Steve Tan accompanied me by car from Runcorn. It was a mild, calm morning at Manley Mere. We were soon gathered around with Wirral Paul, Ray, Brian Mac, Steve H, Jim, Dave M, Roy and welcome warm drinks. Dave and Liz then joined us with their tandem: eleven in all.
As usual the climb up Sugar Lane had some of us breathing too hard, too early. Dutton Locks were reached via New Pale and Waterloo, down pretty Dark Lane to Kingsley and out again on Roddy Lane, taking Crewood Common Road to the path along The Weaver. At Dutton Locks I rang The George and Dragon to confirm my provisional 12:30 booking and finalise numbers for lunch. As I put my phone away Dave discovered that his tandem front tyre was soft. It was an obscure puncture, so despite Dave’s usual efficiency it was another half hour before we were winding up Friar’s Rough from The Trent and Mersey Canal, before crossing the A533 on Ash Tree Lane. The ride so far had been slow, with the hilly initial stage followed by a river path and a puncture. Plan B was called for now, my original meandering intentions were switched to a brisk, direct push for Comberbach and lunch at Great Budworth. We were only a little late.
Photograph by Brian MacDonald
Lunch was generally enjoyed with good company and friendly service in lovely surroundings. However, some of us weren’t impressed by our pig, fat and apple slurry baguettes.
Our return was through Budworth Heath and Antrobus. On crossing the A559 we wandered south down small scenic lanes: Well Lane, Scotch Hall Lane, Barrow Lane and Hall Lane. Eventually, we reached the Weaver through Little Leigh. After climbing steeply to Acton Bridge we turned off through the attractive hamlet of Onston, and then to the Delamere switchback via Norley. The usual sting in the tail was the climb past The Goshawk, before sweeping swiftly down Manley Road. We had safely beaten the dusk with 36.6 miles completed. Short and sweet.