There were 9 riders who gathered at the (now refurbished) Tea Rooms Café in Chirk for the first time this year – Trevor, Chris, Paul, Dave H, Keith B, Steve T, Brian Macca, Dave and Liz. No-one had a route, but the two Daves agreed to fettle one down to Ruyton XI Towns, using a combination of Dave H’s map and Dave P’s knowledge of the lanes.
So it was that we set off in bright sunshine along Church Street, heading for the Llangollen Canal. Safely over the aqueduct, we carried on along the towpath for longer than usual, only leaving it after we’d gone under the A5. The path was dry, but in several places, coarse hardcore had been put down, which made for difficult riding, so we were please to regain smooth tarmac. Passing Henlie Hall, where you can stay in ‘Woodland Lodges’, we went on to Hindford and Welsh Frankton and thence to Lower Frankton. Skirting round the old airfield at Rednal (and the old Westland Whirlwind helicopter), we cycled on through Haughton, Wigmarsh and Wykey, dropping down the hill into Ruyton X1 Towns and arriving at The Talbot only 90 minutes and 17.5 miles after leaving Chirk.
To the delight of our beer aficionados, the Talbot is now a Joules pub, having been refurbished by the brewery and re-opened last December. The present tenants have been in place for only a month or so and they were a bit taken aback by the arrival of 9 hungry cyclists, especially since they were expecting ‘a large party’ at 12:30. They decided to get our orders to the kitchen first and so we were soon seated at two tables with drinks, awaiting lunch. This arrived quite quickly and the opinion of the group was that the quality was good, but probably not up to the standard required for an entry in Steve H’s guide [It’s already in there, Steve]. Lunchtime conversation was wide ranging, covering amongst other things wind farms, the EU and the TT races. Dave P suggested that the afternoon ride should be a little longer (30 miles was mentioned) and this prompted another round of discussion between the two Daves – well, shouting across the pub would be more accurate. Fortunately, the yummy mummies had decided to take their offspring and eat outside, so no disturbance was caused.
|Photos by Brian MacDonald|
The route took us out of Ellesmere on cycle route 455 which we followed for only a mile or so before turning off past Duddleston Hall to reach St. Martins. Passing the parish church, we crossed the B5069 and headed for Pont-y-blew, crossing back into Wales as we did so. This provided the ‘sting in the tail’ that Dave H had mentioned (quietly) a bit earlier. The lane drops down into the valley where the River Dee (or should I say Afon Dyfrdwy) runs and the climb out of the other side and over the A5 is steep, sapping any remaining strength from our legs.
Arriving back at the car park, we had run 44 miles on a warm, sunny (mostly) day through some quite lovely lanes. Thanks go to both Daves for an excellent ‘off the cuff’ ride.See route map and/or gpx file download.