Summer Exploration Ride to Horncastle
Friday 2nd August 2019
Postponed from Wednesday due to torrential downpours (in spite of some Breeze riders braving the elements in the Binbrook area) Cycling UK Louth finally got the chance for the ride across the Lincolnshire Wolds to Horncastle.
With most members involved in activities elsewhere, it was left to Rob Whitworth and Tim Newbery to meet up at the Meridian Leisure Centre in Louth. Against the forecast there were a number of showers but on this occasion, it kept temperatures to a comfortable level.
Today's route would take us to Hallington and Raithby with the climb up to Pewlade Hill at an altitude of about 500 ft (151 m). Views from here all the way down to the River Bain were sadly somewhat obscured by the showery rain but thoughts of the renowned and highly rated bacon sandwiches at Horncastle spurred us on. Following more climbing once we had ridden through the pretty village of Goulceby we were well on our way to the School House Coffee Bar. We were greeted warmly by the good ladies and thoroughly enjoyed the refreshments. John Ambler I'm sure would have given the bacon sandwiches a high rating.
The club have visited Horncastle on a number of occasions and the town has a long and noteworthy past. Nestled between the River Bain and River Waring in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds, Horncastle was granted its market charter by the Crown in the 13th century, at the time when the great annual horse fair was probably first held. The fair used to last for a week or more every August. In the 19th century it was likely the largest event of its kind in the United Kingdom. On a darker note, Horncastle was once known as a centre for bull baiting and cock fighting and one of the town pubs still bears the name The Fighting Cocks (where we've also enjoyed a pint or two in the past).
Not satisfied with the amount of climbing so far, our return route would take us back to the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB and to Castcliffe Hill and Fulletby. Stunning views from Furlongs Lane across the golden fields of wheat and barley and by this time increasingly sunny skies encouraging Buzzard to soar majestically above our heads. Fascinating too to know we were using some of the ancient route-ways and in the footsteps of Roman Legions with the Roman road of Platts Lane nearby.
More climbing now to Belchford Hill and the Bluestone Heath Road (Rob was enjoying this!) taking us back to Goulceby Top Farm. The reward was a fine descent to Raithby and Louth and latte's kindly supplied by Rob back at the leisure centre. A splendid day out.