Out of Northop via Green Lane we were busy warming up the thighs as we climbed up to Rhosesmor. There were a few dropped chains on this climb but nothing fatal. Onward and upward along Wern Road took us through Rhes-y-cae and to the outskirts of Lixwm. Lixwm was bypassed using a very narrow lane with just enough tarmac to be called a road. Crossing the B5121 took us down to the potential lunch stop of the Fox Inn at Ysceifiog. Dave H had suggested the Fox, as an early stop if the planned lunch stop at the Blue Bell Inn in Halkyn was a hill too far. Well it was shut; so we elected to take the double chevroned back road out to Caerwys. All made the hill successfully although Bryan doubted it was a proper double chevron more like a 1.5 version. Into Caerwys to find the Piccadilly pub, only to find that this was also closed. The second back up from Dave Hill of the local golf club proved successful and we had a sandwich lunch at a very quiet 9-hole golf club.
Off again up hill, we made the welcome turn eastwards to get the wind with us for the long largely straight up hill run back to Halkyn and a potential stop at the Blue Bell Inn. The views from Windmill hamlet on Halkyn Mountain were stunning in all directions with no hint of volcanic ash to spoil the panorama. Pulling up at the Blue Bell we found that was also closed. Three pubs all closed: has Wales gone teetotal? A fast descent back via Northop to the Gallery Tea Shop ensued and all of us, except the tandem (who had a puncture somewhere in Buckley but urged us onwards) tucked into welcome afternoon comestibles. A very fast Ivan-led run downhill back towards Chester finished off a very enjoyable and satisfying day – not a lot of miles on the circular route from Gallery Café (about 35 miles) but some 3000 ft of ascent and descent with a maximum altitude of just under a 1000ft. Distance from Chester and back just over 50 miles.
See route map and/or gpx file download.