides us with jacket potatoes to replenish our energy levels. The RAF are however practising their take offs and landings - what a noise every few minutes as 3 jets continually take off, do a circuit and land again - we wouldn't want to live anywhere near this "rural" spot.
On again through the village of Teigh and onto Edmondthorpe, where we decide to pull over to have a look at the village church. Fortunately we arrive at the same time as two ladies from the village who have come to do a spot of cleaning before an open day at the weekend - so we are able to have a look round inside. The church contains a magnificent monument to Sir Roger Smith, Lord of the Manor who died in 1655 - the family are descended through the female line from Henry 1st of England (a distant relation!). Sir Roger moved to Edmondthorpe Hall in 1620 and the monument shows effigies of him and his two wives with son and grandson to either side. After this brief interlude we continue to Wymondham where I know there is a recommended cafe stop - courtesy of the Northampton CTC web site - at the Windmill cafe. The windmill, just north of the village, is being restored and you are able to climb right to the top. The stairs and ladders are a bit precarious so be careful if you do!
The final leg of today's ride is across to the village of Waltham on the Wolds - the clouds are beginning to gather as we reached the town and it is a bit early to go knocking on the door of the B&B - fortunately we find that the church has a large lychgate which is wide enough to shelter the tandem, so we wait here for the rain to pass.
Mileage today 37.0 miles Total mileage so far 302.1 miles