The cold February rain started before even reaching Ness Gardens, but things brightened up when I found the amazing number of 10 hardy cyclists raring to go. (See photo)
Photographs by Brian MacDonald
It was good to see Tony back for only his third ride and Janet was also joining us for a while. As I was giving my briefing on “1,000 years of War in Wirral”, Dave H & Jim turned up on bikes out of the mist, but only for the coffee.
We set off at a moderate pace to warm up, along Mill Lane, through Willaston to the first of the wartime sites – the 1960’s R.O.C. (Google it) underground nuclear bunker now completely covered by grass in Raby. Passing through the edge of the possible site of the battle in 932AD between the visiting Vikings and the local Angles at Brombrugh (modern Bromborough) we went north through Thornton Hough, and Barnston. A brief stop was had at the early Viking parliament hill at Thingwall, similar to Tindwald on the I O M, Tingwall on Shetland & Thingvellir on Iceland. Janet left us shortly after as we continued North through the dank and miserable day, passing Irby Mill where George had a puncture.
Delayed for 40 minutes and frozen to the quick, I cut short the route past the false WWll town built on the Dee estuary to fool enemy bombers. Instead we continued North through Greasby & Saughall Massey. Did anyone notice on the roadside the remains of the concrete entrances to RAF West Kirby? Here, thousands of recruits passed through on their basic training (including Mike M’s uncle) before going off to die. Shortly afterwards we had a difference of opinion with a Corsa driver in Moreton; probably one of Brian’s past pupils with a long memory from 1972.
Joining the sea wall at Leasowe Lighthouse, we set off east at a faster pace just to keep warm. To commemorate the Queens recent official opening at New Brighton, a photo was taken of the CER in colour co-ordinated formation. (See 2nd photo)
We past Perch Rock Fort built in 1829 to keep out the French. They never came to fight the Scousers. Turning south along the Mersey, we were met by a bitter headwind. The Magazine Brow pub tucked behind Vale Park was a warm haven. A welcome refuge on our first visit, this is a rabbit warren of rooms. The beer was good, the staff were friendly but the meals were still coming out for the 9th cyclist, as the first were finishing. I still think it’s worth a return visit.
Suitably refreshed we headed diagonally across Wirral, through Birkenhead Docks and Park, Oxton, Storeton and Neston where Brian turned off. A cold historic 36 miles back to Ness Gardens and folks said they enjoyed the ride, which is what it’s about.