The weather was promising – over 20 degrees forecast but with a good enough breeze to keep us cool. We cycled through Cotebrook, and Little Budworth to pick up the Whitegate Way at Marton Green. This deposited us in Winsford, from where we passed through Clive Green on our way to Middlewich. Zigzagging through its housing estates, we emerged back into the countryside and onto a good road through Brereton Green and Spen Green, then a short section of busy A34, before we followed a lane to Great Morton Hall.
Photographs by Steve Haywood
Here we had to choose: who wanted to take the short pleasant ride beside the canal to the pub, and who wanted to climb up Mow Cop. The party split evenly, with the foolish five – Steve T, Chris, George, Mike McC and myself – choosing to grind up the long climb onto the ridge and follow it southwards into Mow Cop. Short of breath we assembled at the magnificent viewpoint beside the Gritstone Trail for a photo and admired the surrounding land. The group were disappointed to hear that the climbing was not over, for as we continued into the village, we turned right up a steeper if shorter hill up by the radio mast. The group were again disappointed to hear that this had been the ‘easy’ way up. But now it was downhill, but very steeply, before joining the others in the pub.
The other group were awaiting us, well into their meal, for although the climbers had only travelled an extra few miles it had taken us a long, long time. The Rising Sun had given us a friendly welcome, a room of our own, good filling food and tasty beer. What’s more, splitting our party on the ride had allowed Dave & Liz plenty of time to indulge in two courses.
The return required a route that avoided as much of Alsager and Crewe as possible. We passed Rode Hall, headed for Wheelock Heath, and skirted the north of Crewe after travelling over some very rough surfaces. Passing behind Leighton Hospital, we crossed the lights at Bradfield Green and on through Church Minshall, then Cholmondeston and Rushton, making for the Shire Horse Centre café for essential refreshments. Then back to Rose Farm with 56 miles completed for those doing the extra loop: pleasant lanes, good weather, a good pub, and good company. Let’s hope the summer brings many more such days.
See route map and/or gpx file download.