A Sunday Ride to Aby
28th April 2019
Arriving early at the Leisure Centre there were still a number of showers and gusty winds, the remnants of Saturday's 'Storm Hannah'. Fortunately by the time the group were ready to leave the conditions were dry, if still fairly windy.
Ride Leader Tim Newbery was joined by Mike Leverton, Rob Cook, Rob Whitworth, Bernie Hobill, John Rickett and Alan Hockham. Mike would only be riding a short distance with us as he needed to be home by the afternoon. Chris Owen had been scheduled to meet up with us at Legbourne, but sadly mechanical problems with his car meant he ended up on a short ride near home instead.
The brisk northerly wind took us swiftly along the unclassified roads through Stewton, 'The Carltons', and Woodthorpe, where Mike would leave us, departing for a journey home. Continuing past Beesby, the sun by now breaking playfully through the clouds, the route then took us to Hagnaby and the ruins of the Abbey, post-medieval house and formal gardens (still view-able as earthworks).
Hagnaby Abbey, a Premonstratensian monastery founded by Agnes de Orreby in 1175-6, was dedicated to St Thomas the Martyr of Canterbury in 1250.
The Premonstratensian order, or "White Canons", were not monks in the strict sense but rather communities of priests living together, modelled on the Cistercian values of austerity and seclusion. Hagnaby is certainly secluded!
A final section through Hannah and Crawcroft Lane would take us to Farmer Browns Ice Cream and Coffee Shop where we found plenty of room inside and enjoyed fine refreshments (Tim enjoying a scoop of Banana Ice Cream).
Retracing our steps to Hannah we took the route to Priory Farm at Markby (where there are the ruins of Augustinian Priory founded during the reign of Henry II - this part of Lincolnshire was certainly an important ecclesiastical centre) and onwards to Saleby and Aby. Bernie suffered a puncture before arriving at the Railway Tavern, but sterling work from Rob Whitworth meant it wasn't long before we all joined up again at Aby. The landlord of the public house greeted us in his unique fashion and food and drinks were obtained, some of the group enjoying the sunshine in the garden, others keeping warm indoors.
On leaving the refreshment stop, a decision was made to take the 'hilly' route and we continued to Meagram Top before a descent to the A16 at Burwell. Time now to steel ourselves for the ascent of Ruckland Hill to the junction of Oslear's Lane, an altitude of about 360 ft. We hadn't told Bernie that fact but he bravely, with much fortitude, and encouragement from the team, managed the ascent. Well done Bernie.
Mainly downhill now to Little Cawthorpe via Maltby Wood where there were bluebells and wild garlic growing by the side of the road. A scenic ride indeed. A few more miles before arriving back in Louth having covered 65 km (40 miles). Many thanks to all for their company and to Rob Whitworth for the refreshments at the Leisure Centre.