It was good to welcome new rider Ryan who had come on his first ride with us on Neil's Saturday Saunter and was keen to try a full day ride.
A bright, if chilly, morning was a welcome change from the recent heavy thunderstorms and it saw us heading off from Hatfield to Ware. In an effort to come up with a slightly different route to a place often visited, we went through Welwyn and up Digswell Hill - a long climb. Then through Tewin and Bramfield, after nice lanes through the woods, we came into north Hertford. Climbing through the side streets of Port Vale, in Bengeo we turned along the track towards Ware, with its spectacular views across the valley and the A10 viaduct.
Truly Scrumptious is a nice morning stop and after a bit of a breather, we continued on our route through Stanstead Abbotts and Roydon, here picking up the path along the Stort Navigation, a delightful track, and for a riverside path, very few other users. Only one or two irritating gates which are difficult to get a bike through. Leaving the river, we went through a network of small traffic free lanes, emerging at Allen's Green and on to the road to Bishop's Stortford.
The pub stop was a new one for me in the new development bit of the town, but as it was a Wetherspoons, it was just like all the others. Lunch stop done, we found the way out of the town going north towards Clavering - mercifully a flat route following the river. We were soon back on lanes again, through Berden and the Pelhams arriving at the cake lovers' paradise - the village hall in Braughing. Surely this is the second best value and biggest choice Sunday afternoon stop known (after Upshire Church). From here it was a familiar route back. It was an excellent day out along some less trodden lanes.