Sunday, 16 March 2014

The White Horse at Cilcain

Second ride in March, Tim's ride to Cilcain.  Same as he planned last year, but was unable to lead.  Nearly a dozen of us met at the Town Hall - I had a text from Jo 'where are you' - she had inadvertently gone to Christleton Pond; and no sign of Tim our leader - Bob phoned - he was waiting at the Little Roodee (despite changing planned location a few days earlier).  Anyway, Dave and I waited for Jo, and the rest set off to find Tim.  Jo was soon with us and we actually caught them at the Roodee, setting off around the racecourse on the great cyclepath.

An opportunity to try the newly refurbished railway bridge crossing, with a runner for the bike - a bit awkward as quite close to the rails.  But we all managed it (John carrying two bikes - his husbandley duty!) emerging at Curzon Park gold club.  

Following the river, Tim had to stop as he had a puncture.  By now the sun is coming out and quite a pleasant morning it was turning out to be.  Out past Aerospace, and two March Hares were chasing each other around the field - very hard to photo as brown hares against a brown field - maybe I should have tried to film - they were there for ages!

We followed a lesser known route up through Mancot - quite a nice route as it is not so steep as most approaches to the village (town?) - bringing us to the Gladstone Library.  It was nice enough to sit outside in the garden, and Kath was sat waiting for us when we got there.

Out to Ewloe and then Northop before climbing up to Nosheen and John's - John changed his steed from his bike to a stepper-on-wheels - not sure what it is actually called.  Interesting steed!

More climbs to bring us to the top of the Halkyns, in glorious sunshine, fab views across to the Clwyds.  Just as we were about to descend I noted a flat front tyre - so my turn to fix a puncture.  Very peaceful as the whole group had already gone down the hill.  Then I had the 2 mile descent also and short climb to Cilcain and lunch (just in time) at The White Horse.  Again we sat outside.

The afternoon saw more down than up, with some spectacular descents.  As we came into Buckley, Kath pointed out the Elvis House.  After crossing the common we were talking about the old railway line - and came across an information board.  More info and pictures can be found here.

After Buckley we had a super drop to the roundabout, then a wonderful cruise to Hawarden (apart from last climb up) and then speedy drop to Hawarden Farm Shop just in time for coffee and cake - again sitting in the sun!

A final drop to the Sandycroft road and along to Saltney Ferry Bridge, with a marvellous tailwind brought a great end to a very enjoyable day.

Many Thanks to Tim, for a 40 mile ride.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Tigers Head at Norley

March - it has stopped raining for a few days, but today promised rain by 3pm.  Or so I was led to believe.  

Eight riders congregated at the Town Hall, before Hazel led us away up Northgate Street.  A nice mixture of faces that have not been out in a while, and some usual riders.  A lot of people seem to be on holiday.  No start photo - due to a coffee mistake I was still trying desperately to sup my hot black coffee at 10 past!

Time to go - Hazel getting ready to lead off

We made straight to morning coffee at Manley Mere, where we found John and Martin.  A very pleasant coffee break, discussing forthcoming rides in the year,and trying to explain to Martin that a night ride starting at 10pm is a good idea really!  (See June planned rides).

Then it was raining - a bit earlier than expected, but just damp really.  We climbed up to Manley common,then more ups and some great downs.  The area behind Manley, and Frodsham, sort of to the northish of Delamere is really very quiet and rolling - lots of hidden valleys, very pretty.

Climbing Manley hill

Top of Riley Bank (?)

We arrived at the Tigers Head, but there was another party in so lunch was a little delayed - very nice when it arrived.

As we were unlocking our bikes and making ready to leave, Tommy spied an apple tree, still laden with HUGE cooking apples - looking in good condition.  Just temptingly hanging easy to reach.....well, they have been there for a good 6 months, if they wanted them they would've taken them in by now....they won't miss a couple...

(I had a couple too - made a lovely apple crumble for my tea!)

From Norley we headed further East, towards Cuddington and Sandiway, eventually crossing the Whitegate Way near the station - where the bridge is currently out and under repair.  I do like the sign by the side of a steep flight of stairs advising cyclists not to ride them...

As we approached Little Budworth we passed a Pinfold (the sandstone wall on the left of this picture is actually an enclosed erm...enclosure where stray animals used to be rounded up and kept overnight.

These days I think it is used for stray cyclists after dark....

There used to be 153 pinfolds in Cheshire, apparently, although only 8 remain, and remains of 4.  You can see the co-ordinates on this Wikipedia page.

Might make a good ride to visit them all....?

Anyway, the weather didn't improve, and got decidedly soggy, as we gathered briefly by a mill pond - or is it called Mill Pond (I did not think it had a name, having looked on the map on a previous occasion).  Ducks were happy, though.

We cycled down two rather amusingly and quite image evoking lanes today - one in the morning called 'Offal Pit Lane'; and in the afternoon the more pleasant sounding 'Cheese Hill Lane'!

Many thanks to Hazel for a lovely and interesting route.  

Next Month - Tim's ride to Cilcain.