Blue ride to Markham Grange and (very nearly) Barnburgh Lakes


We met cheerfully at the cricket club as the weather forecast had been dire but the Met Office were now saying good all day. So we were good to go, not so many heading out and we did have to wait for one Late rider but with the chairman and one other red rider we 9 were off.


The riders were: Matthew Lowe (ride leader), Martin Crapper, Mick Lee, Paul Bacon, Rob Drohan, Nick Kay, Diane Jordan, Christina Cooper and Lee. Sorry Lee (and I hope that’s your first name, I should have got you to write your full name down for me!)


It had rained heavily the day before and having discussed the idea of heading up the A60 to Wadworth (too busy) and along Wilsic Lane (too muddy) we made our decision and wandered through the village seemingly aimlessly and along Apy Hill Lane, almost losing Paul at the Cockhill Road junction where we turned right and he, being so far behind, almost went left, but no one gets left behind, not even Paul (B)!


From there we made rapid progress to the five lane ends roundabouts and down the hill into Edlington. There was a lot of traffic and on the whole they were patient although the odd one thought the horn would make us vanish. This was largely down hill and welcome - I had been finding slopes and hills inexplicably (at this stage) difficult. Down the hill with the hair pin bends and up the other side where 8 very smart cyclists had waited for me!


Along Spring Lane and under the A1 we went, turning left right left before another left onto Green Lane. It’s a very nice whoosh down to the A1 bridge where regrettably we had to slow and make the turn and ride parallel to the A1 and then another right and into Markham Grange where we had a discussion! Coffee here or Barnburgh Lakes guys? The majority decided on coffee so we stopped. Only later did we discover how well the plan had come together!


We sneaked in the back way, parked our bikes inside within sight of the seating area, and enjoyed the food and drinks.I don’t remember declining a scone before but these looked enormous so I did! Im a shy kind of guy so blushed (I did!) when Paul chose to announce my 49th wedding anniversary. And yes Christina, Jean does deserve a medal.


We had a quick team opportunity as we queued for the loos but don’t think we managed to get one. If you know better let me have it and I will add it later! There was another discussion about route A or route B but Nick added a route C option which was to continue to Barnburgh and have a second coffee. You know how these things work, plan C it was.


As we set off I knew something was not right and in discussion with Paul decided my saddle was a bit low — but manageable for now. Our route for all the options took us into Woodlands and on top Adwick le Street. The rise over the railway was a cliff for me but I caught up and we continued.


I hadn’t realised but Paul had his own problems with the chain which kept coming off and we had several stops for adjustments. Just not sure now where they were!


Into Bentley Moor, Carcroft and left to Skellow where the zigzag to get onto the footbridge seemed to through everybody except those of us who remembered from last time. So right onto Burghwallis Road immediately onto the footpath-it was there under the leaves — and back around the corner to walk over the bridge. At the other side we thought we had lost Rob to the travel Lodge but he was just waiting on decent tarmac. The road wasn’t bad, but wet and leafy in the shade, good and dry in the sun which there was plenty of.


We singled out the short distance along the A638 before turning left towards Hooton Pagnal and having an easy uneventful journey through to the Hickleton crossroad. Matt made it through safely and on his own. We eight waited for a gap and we waited and waited with a couple of cars which could do no better. Eventually a vehicle stopped to let us through so we woke Matt up and continued along and down to Barnburgh. The thought of a second coffee put new life into at least 7 of us — not sure about Paul but to be fair he was waiting for me.


Don’t you (us) guys read the red reports. Barnburgh Lakes café was shut! But we, well some of us, needed the loo and there was one available (for the fishing fraternity). One elderly person decided to use the traditional gentleman’s toilet in the corner and was soundly reprimanded by the owner who didn’t want his tree to die!


Out of the café and up the hill, a bit spread out at the front, miles behind at the back, but we regrouped and headed into Sprotborough pausing at the junction for traffic and speeding downhill and over the bridge. I didn’t think I did too bad going ups the other side past the hairpin bends — well I could still see some of the riders up front! They regrouped, I caught up, at the first opportunity and we made our way over the A630 and down the back lane towards Balby.


At the Broomhouse lane junction, Christina decided to go directly home followed by Rob and Mick. Leaving us with 6 to continue onwards.


By now even I was realising that my knees were up near my chest and the saddle was dropping bit by bit - but it was going to be OK till I got home! Oh no it wasn’t!


We continued on into Wadworth and turned right towards Wilsic again to avoid the heavy traffic excepting Lee who headed off alone along the A60 and home in Bawtry.


By the time we got to Wilsic Hall we just had to stop - well I did and you others very kindly joined me. The saddle had slid down as far as it was possible for the saddle to slide and had swung about 30 degrees left. Which would be why I had been leaning left and trying to overcompensate by bending over the other way. Allen key and cursing soon had things back to normal on the bike but as we set off again the sensation of me facing right was scary! 


Stanton Lane and Tickhill Back Lane saw me improving but badly needing a hot bath, but we made it in reasonable shape back into and around the back streets of tickhill to the Cricket Club.

For me a forgettable ride but thanks to everyone for making it possible.


See you next time!