Ambition is a wonderful thing: our ambition was to ride from Manley Mere out to The Dog at Peover Heath. Five of us - Dave H, Bryan W, Brian Macca, George and myself, Steve – set off in cool sunshine over New Pale, where we noticed a little snow at the roadside and more in the distance on the Pennines. Onward we went through Acton Bridge and Comberbach towards Great Budworth, where we planned to check our progress against the weather, which was forecast to worsen. A few spots of rain began as we climbed the hill into Great Budworth, shortly after midday – these were enough! We stopped outside the George and Dragon, about half way to our destination, and without further consideration walked in and grabbed a couple of tables by the open fire. So much for our best intentions!
Photographs by Brian MacDonald
The pub filled up very quickly so we were lucky to be early enough to grab this cosy corner. The beer was good and lime & soda was 75p a pint, though the cheaper menu was limited to baguettes and butties. As the rain strengthened we discussed our return route. Dave H offered to lead us back through Antrobus and Higher Whitley towards Frodsham. The fact this route led conveniently to his car played no part in his enthusiasm. We said goodbye to Dave in Sutton Weaver and carried on aiming for the Arts Centre Café in Frodsham. After nearly missing it twice, we settled inside by the radiator to enjoy warm drinks and sugary snacks.
On leaving, we found the steady rain, had turned torrential. Bryan, Brian and George decided to head back along the A56 to the end of the Greenway, while I plodded up the long steep hill to Alvanley and on towards Manley – 38 miles in total. Deep puddles spread across the whole carriageway and stinging rain hurt the face and got into everything. I’m sure we each then agreed it was wise to curtail our plans at Great Budworth, so that we only had to suffer the real wet on the final trek homewards.