A cold but fine day saw five of us at the start at Wheathampstead car park. First destination was Baldock quite a way to the north. I decided to keep to a fairly rural route going through quiet countryside via Kimpton, Preston, Great Wymondley, skirting around Hitchin and approaching Baldock from the west, then down the impressive wide high street with its fine old buildings to the Café Plus’. This is another café operated by efficient east Europeans who seem to have well adapted themselves to producing typical English café food at very cheap prices. There we met Jon and Judy who had come straight to there from home.
From here we had intended to go to Puckeridge for lunch, which would have been a pleasant route out to the east but quite a long way back to the start. Given that some in the party were expressing reservations about this, after some consultations we decided to go south instead, heading for lunch at Tewin to shorten the onward journey.
Often the way we leave Baldock is up a very steep hill, but to avoid this we went a slightly different way via Clothall and its rolling open countryside. But then an unexpected excitement: up above us were two small acrobatic planes twisting and turning, ‘looping the loop’ and doing other advanced aeronautical manoeuvres. It was very impressive watching this going on in the clear skies over our heads. Then one of the planes landed in the flying field operated by the North London Model Flying Club, right next to where we were. So we had a pretty good free air show.
Then it was on to Weston, Walkern and Benington. This all took a little longer than anticipated; so changing plans again as we were now close to Aston, we would stop there for lunch. Unfortunately we found the Rose & Crown pub we had used before had now closed down (although there was a glass of beer on a table outside!) so we went to the other pub in the village which turned out not to do food. So our pub-crawl continued to try The Chequers at Bragbury End. Problem here was they didn’t do sandwiches on a Sunday, however we got some pricey food to keep us going while discussions ensued on forthcoming group cycling holidays in Majorca and Staffordshire. Then we headed back to the start via Knebworth and Codicote to Wheathampstead.
Overall we had done about 41 miles in all, not a lot but enough.