Monday, 17 February 2014

Queens Head at Sarn Bridge

Since the start of the year it feels like it has not stopped raining.  There is widespread flooding on the Somerset Levels and surrounding counties, huge tidal surges leaving the coastal railway line in South Devon hanging in this air, and last Wednesday saw the windiest wind with gusts of up to 100mph, apparently.  It certainly brought a lot of trees down, and power was off across the country for 80,000 homes to start with.

In among these dark days, there have been fleeting days of quite nice weather - and today was certainly one of them!  My weather app on my phone kept stating sunshine, slightly warm 7-8 degrees and no wind - and that was exactly what I woke up to.

A few met inside MacDonalds, but when we came out there were several more waiting in the sunshine, bringing the total to 12.  Start up photo - but as Gill says there are so many lovely buildings and we have Maccers as the backdrop.  So next time, we will need to point in a different direction!

Setting off downhill over the Old Dee bridge,and up through Handbridge, to follow the road to Eccleston.  First glimpse of the Dee floods, not often noted before Eccleston, it was extensive across the meadows.  Just out of Eccleston we dropped down with the Welsh Hills as a backdrop.

We appear to have gathered a lonesome cyclist who followed through to the main road, and agreed yes, it is much easier in a group!

In Lavister we picked up Ruth and her husband, before using the back lanes by Darland.  More floods as the Alyn joins the Dee, and all the way along to Holt we could again see nothing but water with trees and fences submerged,and happy geese paddling around!

Hildegard's was only teas and coffees, which was fine, and a few split from the group after coffee, although we had a surprise edition as Kath met us there.

I had intended to head down the Welsh side of the Dee, through Bowling Bank and Pickhill; but given the amount of flooding we had already seen, I just was not sure we would get through.  In addition, Richard in the Queens head told me that the A525 at Bangor had been closed yesterday.  So instead we crossed the bridge into Farndon and followed the English side of the Dee.  Wow, what a lot of water in Farndon!!!

Crossing the bridge to Farndon


upstream - with the old boat house
up for auction on Wednesday!

at the bridge

I need to comeback in the summer and find this spot again

benches by the car park

Richard, Ian and Stu

I must admit to being slightly mesmerised by the amount of water - I do not think I have ever seen it so high!

As  we continued through Shocklach and to Worthenbury, the floods were equally notable to our right - again I have never seen the river from this road, but especially when we were about a mile from Worthenbury we stopped again, as the water was near to the road.

Just before Worthenbury we turned left, away from the river and the floods (so I shall stop going on about them now!)

Some lovely little lanes through Mulsford and through a flooded lane (sorry) which got my feet wet!  - before arriving at The Queens Head at Sarn Bridge.

After a leisurely lunch a few more headed home (as we were heading away from Wales that did not help people who live in Kinnerton and Rossett, so they went back).  We wended our way along the Wych brook, before crossing at Lower Wych and heading into Malpas.  This was when Ray said about Malpas Castle, so in true tourist fashion we pulled in by the church in Malpas, through an archway and up to the castle (Motte and Bailey)

On top of the Castle, behind St. Oswalds Church

Looking up to the top of the mound,
you have to know it is there!

After Malpas we headed north, saying goodbye to our new friend from Crewe.  Bob was not sure we would make the Teddy Bear Cafe, as we were heading into the sandstone ridge hills, but after a phone call I reassured the group we would be fine.

Another road flood near Duckington,and climbs and descents at Brown Knoll and Harthill.  However, the cafe was open and the views were fab from the top as we supped our tea's and coffees, and enjoyed late afternoon cake!
Nosheen encounters our last flood

selection of teddy bears at cafe

Approaching Maiden Castle

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The White Lion at Alvanley

I give upon post names - I have spent five years thinking of apt titles for ladies posts on ladies blog - so I think here I will try to just use destinations.

February 2014, it has rained nearly every day since the beginning of January.  Today was promising to be a sunny day, all day - not to be missed!

12 riders gathered in and round MacDonalds, and then gathered for a photo.  I asked a chap who was sat nearby to take one of all of us; but that is always more traumatic than seems reasonable!

We set off heading North, round fountains roundabout and down to the Greenway, following as
far as Kingsway, before coming off to join Mannings Lane and into the lanes.  We followed these(my old routes to work) passing a horse riding lesson before heading back at Stanney to Stoak and the lanes to Picton Gorse.  With an additional tiddle round Wimbolds Trafford, Dave had made a short route of 6 miles into an impressive 12 miles!

We met the Jupiter cycling club - a group from Elton who I suspect are really into speed - but I shared our details anyway.  After our coffees and tea's, we headed back into the lanes, climbing up the small hill into Dunham on the Hill, and skirting off towards the lanes round Mouldsworth, before climbing up Manley Common.  The great thing about that climb (apart from the views) was the descent that followed along the Ridgeway.  
View back down over Manley Common

Is that the top of the hill....?

no - this is the top!

View from the top, across Chester to North Wales, through a gap in the ridge.

One final climb brought us to Alvanley and the White Lion Inn.  Very nice food, busy but pleasant atmosphere.

Heading back I left the group just up the road, turning into School lane and heading for Manley.