Ride and Stride in the year of Covid from Burton Latimer Local Organiser Nicholas Loakes
I set off from Burton Latimer on my own at 8.40am on a beautiful sunny morning. We had decided not to cycle as a group in view of the Covid19 situation. My wife prepared a picnic lunch and tea for me as we were expecting limited refreshments on route. I decided to go westwards initially, taking in 17 villages with the furthest point west being Brixworth's marvellous Saxon church. At Pytchley I met the wonderful Rosemary Eady who has manned this church for as long as I can remember. 6 of us arrived at the same time which was the largest gathering I encountered all day. At Old I met a very nice lady who used to manage several British Shoe Corporation shops, and as I had been involved in shoe manufacturing before I retired, we had a great conversation about shoes and shoe retailing, and she told me she had sold many pairs of our shoes during her working life!
I had my picnic lunch in the porch of Sywell church. There was nobody manning this church; just the Register was there, so I relaxed in the shade of the porch and enjoyed the lovely view over the surrounding countryside.
My Eastern circuit started at Finedon church where I arrived at the same time as several magnificently dressed wedding guests. I felt very out of place, but there was a gentleman sitting on a bench on the edge of the graveyard who was looking out for cyclists, so I didn't need to get too near the church and wedding party. I had my tea sitting outside Woodford church. This church is at the bottom of a very steep hill, but the view from the bench outside the porch must be one of the finest in the county.
My furthest point east was Gt. Addington, and this circuit included the parish church of Grafton Underwood. Here the gentleman manning the register asked me if I would like the see their three new stained glass windows which have only recently been installed in the chancel. They are designed by the renowned artist Thomas Denny, and are quite magnificent. This was the only church I actually entered during the day, but what a treat, and the sun was shining through the back of one of these windows which made it absolutely stunning.
So there you have it. 59 miles cycled and 28 churches visited.
The weather was perfect and the event very well organised. Social distancing was maintained everywhere, and I had some delightful conversations with helpers throughout the day.
Let's hope lots of money has been raised for this excellent cause!
Nicholas Loake, Burton Latimer