NT Gunby Hall at 75
NT Gunby Hall at 75
Gunby Hall at 75 Ride
Wednesday 10th July 2019
A few logistical problems greeted Tim Newbery as his car was 'poorly' and stuck in the garage for a few days. Rob Whitworth very kindly stepped in and ferried Barry Jordan from Swinhope to the start point at the Meridian Leisure Centre. Many thanks Rob!
With cloudy skies threatening showers, Barry Jordan, Rob Whitworth, Alan Hockham and Tim Newbery set off from the Meridian Leisure Centre for the journey to Gunby Hall, celebrating it's 75th Anniversary of being with the National Trust. It's a ride that sadly was cancelled earlier in the season due to poor weather. We were also looking forward to meeting up with Reg Bagshaw who had hoped to meet up with us at Woodthorpe later in the afternoon.
Our route would take us along the undulating 'top road' through Little Cawthorpe, Muckton and South Thoresby. By now the showery rain was heavy enough to don water proofs but at least it wan't cold. Continuing along Haugh Lane did at least give club members splendid views of the fields across to Alford which were displaying ever ripening swathes of wheat and barley. There were also a pair of Buzzard, one of the pair swooping low across the road, talons extended. Cyclists on the lunch menu perhaps! Dropping down close to sea level beyond Well, we continued through Willoughby and Welton le Marsh and were soon to navigate the busy A158 roundabout to take the lane to Gunby Hall.
Gunby Hall this year celebrates it's 75th anniversary of having been gifted to the National Trust. Diana Montgomery-Massingberd and her husband, Field Marshal Archibald (Archie) Montgomery-Massingberd embarked on a battle with the Air Ministry in 1942. Spilsby Airfield would soon need extra space to operate heavy bombers and the house and gardens were in danger of being demolished. Petitions to King George VI's secretary and the National Trust helped the Air Ministry to change its mind, and to prevent any future catastrophe the family entrusted the estate to the National Trust in 1944.
Refreshments were taken and an extended break for some to enable Tim time to visit the gardens and church. The roses were certainly past their best but there was still much to see and admire. St Peter's Church is also worthy of a visit. Inside there's a moving memorial plaque to Gunby Hall family brothers, Richard Langton Leith-Hay-Clark and Donald Massingberd Leith-Hay-Clark. Richard Langton was a Halifax Air Gunner in WWII. On September 22nd 1942, his Halifax was shot down by a Me110 over Blesme, France whilst on operations. He was just 25. His brother Donald Massingberd was a Flt. Lt. in the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment and a RAF fighter pilot. He too was sadly killed in action over Italy on 27th January 1944 aged 24. RIP.
Having left a few minutes behind schedule due to Tim hunting and rescuing a lost cycling glove, a phone call to Reg set up a meeting at Woody's Bar and Restaurant, estimated at a little after 1 pm. Having crossed the cattle grid to make an exit onto the roundabout, no sooner had the group started the ascent to Woodlands Holt we lost sight of Rob. Looking decidedly 'un-pleased', he recounted hearing "pshhhhhhhhh" sounds from both front and rear tyres! Both flat as a pancake, perhaps from the encounter with the cattle grid. Barry donated a spare tube and Alan Hockham retraced his steps to help mend punctures. Splendid team work got Rob on the road again but we needed a short stop at the garage at Willoughby to fully inflate the tyres. Thanks again to Alan for lending his valve adapter. With the sun now breaking through the clouds it became increasingly warm and a fine ride was had to Alford where Alan turned off for the journey home.
Arriving at exactly 1.30 pm (and the re-scheduled meet up time) at Woody's Bar and Restaurant, Barry kindly bought everyone a pint of the finest which bouyed our spirits. It wasn't long before we also met up with Reg, who had arrived a little earlier on but had dashed out to see if he could find us. A pleasant time chatting in the warm sunshine.
We bade farewell to Reg at Grimoldby. We thanked him for his very kind offer of tea at home and graciously declined, but it was super to see him back out on the bike. Arrived back at the Leisure Centre at 3.30 pm having completed 43 miles. Many thanks to all and for the help extended on this ride of adventures.