‘Bagging’ churches

The start

For those who have a mild addiction to riding their bikes, and enjoy discovering hidden architectural gems often tucked away out of sight in our rural communities, the Historic Churches Trust sponsored cycle rides are an excellent way of combining the two. And when I say ‘hidden gems’ I really do mean that, because many villages are sited on looped roads that through traffic will bypass and seldom discover, and several churches (particularly in East

Luddington-in-the-brook

Northamptonshire) are sited up to half a mile from the village, and often along a rough, stony gated track that easily dissuades the passer-by from paying a visit. Furthermore, the majority of village churches are kept locked, and only open once or twice a month for their Sunday services.

A golem

On the day of the sponsored rides you can guarantee that most (but not all) will be open, and will sometimes be attended by a local parishioner or church warden who can fill you in on some of the history, some of the local notable families and, sometimes, on some of the village gossip. All very entertaining.

On Saturday September 10th I cycled the lanes of Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, covering 76 miles and visiting 32 churches………a bit like bagging Munros in Scotland, really.  But here is a selection of some of the serendipitous encounters on the journey: meeting the mother of girls I had taught back in the 1980s and discovering that one of them is now mother of four children; being the first cyclist to sign in and brighten a church guardian’s

Oundle School Chapel

day; finding a huge basket of fresh fruit in the porch of a remote church; chancing on an art exhibition in a redundant church that included a ‘golem‘ (google it!); listening to the organist practise some of his repertoire in Oundle School Chapel, and being astonished by a painting bequeathed by a former master of the school; finding a fully functioning church that is nothing but a Chancel; encountering a

The Chancel at Barnwell

former pupil whom I had taken to China on a school trip 10 years ago; stopping by a remote church that was hosting a wedding, and meeting the new, recently licensed vicar who had just taken the wedding service.

If you haven’t tried combining a love of cycling with discovering the recondite corners of your ‘neck of the woods’ I would recommend it highly.

The route

Advertisements

About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on September 16, 2011, in Aspects of Britain, Cycling UK, Miscellany and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Andy from St Ives

    On 10 September of my cousins was involved in a sponsored cycle round the churches of Rutland. By coincidence, the same day I did my first longish cycle run in years that wasn’t simply from getting from A to B, such as 14 miles to work and 14 miles back. It was purely for pleasure, and, in a way, exploring the first 33 miles or so of my proposed route from St Ives to Compostela . However, I didn’t visit any churches – maybe I should have – and maybe on the next trip I’ll do that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Matildas Musings

A blog written by Matilda - the "old lady" classic tandem - and her Musings about her adventures, trials and tribulations with the "old git" and Chief Pilot, aka Colin and the "old gal" and Chief Stoker (as well as Chief Engineer) aka Diane.

Fit Recovery

Stay Clean Get Fit

Northern Walker

Lightweight backpacking, hillwalking and bicycle touring adventures in Northern England and Scotland

Looking For 42

Traveling the world looking for the meaning for life (and whatever else I might find along the way)

Off The Beaten Path

Inside news from Bicycle Quarterly and Compass Bicycles

Bike 5

Five miles or less? Bikes are best!

Kite*Surf*Bike*Rambling

KITESURFING, CYCLING, SUP: ramblings, idiocy and not much more

Cycling Dutch Girl

the only certainty is change

4000milestothesea

On a bicycle from coast to coast across the USA

Self Propelled

Self propelled adventures through life; blogging on cycling, touring, micro-adventures, general shenanigans, and environmental news

chrisp666

Cycling across Europe, Cornwall to Munich

The Vicious Cycle

A man searches for meaning...in between leg shavings

2 l o v e c y c l i n g

It's about cycling ... and other travels

There And Back Again

Life at 15 miles per hour

As Easy As Riding A Bike

Well it should be, shouldn't it?

Bike Around Britain

Blog on cycling around the coast of Britain

David Noble's Blog

Life, Loves and Living

weston.front

The Weston Front - the destination of a road less travelled...

The Innocent Bikestander

It can be better

Bike, Banjo & Baby

They go together so well

Something for Kiki and the Pok

the adventures of Christopher Yardin - by plane, bike, through a lens, or the eyes of a child

Bricycling...

Cycling Blog

Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD

Travel adventures on wheels and legs

THE SPORTSWOOL DIARIES

................."Cherry picking the nicest places in the world to cycle"

Gippsland Granny

Musings from Metung

Serendipities of life

Taking the road less travelled

I Do Not Despair

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

Tom’s Bike Trip

Adventures and experiments in two-wheeled travel

All Seasons Cyclist

Real World Product Reviews For Avid Cyclists

machacas on wheels

Taking the road less travelled

%d bloggers like this: