Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The White Horse at Overton

A group of 6 left the Little Roodee car park heading toward Hildegard's via Saighton and Aldford.  The weather was fine and sunny but with a fresh breeze that made gillets and long sleeves welcome.  We came across a cycle race going around the Saighton circuit.  Thankfully in the opposite direction.  There were two peletons complete with accompanying cars before and behind each group.  They passed us twice - yes, they were going that fast !  

Five more riders joined us at Hildegards where we had the pleasure of sitting outside and resorting to covering our heads with any shade we could muster.  

The breeze picked up on the second leg down to Overton on Dee and we were all glad to get to the White Horse on the main street.  A couple of the group were delayed further by a slow puncture just before Overton.

[pic D.Browne]

It was worth it - an excellent carvery roast dinner .... and great real ale.  Definitely recommended if you are down near Overton. We had the wind behind our backs for the return ride to Holt and the group easily made a steady 16-17 mph back up to Bangor on Dee.   We resisted the temptation for a further pint at Bangor and wheeled our bikes across the old stone bridge.  Everything looked idyllic in the afternoon sun.  We then cut through the narrow back lanes that run alongside the river Dee accessed via the aptly named Sun Lane.

I guess this is the full gang....!

Afternoon tea was taken at Bellis garden centre and again we found ourselves looking for the shade as some of the group indulged in substantial ice cream sundae's that made us all jealous.  We made it back to Chester for 5.15.  An excellent day all in all.  Thanks for everyone for their participation and good company.

Gill (on facebook) says "What a beautiful day it was yesterday. Ian took us through the quietest pretty lanes between Holt and Overton with the best ever carvery lunch in The White Horse. Thanks to Ian for a really great day out."

Monday, 5 May 2014

Attingham Park car assist

Ducklings [J.Atherton]
Car assist [Kahr uh-sist] noun employing the use of automobiles to help the cyclist reach a different part of the country, in order to explore further afield, and find more cake.

Gill C writes:

"Richard and I met up with the others at Colemere Country Park. Martin's ride was about 45 miles and virtually all downhill - I have no idea how that is possible, but great after a late Saturday night! 

We had morning coffee in Shawbury and then across to the National Trust property, Attingham Park, where as a bonus you got free entry as a cyclist. 
Moreton Corbet Castle [J.Atherton]

Martin checking route back [J.Atherton]

After a longer than usual lunch stop so we could take in a little of what Attingham Park had to offer we set off on the return journey with stunning views over the rolling countryside of Shropshire. The only real incline of the day was up to Clive with a beautiful church at the top of the hill. 

[Photo Stu] - Clive.

At the top of the hill in Clive [Photo Gill C]
A short ride then to The Tilley Raven where we sat outside as we had managed all day and even managed to talk some politics! A short hop then back to Colemere. 

That would be the Tilley Raven then [Photo Stu]
Richard and I had never been in this area before but thanks to Martins introduction we will go back."

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Treasure Hunt and Map Reading competitions

If you look carefully on the left,you will see Lowri handing out instructions & collecting money

Each year Lowri organises two events for the cycling calendar - the hill climb and freewheel in October, and the treasure hunt and map reading in May.  The last couple of years these competitions have been part of the Welsh Festival, which was held in Ruthin 2012/2013, so this year saw the return to Gwersyllt for the TH and MR comps.

Treasure Hunt - this is held in the morning.  Despite my best efforts of email and facebook, we only have 4 from Chester (Jenny from the ladies, Gerald and Sue with tandem and myself).  We gathered from 9:00 and queued for coffee, whist perusing the laminated map of the route (directions are also on the clue sheet) and read the instructions.

Jenny and I were last to set off (you can compete individually or in teams of two), but we soon caught up with a few others in a bluebell lined lane behind Alyn Waters - as they retraced as they had missed a clue.  We were going quite slow and steady, which meant minimal backtracking.  

A lovely ride through Alyn Waters to bring us into Llay, and then off into the lanes after the lights, and a super downhill (which did mean we missed the full title of Quarry bank farm - something to do with where you keep your money underground).

Glyn, Dave and Tony

Jenny not by the next answer

Tony and Glyn catching up again

We carried on to Burton and did a circuit with lots of clues, before crossing the railway line into Rossett.  You had to keep an eye on the gate for one clue.  Then we had a bit of a ride up Marford hill and down to Hoseley, past the expensive monopoly (Park Lane) and round towards Gresford.  
Not the answer to 'Letter at 4 ft'

Stone stile

We let Darryl (from Prestatyn) carry on past the left turn into vicarage lane, and knew he would soon realise his error and retrace.  He had already met us about three times going back for clues he had missed.  We were all a bit stuck by Gate House Farm, looking for who supplied their milk (the sign had been taken down three days earlier!) when Darryl found us - and we were joined also by Andy (from Wrexham) and Ifor (from Menai) as we headed for the Pant Yr Ochain pub, and over the main road on a footbridge.

'How many animals can you see...?'
Ifor and Darryl do their sums (don't forget, two sides to the sign!)

Nearly back now, another long stretch after a clue about who you recycle with, back to Gwersyllt.  Jenny and I saw the answer to the Civic Trust Award but noted Darryl looking at the school further on - so I cycled merrily passed humming a little hum (he knew then he had missed it).

Team Fab - came 4th out of 4 but had a good laugh!

We had a jolly time over lunch, asking about answers and recounting our adventures and wrong guesses, and then plotting routes for the map reading.

Map Reading - for this competition you are given a long list of grid refs, 6 figure, and instructions of what you will find there - last time it was post boxes, which all have a unique number on.  This time there was going to be a signpost and all we have to do is write down the furthest and closest distances.  Points are awarded for the correct answers - but nearby clues are only 1-2 points, whereas I decided to head to the hills for the 8 pointer.

Penrhos Engine House ruin - up one of the hills
Hills indeed!  No-one else went my way so I was on my own, checking the map, working out the best route to get to Bwlch Gwyn and back in the two hours we were allowed (15 mins planning and two hours riding - but I was late finishing my huge breakfast!).  Up I went - up through Summerhill, down to Moss Valley, up again.  Up to Brynteg, down to Southsea and up to Brymbo - and up!  Drop to B road and then final up to Bwlch Gwyn. 

Found the signpost (after standing underneath it for a minute looking up and down the road for it!) and noted distances.

Now to get back - it has taken me nearly an hour to get here, and although it should all be downhill, I have less than 40 mins!  Quick!

The secluded and hidden Moss valley

I dropped back down to the B road, climbed up nearly to Brymbo, then skirted off left for a change.  A lovely route back, dropping downhill nearly all the way, came a different way into Moss Valley with a gentler climb and then final drop to Gwersyllt - with 10 mins to spare!

As everyone came back and handed their answer sheets in,another chance for a coffee and a catch up.  Then time for the results and prize giving!  (photos from this will be on the Chester & North Wales website very soon)

Gerald and Sue won some prizes -
awarded by Mike our trusty president!