Sunday Ride to Wickenby Aerodrome

Sunday Ride to Wickenby Aerodrome

RIDE REPORT
Sunday Ride to Wickenby Aerodrome

With a Met Office 'Yellow' warning of ice there was an early inspection of the roads leading up and over the Wolds. Luckily the surfaces were wet rather than icy and John Ambler, Chris Owen, Alan Hockham and Tim Newbery departed Louth Cornmarket on schedule at 10.30 am.

Navigating our way through the roadworks in Louth we were soon enjoying the back lanes to Hallington and Poke's Hole. Luckily a brisk north east wind helped us on our journey to Withcall and Manor Hill (nearly 500 FT AMSL). A few wintry showers didn’t curb our enthusiasm (too much!) and we were soon descending Knob Hill with thoughts on a hot drink at Donnington-on-Bain.

Jenny greeted us with the aforementioned hot drinks and we stayed a while sitting at the bench, placed in the shelter of the building (the table suitably decorated with a couple of stalks of Brussel Sprouts!) Thank's for the biscuits Chris. Time to move on if we were to get to Wickenby and meet up with Alan Richards. The route took us through South Willingham, East Barkwith (being careful to avoid the guard dogs), the Torringtons and Holton cum Beckering before finally arriving at Wickenby Aerodrome only a few minutes behind schedule at a little after 12.30 pm. Alan Richards had already arrived and we enjoyed watching light aircraft and gyrocopters take off and land.

A purpose built airfield, RAF Wickenby first hosted 12 Sqn with Wellington bombers in September 1942 but during the winter of 1942/3 they converted to the Avro Lancaster. RAF Wickenby played a large part in the bomber offensive, taking part in many of the major raids including: Berlin, Munich, Nuremberg, Essen, Mailly-le-Camp, and Caen.

During the relatively short period of active service 1,147 lives were lost from RAF Wickenby. This sacrifice is commemorated by a memorial in the form of Icarus on an obelisk at the entrance to the airfield.

We reluctantly departed, knowing the return route would be into wind, and a chill wind too. Never the less we were soon eating up the miles as we headed through the pretty villages of Wickenby and Linwood, criss-crossing over the Market Rasen to Lincoln Main line. Chris then took us to the the outskirts of Market Rasen, past the race course to Little London and Sixhills. There we started to ascend again (waving goodbye to Chris as he headed home) with the reward of a reviving cuppa at the Viking Way Coffee House at Ludford. Alan Richards departed on his way home at this point which left Alan Hockham (who had ascended Sixhills with consummate ease) John Ambler and Tim Newbery to return to Louth. 
Today's distance: 43 miles (70 KM). 
Thanks to everyone for a great winter's day ride.

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