other mad ideas: long walks
To my father, who taught me the joy of walking.
|2003-05-02||22.5 miles||Sandon||Gannock Thatch||Grantchester, Barrington, Melbourn, Royston, Therfield|
|2003-05-03||22 miles||Streatley||Windrush||Baldock, Letchworth, Ickleford, Pirton|
|2003-05-04||20.5 miles||Ivinghoe Beacon||-||Toddington, Chalk Hill, Dunstable, Whipsnade, Dagnall|
This is the second of a planned series of long walks from Cambridge. On this occasion I will be walking alone.
I am accepting sponsorship for this walk, to be donated to the Leukaemia Research Fund, certainly a worthy cause. This wasn't my idea - my mother-in-law shopped me to them and I got a sponsorship form in the post one morning.
The destination, Ivinghoe Beacon, is a landmark on the Chiltern hills. It's on the ancient Ridgeway path, and is the eastern end of the modern Ridgeway National Trail, and the western end of the modern Icknield Way path..
The 5-day weather forecast for Royston (from the BBC) should help with planning. I'll fill in this table from the forecast and print it out before I set off:
|General||rain||sunny intervals||sunny intervals|
|Wind||10 SE||12 W||16 S|
Sunrise is at about 05:30, sunset at about 20:30.
Some of the map references in these tables may be off by one or two hundred metres.
|2.5||Through town to Newnham||TL443573||2.5|
|1.0||along river to Grantchester||TL430555||3.5|
|2.5||over motorway and past radio telescope and Cantelupe farm to Haslingfield||TL405523||6.0|
|1.5||over Chapel Hill to Barrington, turning L to footpath||TL395497||7.5|
|1.0||over river, fields, and railway to Shepreth||TL395479||8.5|
|Some scope for change between Shepreth and Royston. Melbourn is good for lunch if it's lunchtime already (probably not), but getting from there to Royston isn't great. The main alternative appears to be Meldreth/Kneesworth/A1198.|
|2.5||across A10 into Melbourn, turning L at church||TL383448||11.0|
|Melbourn to Royston, hmm. The direct route is 4 miles (path SW to A10 at TL370433, A10 to centre). Alternatives include Summer House Farm (or Muncey's Farm, or Hyde Hill Farm) then A505. Rights of way are unclear on the 50K map. These are all about 5.5 miles, as is the route I list here. I will check the 25K map.|
|2.0||along minor road to A505, turn R||TL399425||13.0|
|1.5||along A505 to join the Icknield Way||TL383410||14.5|
|2.0||along Icknield Way (A505 and minor road) into Royston.||TL355407||16.5|
|3.0||S along IW to Therfield||TL336372||19.5|
|3.0||S along IW via Kelshall to Sandon||TL322345||22.5|
Accommodation: Gannock Thatch, Gannock Green, Sandon, Near Buntingford, Hertfordshire, SG9 0RH, Telephone 01763 287672. Jill Camps. £30 for a single B&B. Private bath. "We are a pink thatched cottage nearly opposite Gannock Farm"; map indicates this is on the left on the minor road north from Sandon, about half a mile north of the church. "There is a good pub in Therfield called the Fox and Duck." There may be a minor shortcut from Kelshall to Gannock Farm.
|2.0||W along IW to Wallington||TL294336||2.0|
|2.5||SW along IW to Clothall||TL269321||4.5|
|2.5||NW along IW to Baldock||TL245339||7.0|
|2.0||W along IW to Letchworth||TL222332||9.0|
|3.5||W along IW to Ickleford on northern fringe of Hitchin||TL185315||12.5|
|3.0||W along IW to Pirton (lunch?)||TL147317||15.5|
|1.5||SW along IW to dogleg on minor road between Hexton and Hitchin||TL132300||17.0|
|2.0||SW along IW to picnic area on minor road between Hexton and Lilley||TL109283||19.0|
|3.0||W along minor road to Streatley (across A6)||TL072287||22.0|
Accommodation: "Windrush", 32 Stanley Road, Streatley. Telephone 01582 882480. Janice Waters. £20/night single B&B. Bath. Food available at the village pub "Chequers". From the roundabout on the A6, go up Church Road to the T junction, turn left on Sharpenhoe Road, then left again onto Stanley Road. It's the house on the end.
|3.0||W along IW through Sundon Hills Country Park to bridge over M1||TL025295||3.0|
|1.0||W along IW to Toddington||TL010290||4.0|
|2.5||S along IW to Wingfield||TL000262||6.5|
|2.0||S along IW to cross A5 at Chalk Hill||TL000238||8.5|
|2.5||S along IW to outskirts of Dunstable||TL007214||11.0|
|3.0||S along IW along ridge of Dunstable Downs to Whipsnade||TL010180||14.0|
|3.0||SW along IW to Dagnall on A4146||SP992163||17.0|
|3.5||SW then NW along IW to Ivinghoe Beacon||SP961169||20.5|
My colleague Nick Levine will be meeting me at Ivinghoe Beacon to give me a lift home.
Misc accommodation numbers:
The Gates in Baldock, B&B High Street 01462 634369
Goldcrest Inn, a pub, 892940
Rose and Crown, a pub, 892339
White Lion 892875
Fox and Duck in Therfield, 55 twin inc bfast
The Old Forge in Barkway, Alan McNeil, 01763 849066, 35 pounds
TICs en route: Letchworth 01462 487868, Luton 01582 401579, Bedford 01234 215226, Dunstable 01582 471012.
OS Explorer series maps 209, 194, 193, 181.