22 January 2012

B2Y5: Leicester to Spalding

Another wind-assisted day, from Rutland’s rolling hills to south Lincs’s pancake flatness: Oakham for elevenses, Stamford for lunch, Spalding for dinner.

This bloke outside Oakham (above) was ‘walking’ his dog in the laziest way possible: not just doing it on his bike, but with that conveyor-belt tailwind, meaning he didn’t even have to pedal.

The little-known Rutland Water, a reservoir only created in the late 1970s, is by some measures England’s biggest lake – certainly the largest outside the Lake District. Which means it occupies most of Rutland. There’s a well-used cycle track all the way round it (above).

Stamford, a bit beyond, is a kind of east Midlands Bath, rich in honey-coloured Georgian and other period houses (above). There aren’t quite any postcard-friendly killer-views though, so it’s not as touristy as Bath (but serves as a regular setting for TV period dramas). Stamford has had a lucky escape.

The last few miles to Spalding was all like this (above). Every half an hour or so there’s a set of those black and white chevrons warning you of a tight bend, and road kinks about five degrees.

Dinner came from Spalding Aldi. Is it the only British town whose letters include a supermarket chain? Hmm.

Miles today: 60
Miles since Barmouth: 235


  1. Dear Rob

    Mr Matt Winkworth sent me a link to your blog as you were travelling through Lincolnshire, as I was raised in Spalding, with the other inbreds.

    Firstly, I hope you enjoyed your visit to Spalding, and secondly apologies if you didn't.

    I love a good cycle ride too, and I hope you are having an amazing adventure.

    All good wishes

    Jane (Buffham)

  2. I had rather a nice time in Spalding, actually. My only previous knowledge of it was as a Driving Test Boom Town in the 1980s, when babyboomers all reached 18 at the same time and not enough test centres to cope. Spalding was one of the few places with spare driving test capacity.

    Spalding Aldi provided me with dinner, and I cycled up the pleasant riverside path to Springfields, where my £12 Travelodge gave me a splendid night's sleep.

    Next day I went along all the old roads, now bypassed by the A road, which was full of lorries carting turnips to Kings Lynn Sainsbury.

    So Spalding I didn't have a problem with. It was just KL, which has always spooked me a bit.

    Say hello to Mr W! One day I *really will* get to see one of his gigs in Oxford...