Cold, crisp and even was the day's weather with the sun out all day and no wind to speak of. There were eight of us at Ness Gardens café (Bryan, Ray, George, Liz and Dave P, Dave H, Jim and me) and the group were easily satisfied with the promise of the flattest ride ever, so much so that no one asked the distance! I fancied an anti-clockwise Wirral periphery ride, viz keep the water on your right hand side as much as possible. So we set off on time to access the Wirral Way via the half a mile railway cutting on the edge of Neston on our way to Childer Thornton. Here we have to negotiate a deeply flooded road on the way to Eastham Ferry where we pause to watch a small tanker vessel slowly motor past.
Photographs by Bryan Wade
Then we access the start of the newly sign-posted Wirral Circular Way. This part of the route is the reverse of what we took on our way back from the Beatles Tour ride. Today it was well signposted as we wiggled left and right through housing estates and along the river side. We have to use the pavement at Bromborough Pool to avoid the A41 itself. Eventually we arrive at Birkenhead Priory close by Woodside ferry. Weaving around the ferry station, we keep close to the water with wonderful views across the Mersey to Liverpool, before emerging by the swing bridge and onto the prom at Seacombe Ferry. It was then a pleasant ride to New Brighton itself. I did not have a pre-planned lunch stop but the Sea View Café did us proud and most of us enjoyed inexpensive good wholesome food served quickly and with a smile. It must be a good place because it was very busy. No ale today, so Ivan would have been disappointed.
The route back is familiar to all as we spin along the maritime cycle path towards Hoylake. Here turning into the main drag we lose the tandem who we assume we will shall see at the roundabout. No sign of them so we assume they are ploughing on to access the Wirral Way in West Kirby. We take the rail side cycleway and when at Grange Road phone the missing duo. A puncture - will be with you in "four minutes" - obviously time runs differently for the Pipe family. Eventually they arrive and we wend our way past dogs and their owners towards Parkgate and Neston. Dave H had decided to go ahead and we meet up at Ness gardens. The sun is setting and the temperature is falling to near zero. Bryan, Ray and I head for Chester via Burton and Puddington and the others get into their warm cars. About 39 circular miles (60 plus for those Chester bound) and 1,395 ft. of climbing - even a flat ride is hillier than you might expect.