In May 2019 Crest held its summer tour of Essex. Derek Smith shares his diary of the trip.
Friday 3rd May 2019 – During the afternoon and evening 14 club members rode to The Fox (Matching Tye) one of our regular haunts for evening meal and accommodation.
Saturday 4th May – 14 club members started the day with a cooked breakfast at The Fox. One more club member joined us after breakfast. We then rode towards Braintree on the Fitch disused railway track and as we approached the café at Rayne station there was a sudden and heavy downpour of hailstones so we ducked inside the cafe for coffee!! When we emerged the rain/hail had stopped and we rode onto lunch at The Kings Head in Gosfield (near Halstead) where we again luckily missed the lunchtime rain as well. Afternoon tea and cake was enjoyed in a traditional tearoom at Oaken Hill just before Great Yeldham, where our accommodation had been arranged at The Wagon & Horses.
The staff were very welcoming and accommodating in storing our bikes in their boiler room/corridors, probably because we had booked all but one of their guest rooms. The evening meal at The Wagon & Horses (which included some authentic Thai dishes) was prepared by their Thai Chef which were very enjoyable as well as good value for money. There was a great party atmosphere as the pub were hosting a 60th birthday party for one of their regulars and we were invited to sample the locally brewed toffee vodka shots – two bottles later we retired to our rooms which were luckily next door! The freshly prepared breakfast was provided by the same Chef along with her humorous entertainment!
Sunday 5th May – Tearing ourselves away from the The Wagon & Horses we rode to lunch at The Red Lion in Brinkley where we were joined by another four club members. We left Brinkley and headed south-east through Balsham and rode along a Roman Road in order to get across the busy A11. This was a wide grassed stretch of approx. 2 miles, tall hedges on both sides which is a biological site of special scientific interest. Fortunately there was only one puncture on this section. We left the Roman road and headed towards and through Pampisford. The end of the days’ route took us to the north side of Whittlesford Parkway railway station where we all had to remove panniers and carry bags and bikes over the footbridge to the Holiday Inn and the adjoining Red Lion pub where dinner had been booked in the conservatory area and all of us 19 sat down to eat.
Monday 6th May – We left the Holiday Inn and took the Sustrans way through Duxford village, on to Littlebury Green, Arkesden and arrived at Clavering lakes for coffee and cake stop. Four more club members joined us here. We then headed towards Bishops Stortford across the M11 at Stansted Mountfitchet and revisited The Ash pub at Burton End (one of our former Christmas lunch venues) for lunch. We all left the lunch stop together and made our way to Takeley whereupon everyone headed towards their homes.
Overall mileage for the tour for the long weekend was approximately 150 miles. The tour had started with 14 club members but there were 23 members at the end of the route.
All in all it was a very enjoyable and memorable tour. Wonder where next year’s tour might travel to ?????