Sunday, 30 August 2015

Caernarfon re-visited

When you have devised a lovely route, it is worth repeating; and when said route is far away, so on unfamiliar lanes and takes you into the heart of Snowdonia, then it has to be done.

Back by popular demand - and certainly it was popular as nearly twenty of us gathered in the car park in Caernarfon.  Selfie stick at the ready!

First stop, under the shadow of the impressive castle, is the toilet stop.

Then we head out past the station (or Gorsef, as noted on the sign in this picture) to pick up the old railway line now known as Lon Eifion

This pretty ex-railway line runs alongside the Welsh Highland Railway, small trains from which can be spotted en route to Beddgellert.

We passed again through the rough track past the farm, still sporting several fine peacocks.

Soon we were heading alongside Llyn Cwellyn, past Snowdon Ranger youth hostel and station, with views to Snowdon on our left.  Then the still marvellous descent of a few miles into Bedgellert.  

We had not been able to stop at the wee dutch pancake cafe this year, as there were too many of us; so I stocked up with a pie from the newsagents in Beddgellert whilst we waited for a few of the gang to turn up (there had been a mechanical query at the top of the hill).

The descent along the B4418 from Bedgellert is absolute joy.  It drops gently but enbough to pick up a decent speed, alongside the river and deep cuttings.  It is hard to capture on photos!  Just as hard as the slowly emerging purple heather, just coming out in late August.

(if you click on any picture, you can see them all full screen)

We did finally stop for a long break at a new fisheries, with a splendid cafe - Caffi Cedron, and a selection of lakes, which look like they are from the old mine workings.

It was then too close to also stop at Criccieth, but a photo overlooking the town and prominent castle is a must!

A view of another fabulous descent - although busy at the bottom, so does not afford the momentum needed to climb back up past the castle!

Queuing for a cuppa

Bike parking

After the road climbs out of the back of Criccieth, it undulates and winds across the armpit of the Lleyn Penninsular, parallel to route 8 until we join it again and re-group at Inigo Jones, cafe and slateworks.

The end of the line

The final approach to Caernarfon is the most dramatic, the lane turns sharp right opposite Caernarfon airport (yes, there is!) it follows the course of the Menai Straits for a few miles, before another swing to the right to come face to face with the castle in all it's glory.  I think the tide was in more last year, but we stopped for a few photos (could not gather everyone together)

Turning the final corner

In order to take a selfie, you need to take a test shot (with a large group) to check it
includes everyone.  Hence the funny face.  Then everyone scarpered...

...except Me, Dave and Nosheen!

The end of the ride - but not the end of the night!

After returning to the car park, some bid farewell, and the rest either changed, parked bikes in cars (or both) and we re-convened at the Black Boy for a few drinks before heading to the curry house!  Too many (and some very bad) photos to feature here!

Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Bridge Inn at Chirk

Nine of us left the Town Hall to head for Kinnerton via Lache Lane only to find the road closed at Balderton AHB crossing after a short detour we meet up with Kath and Stu.

Continuing on route through Barton Green and Llay where we entered Alyn Waters Country Park where we had our coffee stop. 

After coffee three departed due to other things we carried on up to Summerhill through Southsea, Coedpoeth and past Nant Mill and on to Penycae before joining the canal tow path at Trevor to cross the Pont Cysylite Aquaduct and carry on towards Chirk going through tunnel past Chirk Marina.  When we got to the Chirk tunnel a few riders opted not to go through so i took then on an alternative route to the other side where we all meet up again before crossing the Chirk Aquaduct before going to the Bridge Inn for lunch where Paul joined us. 

After lunch we cycled through Chirk before joining the A5 for a short distance before joining the canal tow path for a second crossing of the Pont Cysylite Aquaduct continuing onto Ruabon passing Middle Sontly and then Marchweil, 

Due to a late departure from lunch it looked like we would miss our tea stop but all was saved as Kath kindly offered to provide at hers, after quick alteration to route we skirted Wrexham then going via the Flash to Gresford through Burton back to Kinnerton for tea, heading back to Chester via Bretton and the river. 

Many thanks to Kath for the afternoon tea stop


Also thanks to Ray for the photos and Dave for leading and sending me some words! Sue

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Train assist - The Guelder Rose at Southport

This year we thought we would try something a little different, and it was an idea borne over a pint n the winter months - to take the train to Liverpool and cycle the other side of the water.  Bob took up the challenge,and in August the meeting point was Chester Station.

Merseyrail is a very bike friendly company, no apparent limit to bikes on trains (as long as you don't cause a nuisance, I guess), and today we were particularly lucky.  It was also Chester races, so extra carriages had been added to the usual 3-car set up, giving us even more space!

First time in a lift with a bike (for some)

There was a real air of excitement as the train was boarded, will everyone get on!

I wish blogger would let me put pictures side by side!

Anyway, we arrived, and offloaded onto the platform- letting the other passengers escape before we started to man (and woman) handle the bikes out of the station.

By the power of my selfie stick!

There are no lifts at James Street - well, there are but very small!

We used the escalators, which are much steeper than they look, and a long way up!

It is one thing to get on at the bottom, you then spend the journey woking out how to get off at the other end.  Nosheen and I were quite daunted (after I took the photo), but we both managed it - as Dave sailed back down the other side to help her!  Quite comical really!

Riding through the early streets of Liverpool, just coming to life, then along the dock roads, are all iconic.  

Docks and warehouses, a surprising change of view,
and so close to the city centre
However, after some short micro navigation of the side streets, we emerged at the seafront at Crosby, home to Antony Gormley's 'Another Place' (the sculptures of the men looking out to sea).  I have always wanted to see this, so we paused for a little while, as the ferries crossed in front of us.

We had to move on, and we followed the coast path, and the coast.  It was a lovely day, and we passed all the Antony Gormleys at their various locations up and down the beach; some being photographed by cheeky women taking an opportune pinch of an iron bottom!

Along the sand dunes on the coastal path, ending up at Formby for elevenses (although by now it was about midday).  Bob's original plan had been a cafe in Crosby, but they were small and had no space for 14 cyclists!

We also had very long delays and confusions here - although a nice late brunch was enjoyed by some, others nearly got nothing at all.

More sanddunes and cyclepaths, and as we reached the sea it started to rain - although you could stilljust about make out Blackpool Tower.

Honest. (Bob is pointing nearly at it).

OK, look carefully at this zoomed cropped image...

Look, there....
(click on the photo to view it)

We finally landed in Southport, a busy seaside town, and the start of the Trans Pennine Trail.

The Guelder Rose, Southport

We made our way to The Guelder Rose, a very busy pub/restaurant full of families, all having late Sunday lunches.  Nice food, and room for all.
Nothing wrong with
scampi & chips!

After lunch, which was quite late, I made a last minute decision to join Dave on an earlier train home; he was working and I really needed to be back.  Our train was initially delayed due to aforementioned races; but then came in and was a direct train to Chester with no stops!

Ray's photos tell the story of the rest of the ride...