Months ago and sparked by a conversation about mental health at work I was asked to join Malcolm Hollis on their charity day, fund raising for Heads Together, the mental health charity in memory of their colleague Dan Pryke.
Setting off early as the mists rose we zig zagged across Cambridgeshire coming across the most fabulous countryside. You want to know deep joy – get on a bike, open your eyes and ears, and you can’t fail to appreciate the joys of spring and really get to understand the lay of the land. We passed settlements dating back to Neolithic times, skittish race horses turned out rugless for the first week of the season as we skirted Newmarket. We found unexpectedly steep hills 390 feet above sea level – and there’s me thinking Cambridgeshire and Suffolk were flat! Ancient hamlets, the odd home that would be at home in Country Life and definitely on my wish list, streams gurgling and an abundance of wild flowers and luscious green hedges all bursting with life. We had fast forwarded out of that dull cloak of winter and into to probably one of the most beautiful days of the year to be outside in the sunshine. A rare joy. Having just read Bill Bryson’s “Road to Little Dribbling” I had his anecdotes in my head and wished I could slow the journey to really appreciate the lie of the land but no, we had to crack on – and our estimated 103k – which grew with our various diversions and map reading vagaries had to be completed before sundown!
66 miles (103 k) meandering through the lanes of Cambridgeshire and Suffolk
A road well travelled does not the journey ease
Nor do well placed signposts aid our itineraries
A road well travelled is rough and rutted where
Others have passed by this way overburdened with their cares
A road well-travelled may be full of risks and dangers
You keep yourself unto yourself and never talk to strangers.
This road well travelled has no final end in sight
It can be sunny in the daytime but quite frightening at night
This road well travelled can sometimes just disappear
And you stop not knowing where to go shivering with fear
This road well travelled sometimes returns you to its start
And leaves you walking round in circles with a sad and heavy heart.
My road well travelled has many toll gates on the way
Each time I ask directions there’s a need to always pay
My road well travelled is a lonely road at times
It is a real road that I know it’s not just a state of mind
My road well travelled is not just my road you see
It’s a road that many others take and it’s called anxiety.
“A road well Travelled” by David Keig