I had ridden out to Hildegard's with Ivan. His Garmin told him he was running his heart up to 166 beats/min - so that's why we got there so quickly! No one had prepared a route, so I offered to make one up "on the tyres" towards Ellesmere. So Steve, Dave H, Paul, Ivan and myself set off with the Tandem Two bound for Wetreins Lane (mercifully "repaired") and Tilston. Here the tandem sanctioned an early split by making their own way to the favoured Red Lion. We duck down to Chorlton bound for a reverse Dymock's Mill transit to cross Wych Brook. This transit is best made from south to north, but was OK today since it was dry under tyre. Out through Talland Green, we head for Little Arowry and Hanmer. We discover that the "Hanmer Arms" is closed and up for sale! Rejoining the A539 for a short while, we dive off left down a narrow grass-centred lane Welshampton way. Just off the main road in Welshampton I notice an even narrower and grass centred "lane" towards Colmere so up and down it we go. In the dip by the canal and the mere, we find a beautiful thatched cottage: the cue for a Lord Litchfield moment.
Photograph by Clive Albany
Turning right on the outskirts of Colmere, we find another lovely lane taking us to Spunhill and the main drag into Ellesmere. As ever the Red Lion is welcoming and the food is plentiful, tasty and excellent value on the Pensioners Two Course special. Very soon the tandem appears to join us for lunch. Bizarrely they have covered a mile further than we did to get to the pub. The weather has improved as I guide the group back along my favourite lanes to Farndon. Only 40 miles round trip today with only one off-road lane, plus two grass centred lanes. On a day that started out with wet roads, but just got better as the day progressed, I shall nevertheless need to wash the bike - sometime soon.