Another large turnout at the Ice Cream Farm saw us sitting outside in the early morning sun discussing possible destinations. I suggested the Dog and Bull at Coton, midway between Whixall and Prees, and with no other offers forthcoming it was agreed. The group consisted of Steve T, Steve H, Trevor, George, Keith, Dave H, Ray, Paul and myself. Liz and Dave P arrived on the tandem but with Dave wearing his wedding shoes by mistake they decided to just stay for the cake and coffee.
We followed a fairly traditional route out through Tattenhall, Carden, and Shocklach to Threapwood and the Wyches. The temperature was steadily approaching the 20’s that we had been promised but we also had a few short showers that were not due until later in the day. We made steady progress, despite me reading the satnav upside down at one point! and were soon climbing up past the Hanmer Arms towards Bettisfield and Northwood. A sharp turn to the east then took us to the run in for lunch through Dobsons Bridge and Whixall. The rain was beginning to become irritating at this point, so it was with relief that we parked our bikes under the sun umbrellas in the pub’s beer garden.
Service was good and the food reasonably priced and enjoyable as we watched the rain on the road outside. As we had hoped, we emerged to dry weather but wet roads and set off for the return journey. Our pleasure was short-lived, however, as the rain returned with increasing intensity, prompting some of us to don waterproofs. The temperature had by now dropped to 17˚C; still reasonably warm but not a pleasant summer’s day any more.
We took the direct route north through Fenns Bank and Whitewell towards Malpas. I had planned to return via Harthill from here, but the rain suggested otherwise, and we continued north towards Tilston and our outward route.
The stronger group missed the turn in the village and continued on to Barton and Coddington, while the rest of us returned via Tattenhall. Though we had split into two groups, we were confident that once Dave got a whiff of the cake he would irrevocably find his way to the cafe and that was indeed the case.
Spirits dampened by the continual rain, we abandoned the plan of afternoon snacks, and continued homewards.
A good route, despite the weather. 46 miles, or nearly 70 for those from Chester.