Monday, 18 May 2015

The Dusty Miller at Wrenbury

This is the second ride led by The Cannons of Kinnerton (only last year Gill was away with the Fab ladies, leaving all the steering to Richard!).  

Start - at the Finish!
The first 10 miles were most eventful - ie they were full of events.  The Chester Half Marathon, which in it's ninth year was not the small event Gill anticipated!  But 12 riders made their way through the crowds, barriers and closures; an apt starting photo was taken behind the finishing line.

Chester's iconic Eastgate Clock is undergoing renovation this year, so I captured us riding underneath for posterity.  We continued out along the canal and to Boughton then Saighton.

to be fair - just looks like a club ride!

On the way was passed a road race, going the opposite direction, with a race car at the front.  Then another!  A third was poised at Saighton Grange, ready to lead another pack of racing boys (and I hope girls!) out on the route.
(Apparently the 'Steve Jones memorial road race'; run by Graham Weigh racing / Deeside Olympic)

Cow parsley in the lanes - my favourite!
Right at Farndon

Bellis's was our cafe of choice in Holt, for no reason other than space I think.  But they do not open until 11am (note to self, a 9:30 start will get us to Holt too early for Bellis's!)  so we retraced to Hildegard - for her last day.  Her scones were astounding!  We all wish her well as this is her final final day now before closing the shutters and heading back to Germany.  Her (and her scones) will be missed.

re-grouping at Malpas.  

Arriving at The Dusty Miller

After coffee break, we headed back over the Dee and into England, and followed many merry lanes around Malpas, No Man's Heath, Norbury, nearly Marbury to Wrenbury.  I sense a theme with these names!  'Bury' meaning 'a fortified place'.  We are in the borders here with Wales, so that makes sense.

Between Malpas and Wrenbury we were tangled up with what we thought was another race - but it was (just) a charity ride from Stoke to Llangollen and back (110 miles) - in aid of their local hospice.  They were just speeding past in a terrible hurry!
Bob doesn't usually do things
by halves...

Very nice food at the Dusty Miller, they were a little stretched as they were busy and some staff had let them down (not a great combination).  Originally a Corn Mill it was converted in the 1970's, and had an upgrade in 2011.

Cholmondeley - but a tad too early
for the Rhododendrons

We returned to cross the A49 and pass by Cholmondeley (for those who do not know, pronounced 'Chumley', and meaning ''Ceolmund's wood/ clearing'.)

reaching the top of Harthill

This brings us up over the back of the Sandstone Ridge, near Bickerton, to cross and climb Harthill - with the Teddy Bear Cafe in our sights!

Photos of all of us on the decking with superb views across to Liverpool and North Wales.

Of course, it is all downhill from here, with people heading off as we near their homes and villages.  

About 50 miles, many thanks to Gill and Richard for leading and Ray for some photos (that are not mine)

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Only for the Very Hardy...

...or "How to make a seventeen mile ride last three hours"!

Yes, the annual Treasure Hunt (and map reading) competitions, first Saturday of May.  Bank holiday or no bank holiday!  

Crossroads cafe at Trefnant
Despite emails, blogs, tweets, and facebook, only me from Chester turned up....the weather might have had something to do with it!  

Very few riders came, actually (eleven).  This year it was based in Trefnant, between St Asaph and Denbigh, only 40 mins from Chester by car.  It is a shame as Lowri puts a lot of work into it - the treasure hunt takes some time; but finding items for the map reading (in the case this year, water hydrants) takes a lot of riding, planning, and hunting!

We were all given two sheets for the treasure hunt - one to use and a spare in case the first got wet.  To be fair, mine looked more like a doiley at the end and I had to re-write the answers.

The key to good treasure hunting strategy is not to be caught at the clue writing the answer down.  I was last to leave, but soon caught up with a few (despite my snail's pace).  There was certainly a gathering at the post box in Tremeirchion, looking for the last weekday collection time.  I decided that stopping, gloves off, fishing for pencil, writing, putting pencil away, putting gloves back on was going to take me forever, and being slow anyway decided to use technology (my camera) instead - photograph the clue and write it up at the end. 
Rack and Pinion gearing;
St Asaph Corn Mill

Worked a treat!  It is a good job I invested in a waterproof camera (works up to 15m underwater - ideal for treasure hunting in Wales on a bank holiday!).

I caught up with most riders by clue number 15, a mileage question between Holywell and St Asaph.  It was actually an old milestone at the back of an old garage forecourt (I will find it next time).  Some were behind me, some came back.  I just cut my losses and carried on - and did not see anyone again until the end! 

The funny thing about treasure hunting is riding along reciting the clue to yourself, while trying to read every bit of writing you pass, including looking behind you.  You cannot just freewheel down the hills, and you may need to stop going up as well.  I find myself making up other clues as I go, for other answers.

The carving has wooden coloured trousers
 - not just pants as Glennys thought!

It was a lovely route, and quite a bit off the road too.  Some interesting sculptures and info boards - which you have to speed read, skimming for the name or date you are looking for (only to find the answer around the corner!)

 I met up with Lowri half way round - or rather she caught me up (and gave a couple of small hints of direction!).  Not content with organising and riding before and checking people in, she then rides the whole route, getting back before us.  Me, I would stay in the warm dry cafe!


Knights at the bridge into Rhuddlan

As I add these pictures, it surprises me how colourful they look,despite the continuous
 dampness and greyness of the morning!

At Rhuddlan the clue was to find evidence of [our] clubs history - I found one winged wheel
(which cheered me up) but missed the second.  

I think The New Inn  needs to re-paint the wheel with colour to help it stand out.

I completely missed the other one!

Criccin Farm, with Suffolk sheep
 - showing Suffolk sheep too!

The last bit was into a headwind, and I had to put my gloves back on (having warmed up earlier I had been able to manage without them.)  

I was wishing I had a large woolly sheep to shelter behind, too!
Too cold, wet and tired to do the map reading this time.  Went home to have a hot bath and then blog!