Back to Washingborough - Eastern England - CycleBlaze

June 22, 2018

Back to Washingborough

via Woodhall Spa & along the River Witham

Despite being in a soft bed, my sleep is seriously shallow and fragmented and when I finally get to look at my Casio it tells me it's almost 9:30 and I know the hotel stops serving breakfast any minute. 

It's a mad dash down to the dining room with sleep in my eyes and notice the staff are cleaning up, and as I'm not that hungry a coffee and a couple of warm croissants from the buffet suffice.

After checking out, my panniers get wedged behind the reception desk and I go for a walk around town. Horncastle has quite a few antique shops - as well as a handful of charity ones - and I spend a couple of hours mooching around, but don't buy anything and once my bike is retrieved from storage, I pop to a cafe just off the market square and sit in the hot sunshine in its small yard and have a salad and a piece of chocolate cake which starts to melt before I eat it.

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There' a sign for a bike path and it leads me into in the grounds of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust HQ, which is a beautiful old Georgian house and as I'm taking a self-timed snap a worker comes over to see what I'm doing. 

We chat and he knows the path goes south-ish to Woodhall Spa and tells me that I can go through the grounds to get on it. It's at the back of the house.

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This path is another disused railway line with a surface made of compact stone chippings and it goes along beside a river for a while. When I stop to take a snap, hoards of small black flies gather around my head like they did a few days ago near Rasen. They clearly attracted to brightly coloured clothing.

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The path cuts through a spinney and there' no-one else about during the ride up to within a couple of miles of Woodhall Spa, where the path ends. I make a left and head down the main road into town and on the way  the old Golf Hotel gets my attention and I pause by the side of the road and think about taking a snap, but decide to just get into the small centre.

I spot a charity shop and stop. It's pretty small and is mostly full of women's clothes, but there's a rail of men's shirts and I find an Hawaiian-style one which is my size and decide to get it. It's two o'clock when I check out another charity shop opposite the war memorial dedicated to the Air Force - Woodhall Spa was a major flying base in the 1940s.

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There's one junk shop at the southern edge of town and I pop in but don't see anything -- most of it is furniture - then start riding on the bicycle path that goes west to Lincoln.

It feels pretty hot now as I ride next to the River Witham on a track that was oncea railway line going to Boston. It's flat as they tend to be and it reminds me that these kinds of routes are great for getting from A to B, but don't have a lot to keep me interested. I prefer cycling along back lanes.

Just before the village of Bardney, the smooth path runs out when it meets the boundary of a factory, one which won't allow access across its land, so the it's a case of veering along a rough farm track. 

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A cyclist comes the other way and we both stop and chat for a minute. He's in his 50s and riding a cheap bike. Those black flies are landing my shirt and hat and he tells me he took his high viz top off because they were bombarding him earlier.

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Once in Bardney I pop into the corner butcher's and buy a couple of sausage rolls that are still warm and eat them before the cycle route continues to take me beside the Witham. In the distance is the familiar outline of  Lincoln Cathedral - about 8 km away - and I ride across to the southern bank at a sluice-cum-bridge and after a few more kilometres make a left and ride into Washingborough.

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I thought today would be pretty easy going, but I feel a bit knackered. 

Dave is at home, but he's just on his way out for a beer so I go with him to celebrate his birthday.

Today's ride: 39 km (24 miles)
Total: 650 km (404 miles)

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