There were a lot of us at the Ice Cream Farm and so the Brisk group, consisting of Ivan, John, Tom, Ray and myself, set off slightly ahead of the Moderates bound for the unusual lunch stop of the Boot in Northop. I must admit to being a bit self-indulgent with the lunchtime target as I hadn't been to the Boot for several years. Due to its location, Northop is unlikely to be a lunch stop on a "normal" ride. The other reason for the choice was that I wanted to get back home in good time as I was off to Norfolk that evening, and, Ivan needed time to get his glad rags on to take Mrs D out for her birthday treat. Also, he had been kindly let out on licence for the day even though it was Mrs D's birthday! The ride split neatly into three sections.
We set off for gentle climbs bound for Beeston and via Peckforton, the slide around Larkton Hill and then down into Duckington. The Moderate group slide by us at Bickerton church as we were stopped briefly to tighten my boots ready for the climbs I know will come later in the long ride before lunch. Through Tilston we motor on towards Holt. Once at Holt, the second section of the route is now "flat" as we take the old lanes past Wrexham Rugby club to sidle around Wrexham to get onto the Llay road and then onto Gwersyltt. Here the final third of the ride begins i.e. the hilly bit. Up towards Windy Hill we take the delightful Glyon lane to arrive half way up the Minera Steps. We run down briefly into Ffrith and then the long climb out to the Llandegla road just outside Treuddyn. Through the village I know that most of the climbing is now over as we head down and up dale with the final fast downhill run into Mold town centre to almost finish with the hill for the day. Here Ivan advises that there is a Wetherspoons and I say, "next time" as we head out up and past the Glasfrynn pub and continue the tiny lane up past Theatr Clywd towards Soughton. We're 5 minutes from the pub now but the rough lane takes its toll on Tom's rear wheel.
After 50 miles from home and 37 miles from the Ice Cream Farm, we arrive at the Boot around 13:30. I check if the food's still on and a not-so-welcoming Mein Host advises that it is. We are the only diners so I worry that the food will take forever. There's Doom Bar behind the bar so all is not lost. The fare reads well and is a bit more expensive than I recall, but it has had a makeover thus explaining the pricing. Nevertheless the lights bites look inviting and come quite quickly and most importantly are substantial enough and taste fine as well. The lunchtime banter covers the usual range of topics from current affairs to mobiles. The run back to Chester (as no one needed or more specifically wanted to cycle 37 miles back to the ICF) was uneventful, running through Ewloe, past Aerospace and down the Dee path. We had 65 miles on the clock with a decent amount of altitude on yet another cold but dry day. Oh, and we got home relatively early as well!