….and thanks to Ron for such an excellent route.
Fifteen of us set off on a chilly but very sunny morning at 8am from the Red Barn. We added another when Brian joined us just before Loppington, and a brisk pace was set to our first stop at Hanmer Mere.
A couple of miles later, we topped a ridge to see the Cheshire “plane” spread out ahead of us, the Welsh hills to our left and, in the distance, I swear I could see the Dee estuary. We meandered about the “flat” landscape in a big loop, passing within 5ml of Chester to our lunch stop at Old Ma’s Cafe near Tetenhall. Luckily we were first there because the service wasn’t exactly speedy, though we were as we passed, to groans, the Ice Cream Farm down the road.
We soon encountered the only real climb of the day, between Beeston and Peckforton castles, which finished with half a mile on probably the worst surface on an A-road in the country – the A534 Nantwich-Wrexham road (my posterior still aches from the battering!). The route meandered SW past Malpas to rejoin the outward route for a few miles, before heading SE toward Whixall Fen – and, no, we did not get lost!
A toilet/water stop in Wem provided a brief respite, though I felt my legs were bearing up surprisingly well – the B-rides I’d done over the last couple of weeks had obviously helped. We sped along the last few miles passing Sleap Airfield, which was busy, and shedding riders at regular intervals as they made their own way home. We were down to about half a dozen as we entered Shrewsbury, and I actually had Ron on my wheel as I rode up Belle Vue!
Thanks, again, Ron for an excellent ride (how do you manage to remember a route that long?) – look forward to a repeat (?) in September.