Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Crown at Pantymwyn

We did not have a leader allocated for today's ride, so I spent 10 minutes Sat night plotting a little 40ish mile route round, avoiding a foodie festival at Hawarden and the food and drink festival in Mold.  I think everyone in the vicinity must have been at these two extravaganza's; I don't think I have ever seen such quiet lanes, even for a Sunday!

Selfie group photo at the start(ish)
A late email and some holidays (not to mention an intrepid LEJOG* by Dave Bob and Ray; to be joined today by Kath, Stu and Nick) possibly meant low number turn out - three of us to be precise (and Darren turned back at Hope).  But it is not always about quantity, but quality!

Nosheen negotiating steps by
Chester Racecourse

View upstream from railway bridge.
Tiny colour changes in some trees

Chester was quiet, a few tour groups setting off.  We headed to the river and followed around to the railway bridge - a new one for Darren.  Using some of the winter evening (unofficial) circuit route we headed for the donkey sanctuary, and fortunately there were no closed rail crossings today.  

With a climb after the Royal Oak in Kinnerton, we dropped to Jemoleys at Pen-y-Ffordd.  as I passed the open kitchen window I heard a cry of 'hooray, cyclists!' (not mirrored by the young girls face at the till until I reassured her there was only three of us!)

Mandatory cake photo

Darren and myself

Nosheen and hot chocolate

...with all the trimmings!

After coffee (and cake/toast) break, we headed for the station, and a little lane just after which affords lovely views of Hope Mountain across the valley.  We waved goodbye to Darren (prior engagement) and carried on down pigeonhouse lane to come out on the main Mold Wrexham road.

Not for long, as we headed left and up a short hill, to then follow more contours to Leeswood.  Or rather, contoured for a bit then massive descent to the 'sunspot' road as I call it (there used to be a garage at the top called the Sunspot.  One day when I have time and I can find it, I will scan it in and share it with you).

Climb in Leeswood; then more lovely contours before a wonderful drop to come out alongside the magnificent gates of Leeswood Hall - we think the gates are bigger than the house!
Leeswood white gates and screen; attributed
to Davies Brothers of Wrexham; they also
made the golden gate at Eaton Hall and
Chirk Castle (to name a few)

We then followed more contours, overlooking Mold, before a sudden and very sharp double arrowed corner.  Bit of a shock to the system!

More contours, past Plas Hafod, and a final climb and last drop to The Crown.  Someone said you have to book, it gets very busy.  Not today.  But a lovely young lady called Ashley looked after us, and after a refreshing break we set off - what can only be described as mostly down with some wonderful contours through leafy lanes.  I caught a few whiffs of wild garlic on our travels.  Not an autumny feel at all, not yet.

Moel Ffamau in the distance

We dropped to the Mold Denbigh road at Rhydymywn, and headed left for a short while before turning in right to what looks like a quarry but with a sneaky little lane off to the right.  Steep.  But also muddy in parts, so when I started to wheelspin, I lost it and had to walk.  Short walk to the top of the hill - very short drop on the main road to left and again we contoured and descended.  I was expecting a reciprocal climb - but no- we arrived in Northop with only a promise of downhill-all-the-way-home!  (except Nosheen, who had a two mile climb from there - sorry!)

Flint bridge.  Power station to the left.

I dropped down to Connahs Quay via Kelsterton Lane, which lands almost underneath the Power Station.  I then followed route 5, nice and easy; to cross the river with the railway again.  I followed the river for a short way, then took a left after the main road bridge, as I have not used the link to the Greenway before.  Nice to get a new lane or track in when you can!

Shotton railway bridge and steelworks
building in distance.

Blue bridge at Hawarden

Different approach to the Greenway blue bridge

The sunshine that was promising first thing this morning had given way to grey clouds for the day before I had even left.  As I headed home it seemed to get even darker.  But it was a marvelously green day despite the gloom!

44 miles.

* Lands End John O Groats

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