Gwen, Ian, Brian and I set off from Braintree heading west, and met Mark pedalling up Rayne Road towards us. Mark had had the worst start to a day cycling – he started with a rear wheel puncture when he took his bike out of the shed, and had a hurried replacement of the inner tube to start his day. Good job he’s more competent than me at removing the rear wheel for a speedy repair!
We rode down to Rayne Station, headed west to Felsted. down Mill Lane, through North End and across to Onslow Green. We followed signs across to High Roding along some lovely quiet roads. Ian’s superior knowledge of these quiet roads served us well as he took us through Great Canfield and Hellman’s Cross, turning left to go past Hatfield Regis Grange. Grange is a common term in rural areas, and the word originates from a farm which supported a monastery or convent, separate from the religious buildings.
We continued almost to Hatfield Broad Oak, when I recognised a Y junction, where we turned back on ourselves to head down to Cammas Hall Fruit Farm, having done about 21 miles.
Ian’s 2 sausage roll breakfast Gwen with cake. Brian and an empty plate!
The 5 of us leapt back on our bikes, and pedalled off south, turning left for about a mile on the A1060. We turned left onto a lovely quiet road which took us up to Aythorpe Roding. At this point we came across a multitude of detectorists – there must have been about 30 cars parked along a country lane, with lots of earnest men with expensive looking equipment striding about the fields, wielding their gadgets. It made me wonder what the collective noun for metal detectorists was. Online searches have come up with the suggestions of a trowel, a discovery or a beep, but no actual definition was forthcoming. I preferred my idea of a magnetism of detectorists, which the group I spoke to, thought was a good proposal.
A Magnetism of Metal Detectorists
We rode on through High Easter, Pleshey and Howe Street. This land undulates nicely, but when we reached 35 miles, my legs started protesting at the inclines. The temperature had been rising steadily and by this stage was registering c24C on my bike computer. We headed due north through Littley Green and Bartholomew Green, to Rayne Station. I checked our average speed here – and it was 11.7mph! No wonder my legs protested. We returned to Braintree on the Flitch Way – 43 miles, 2,400 calories, and 3 hours 43 minutes. Well done all riders!