Another lovely summer's day - when will it end? Paraphrasing Bryan's explanation of why we start in the Gallery Café "Hawarden means hills" and so it was. Jim and Bryan were riding out for coffee only so I lead out Ray, Ivan, Martin, Steve and George on a 50 mile circular to the Plough at St Asaph. I figure that the main roads will be quieter just now so this is a chance to go on a few rather than duck around all the lanes. The idea was to follow the A541 out of Mold to Bodfari. Apparently this is the most dangerous road in North Wales but I only find this out the following morning! So off via Buckley and Altami we head for Sychdyn. Here Martin's front tyre goes flat; this being the second of the day as I had found my own tyre flat in the garage at home before I set out today. No more flats I instruct the group and they comply! Up towards Gwernaffield, we exit right down a delightful lane to Rhydymwyn just touching the A541 before climbing out to run parallel for a mile or so then back on the A541 for two miles before exiting through Nannerch. A similar approach here finds us back on the A541 just before Ddol. Now we have nearly 5 miles of a slightly downhill run at 20mph to Bodfari. A quick right takes us along to Tremerchion where the locals seem to be celebrating, in tableau format, various aspects of breakfast (and PG Tips + monkeys). (Bryan: cue picture and no comments pls!)
Photographs by Ivan Davenport
Taking the B road into St Asaph, we arrive at the Plough after 27 miles. Although it is a bit pricey (£1.50 for a L&S), the food is plentiful and enjoyable. Martin correctly predicts the return route will be using Rhuallt Hill Old Road. We exit the back way out the town to start the 3 mile uphill climb as we run parallel to the A55. The route back is predictable from here via Babel, but I add a twist by taking in Lixwm and Rhys-y-Cae before the fast run down to Northop. Here George splits for home as the rest of us run back into Hawarden where Martin drops off home. A 50 mile circuit with "only" 2,242ft of climbing but it felt considerably more to my legs! So as the four of us take the Dee path into Chester we will have 65 on the clock and I wonder if this the last summery day's ride? - next week will tell.