It was 10:00 when I arrived at The Gallery Coffee Shop in the rain to find John busily repairing a puncture at the back of the café. Next to arrive was Brian Mac still suffering from a virus and planning an easy day with the idea of a downhill ride to Chester. Next up was Dave H with the news that although Jim had planned a ride to Llanasa other commitments meant he was unlikely to make it today. Notwithstanding that, Llanasa sounded a good choice. Dave confirmed that the Red Lion was under new management with good reports, and we could ride out without venturing over the tops and come back with the wind behind us. By this time Clive and Ivan had appeared and decided to join us. John meanwhile was still out the back struggling with his third inner tube of the day; after which he gave up muttering something about the tyre bead!
So with only four of us riding today we set off into the wind heading directly for Northop and the short section of the A55 by the Motel. At this point Clive and Ivan decided they had had enough of my snail pace and decided to head off on their own with the intention that we would meet up for lunch. Dave and I continued on past the Britannia Inn until the turn off to Pentre Halkyn, which Dave insisted, was better than going straight ahead on the flat. Half way up Dave stopped and announced that he didn’t think this was the right way. Too true, but having climbed so far we continued further upwards to the next turning (as it turned out our highest point of the morning) and then descended a narrow lane to where we should have been. By now the rain had stopped and the weather was improving as we made our way steadily through Brynford, Pantasaph and Whitford to Lanasa.
The Red Lion didn’t look too busy but there were two familiar bikes outside and a warm welcome inside from Clive, Ivan and the relief manager who charmed us all. Only one cask ale available but a wide choice of main meals plus free puddings on a Thursday. No complaints on the food side then and we all chose bread and butter pudding to finish. Dave and Liz please note.
For the return journey the plan was to head south through Trelawnyd, crossing the A55 and then onto the Babell road to return via Windmill and Northop. Clive and Ivan agreed to stay with us until the A55 pointing out the best crossing (not clear on the map) and then doing their own thing. With the wind behind us, as predicted, the return journey was much easier than the outward leg. By 15:00 the sun was out and the views across the Dee and the Cheshire plain were stunning causing us to stop and take in the vista. Before long we were over Windmill and dropping down through the winding lanes to Northop and back to Hawarden.
In all we had clocked 40 miles and 3,727 ft of ascent for a great day out albeit at a leisurely pace.