We arrived at Ness on another lovely summer morning. Many had ridden the Greenway, and up the steep climb from The Marshes. We were well ready for a cuppa. Seeing that it was my birthday I treated myself to a large sausage sarnie. Jim was doing a Dave Matthews again, although his excuse was domestic chores not exotic foreign cycling adventures. He was soon off to France and Diane likes the inside of the windows to gleam so that any possible burglars won't be complaining on Trip Advisor. The free men for the day were: Dave P, Dave H, George, Keith, the two Steves, Ray, Clive, Trevor, Tom, Ivan and, of course, Liz. We were hoping that the Wirral Wizard, Brian Mac would appear in order to take care of the route, but we were grateful to Clive, as so often, for being willing to lead.
The route took us into Neston and through the sandstone cutting of the Wirral Way. It was a pleasure to cruise along the scenic sun-dappled path, although a bottle of wine and extra time and penalties, watching Holland and Argentina the night before, meant that my body was hankering for sub-Clive pace. Ivan's considerate waiting for the moderate mob was much appreciated. We passed through the hidden gem of Eastham village, and Clive led us expertly through Bromborough and New Ferry. Here again, a collection of beautiful old buildings, this time mansions with stunning views across the Mersey, but very close to oil terminals and busy roads. All was quiet as we passed Woodside Ferry and the remains of a submarine. A national public workers' strike had given an unusual feel to the day. We continued along the prom, past the site of the 'one o'clock gun', past Seacombe and towards Egremont. We were pleased that the wooden galleon on the shore had been replaced or restored, after being wrecked in December's storms and high tide floods.
We sat out for lunch at The Seaside Cafe: great grub, fast, fun service and good value. There was a real old-fashioned, sunny seaside holiday feel at New Brighton. Families had been liberated by the strike.
Photograph by Clive Albany
After lunch, the smell of sand and sea, and the views from the end of the Wirral Peninsula were terrific. The headwind was very strong, however, and it was quite a slog to Hoylake. Our normal cycle path was closed, probably due to The Open golf preparations that were well under way. At West Kirby we were struggling to find the passage to The Wirral Way when a fragrant lady opened her window to help. She seemed quite taken with Ivan, but had probably been drinking. A Numpty crashed into George near Parkgate, and by the time we had helped him to sort things out we knew many of the others would be halfway to the farm café below Ness Gardens. For medical reasons we decided that George would require a large amount of ice cream as soon as possible. We (Liz, Dave P, Trevor, Dave H, Keith, Steve T and George) headed down to the two rival ice-cream specialists on the front. Whilst we monitored George's recovery we decide to sample some ice-cream ourselves. The weather and view of The Dee and Welsh hills was magnificent. If we could have hired deck chairs we wouldn't have got home before dark. We met the others on Burton Marshes after their coffee and cake. Everyone was happy as we cycled our various ways. The incline to Guilden Sutton felt a long drag at the end of a hot day, but we gave it a bit of welly, finally clocking 66mls.The Ness to Ness distance approximately 42mls.