It was very encouraging to see two bikes at the Ness Gardens RV before I arrived at 10:30. I thought that folks are eager to get going, always a good sign. By the 11:00 KO, we had Clive on his virgin Trek bike, the two Bri(y)ans, Dave P, Jim, Liz, Ivan and a warm welcome to Phil, joining us for the first time.
As this ride was billed (by Jonathon Ross) as www “wandering wound Wirral”, we set off East over the peninsula, past Bromborough GC to the forgotten Victorian playground of Raby Mere. Then it was up the steepest hill in Wirral (all 100 yards long) to Poulton Lancelyn, where we turned north through Brackenwood and on to Lord Levers farm at Storeton. From there it was 4 miles of residential development (& Birkenhead) past Brian’s alma mater and an old girlfriend’s house. Where is Marie now?
Just before lunch, the sun shone on the righteous, down by the sandy beaches of the Mersey. All true, check out Seacombe beach at low tide. Lunch was had in the Egremont Ferry Hotel, washed down with an excellent Cains again.
After lunch, we continued anti-clock along the Wirral foreshore, passing the huge redevelopment mess at New Brighton; what’s that about? Then the ride along the North shore made it all worthwhile………….. sun on our faces, no wind, a traffic free cycle way and one of Mother Natures most spectacular sights, tens of thousands of starlings in a “murmuration”. (You got fit and educated on this ride.) We continued round the bend (literally) at Hoylake and then paralleled the Dee, riding south through the middle of Wirral, passing Caldy, Irby, Barnston, Leighton, Little Neston and back to Ness Gardens, all avoiding the busy A540. A sunny and very pleasant 41 miles. Thank you to everyone who made it easy after my unforeseen absence.
As Phil was on his first ride with the group and not yet up to speed Bryan and Phil embarked on a shorter version of the main ride aiming to join the others for lunch at the Egremont Ferry at 12.45pm. Leaving the others to visit Raby Mere we headed straight to Raby and Thornton Hough along the lanes and then on to Storeton where the main group passed us on their way to Birkenhead Park. Not to be outdone we made a fast descent down to the centre of Birkenhead with the intention of circling the park before heading for lunch. Half way round the main group appeared heading in the other direction! We decided to follow but were dropped after a mile. Now there is only one way from where we last saw them to Seacombe and that’s the way we went but there was no sign of them when we arrived: until a few minutes later they turned up having failed to find a mythical crossing of the docks! So much for local knowledge.
After a good lunch at the Egremont Ferry pub (don’t be put off by the external appearance) we followed the others through New Brighton before turning away from the coast at Dunes onto NCR 56. This should have been an easy route, but with major road works under the motorway flyover necessitating a poorly signed diversion followed by a new B&Q built across the route we began to think that we would never leave Bidston. Once back on course we headed for Thingwall, Barnston and Parkgate where we joined the Wirral Way for the last stretch back to Ness Gardens where we arrived just before 5.00pm.