8 October 2017

08 Oct 2017: Panshanger to Great Hornmead

One or two surprises were in store for us today. The first was the ride leader morphing overnight - I had to do some rapid route planning due to Tracey having to miss today's ride. Tracey had chosen Panshanger as the start (she lives in WGC), but it's a place that's easy to get 'temporarily disorientated' in, as Sue proved when she had to phone for help finding the starting place.

The sun was out and with autumn colours starting to appear it was a beautiful ride across to Stony Hills. Then came the inevitable crossing of the A602. What a nightmare - even at 10 am on a Sunday morning it was a long wait for a gap and then we still had a near miss with a speeding motorcyclist.  The bridleway through Sacombe Park was a bit rough, but we were soon back onto quiet lanes to Barwick Ford and the coffee stop in Much Hadham.
There goes Emma
We had noticed several sportive riders, and soon after leaving we did a double take as we spotted Emma cycling towards us.  We stopped for a brief chat before letting her continue on her 'The Only Way is Essex' ride.

Inspired, we put in an extra loop via Hazel End and Manuden, pausing only to inspect Neil's new Aldi winter tights, which appeared to be on back to front.
The reflective bits really are on the front of the tights
We soon arrived at the quiet pub in Great Hornmead for lunch in the sunny garden.  Then it was an easy ride down to Puckeridge and across towards Dane End. Along here we noticed the rusting Greenwich Meridian sign, erected in 2000 near St Edmund's College. The obelisk in the field behind it was erected a little later. It works as a sundial and was also built on the meridian to commemorate the millennium.
Meridian sign near Old Hall Green
Having been given the bums rush at Rose cafe before, we opted this time for Sainsbury's cafe in Hertford. This is on the site of the McMullen brewery, which just happened to be having an open day, so after tea we had a look around.

1932 Sentinel Steam Wagon
The steam-driven dray was fascinating.  Originally owned by a Yorkshire flour mill, it was later converted into a tar sprayer then converted back to a wagon. McMullens bought it in 1983. Not the most efficient of vehicles, weighing just under 6 tons it consumes 250 gallons of water and 2 cwt of coal to go 20 miles at a top speed of 45 mph.

Having a fun time at the brewery
We didn't have time to book on a brewery tour and get a free ale, but made the most of our visit by pretending to be local yokels instead.

Jon 08/10/2017

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