Cleopatra’s looked very quiet when I arrived with only Tom sitting with his drink. However, within minutes others arrived and by 10.15 a small band of CER members were all clustered around the tables discussing the days routes and options. Clive decided to lead the Moderate group out towards Whittington for lunch but I fancied a trip up around the new Horseshoe Pass and convinced Steve T and Tom to join me. Dry roads and the mid-teen temperature made the first few miles through Borras very pleasant and gave us time to warm up ready for the challenge ahead.
Crossing the dual carriageway, we weaved our way through Acton, under the railway, and out of Wrexham on Stansty Road towards Pentre Boughton. From this point the only way way forward was up and Steve attained ‘King of the Mountains’ points by cresting every hill in first position. On through Minera, we passed the old lead mines and made our way west towards Llangollen. The lovely quiet lanes above Rhos provided great views across Cheshire and contributed to making the morning very pleasant. The route then see-sawed steeply up and down the whole way through Pen-y-Cae, Garth, and past Trevor Hall Woods with Steve pulling further ahead with KOM points at every opportunity. Finally, we started our descent via the Panorama path where we had a brief picture stop and this also gave us the opportunity to put on waterproofs as insurance against the rain clouds that were building up ahead.
|The Panorama panorama view|
We entered Llangollen, in drizzle, after a steep double chevron descent and passing over the canal to arrive by the town bridge. According to the road signs the Eisteddfod was supposed to be in full swing although the town appeared very quiet with only an ambulance and police car attending to an incident on the bridge providing any action. We turned right to start our ascent of the Horseshoe and saw a sign indicating we had 4 miles to go to our lunch stop. Fortunately for us about a mile into this stage the roads dried and the sun came out so we were able to stow our coats in readiness for the climb.
The combined strain of the increase in road gradient and the duration of the climb started to tell and Steve slipped from his familiar first place to the back of the pack but Tom, invigorated by the prospect KOM points or lunch, showed his hand and took off for summit leaving Steve and myself to struggle on to the top.Lunch consisted of pie and chips for Tom and Steve, and baked potato for myself. During the break we reviewed our return route in order to ensure Steve reached to Holt by 3:30pm.
The morning was was predominantly uphill but the afternoon was going to be a blast along well surfaced roads and mainly downhill; bliss. So we took the main road and headed to Bwlchgwyn where we turned left freewheeling down past the Ffrwyd pub and into LLay. A left and then right turn took us through Hope and at the junction of Kinnerton Road, Tom left us to make his way home while we continued and turned right down through Rossett and back to Holt.
A super day out, with 83 km(52 miles) covered and 1224 metres of ascent and a maximum height achieved of 426 metres - according to Strava. Most of the hard work was confined to the morning, thankfully the afternoon was easier, which is just how it should be and even the rain held off until after we had ordered our final coffee at Cleopatra’s.
Photograph by Ken Page