Today was all about finding a pub that was open at lunchtime for food. The target was an unknown pub in Prees, but more later. As it promised to be a sunny dry day, there was a crowd at the Ice Cream Farm. Bryan was in civvies mode and Dave M in recovery mode. So the rest of us (Roy, Dave H, Ray, Brian, Trevor, Tony H, Tandem Duo and I) set off bound for Prees via Whitchurch. Up around Burwardsley and Harthill we find the lane to Cholmondeley closed off for water works but still open for bikes. We circle Moss Wood to Swanwick Green and onto Marbury. Up some new lanes to Hollyhurst, we enter Whitchurch close by the station. We exit via a dead-end road to cross the busy A525 towards Brown Moss conservation area. The Tandem Duo wave us on so we amble through the shady Brown Moss area.
More on the pubs; Brian's phone call to his mate reveals that the Prees pub is closed (later confirmed as 3 years ago), the Horseshoes in Tilstock doesn't do lunch, so he suggests the Raven on the A41. We stop across the dual carriageway from it and there is not much enthusiasm despite it being pint time. I offer the Olde Jack at Calverhall that is unanimously accepted as a better alternative to the Raven.
|Whitchurch Canal Basin|
Retracing our route, we come across the tandem bound for the A41. The Olde Jack does us proud proffering a large bowl of free chips when I protest that my meal is without them. After lunch, we re-access the prepared route via Coton. The pub here was the original lunch venue but a web search mysteriously revealed that it was either shut or open! - it was shut as we rode by bound for Alkington and Whitchurch again.
Photograph by Clive Albany
We join the towpath at Whitchurch canal basin and exit at Grindley Brook. Going north, we shimmy left and right across the A41until past the Bell o" the Hill pub I offer a route diversion. Back a shorter way or onwards via Malpas. The call of the Ice Cream Farm is too strong and we arrive back to meet up with Dave and Liz. They had eschewed the Raven and taken lunch at the truck stop next door, and very good it was according to Dave.
Today, Tony H was back with us after his extensive long distance practicing in the US, Trevor had new tyres and tubes, and Roy was a ridiculously strong rider, but then he is half our age! So 54 miles of British Summer weather and quintessentially English lanes - a good day to be out in the saddle.