Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Tap at Eastham

Missing Links and Spare Links!

This pub is known to be a 'Bikers' pub, not for cyclists, but for our motorised cousins on two wheels.  There are three pubs listed at Eastham Ferry - The Eastham Ferry, The Montgomery and The Tap.  Having not been to any, I was guessing and relying on Trip Advisor.  Top Advice - don't even look at Trip Advisor!!

I always start with a weather report, today was jolly cold, but despite being a mere 1 degree, it was not icy.  We had hoped for Fridays blue skies and sunshine, but, Alas! just habitual grey skies and cold gloom, with intermittent dampness.

Spot Ian's pump in his front wheel, bottom right -
he was feeling a little deflated
before we even started!

We had two new faces to the group, which totaled 13 at the start.  

I also like to try to include local interest in our history timeline, and today we inspected the new Brook Lane Bridge.  This small road is a very busy link and was closed for a few weeks before Christmas, closing again on the 3rd Jan.  Last week they took the old bridge away, and I was able to commute past on the Greenway on Monday morning and see the lack of bridge.  These small things make me happy!

New Bridge (brand new, still has labels on!)

Very big crane

Anyway, clearly very impressed by this, we about-turned and headed the other way towards the canal; which reflected the gloom of the sky, only remedied by the lovely smooth surface we enjoyed - until it ran out past the Countess Country Park.  After much bumping and lumping, accompanied by the sounds of gunshots from Dale Camp, we reached the A41 where we left the canal and followed a usual route to Hosta Cafe.

After a pleasant refreshment time, where we met Ted from Two Mills (we invited him to sit with us as he was not riding with them today and consequently alone) and waved goodbye to Ian (date with a puppy) and Simon (selling his last Raleigh Chopper), we set of to the foothills of The Wirral.  Now we are 11.

We followed through the gated track near Dunkirk and The Missing Link, a route through Oaks Farm.  The farm yard was quite clean, but this is when Richard first felt the ominous soggy flat tyre moment.  He pumped it up but alas! it was not to be, so we left him with Gill (at their request) to sort themselves out, to save everyone getting cold.  (unfortunately a text message later informed me that 'one broken pump after nozzle snapped off and so used the two spare [tubes] and decided to head home').  Now we are 9.

We continued towards Eastham, bumping into Bob's brother (questioning what we were doing on the Wirral!) before going separate ways.  After a few back roads in Bromborough (sorry to the football lads I did not stop for, I guess we could've sat and waited for the field to empty?), we crossed the A41 and headed down to Eastham through Eastham woods and country park.

The Tap is not a pub as we know them.  They serve beer, yes.  But the food is more like a cafe at the back, a separate enterprise specialising in bacon butties and burgers.  And no-where to sit (despite phoning ahead to book a table(s) for 11.  But they allowed us and helped us to move tables and stools around, and were able to accommodate us.  We turned down the suggestion of sitting outside!  After lunch the tandem left us, now we are 7.

Not much view today from the Ferry

After a quick photo on the old harbour, we set off up the hill to Eastham Village; but when we got there we had no Dave!  Tony went back whilst I phoned him - his chain had broken as soon as we set off but he had not realised in time to shout to us.  We sent the men back to fix it while us ladies waited at the junction.  Good job we have a bike mechanic in our midst (although I am told it was a team effort with Tony's link extractor, Bob's spare link and Rod's 'expertise'!)

We continued towards Ellesmere Port (Great Sutton) and just before following route 70 (Cheshire Cycleway) down Mill Lane, we bade farewell to three more, worrying about light and energy levels.  Now we are 4, looking for a cafe.

M.S.C. Victory (1974)
I had planned to go to the Boat Museum, but forgot / didn't know it was closed until the 1st April.  As the Galley would not let us in (fully booked, apparently), we pondered where to go - and were treated to two of the four Manchester Ship Canal Tugs making their way up the canal.

M.S.C Viking

We headed to Cafe Rouge in Cheshire Oaks, not too hard to negotiate to and I know they do an afternoon tea and cakes offer, which we all enjoyed.  Sarah now headed directly home, and Bob, Dave and myself trundled the last few lanes through Stoak and Picton to Hoole and Home.

32 miles.  

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