Clive had “pre-advertised” a 65 mile ride from Hawarden Rooms circling the Clwydian Hills. This sounded a bit long and a bit hilly to me, so I threw together a shorter 35 miler to Maeshafn trying to avoid the steeper hills. However, at 10:20 in the Gallery Tea Rooms, all the riders were intending to follow Clive, excepting Jim and David M who were not out for a CER ride. Dave P then arrived and decided to join me, so the two of us set off.
We started heading south out of Harwarden and took the steep lane leading to the A55 footbridge, and then on lanes south again skirting Penyffordd and Hope, to cross the Afon Alun by packhorse bridge into Caergwrle. Then it was steeply uphill along the flanks of Hope Mountain to Ffrith, after which we followed the course of Offa’s Dyke to reach Treuddyn. On again to Nercwys where we turned left up another steep hill and then right past a No Through Road sign. This may have been a mistake. Before long we were faced with a deeply rutted, overgrown and boulder strewn track. The only choices were to retrace our steps or dismount and walk up it. We chose the latter and several hundred metres later emerged. Lunch was only 2 or 3 miles away so we pressed on, but either I’d suddenly lost my leg strength or something was wrong with my bike. Upending it and clearing the mudguards and brakes seemed to make a difference and soon we were at the Miners Arms in Maeshafn.
Tucking into our lunch we noted that the menu had become fancier then previously and saw that the local CAMRA had awarded “the most improved pub of the year” award to our venue.
The morning had been marked by very low cloud and some intense spells of rain, so we were hoping the afternoon would be an improvement. Our hopes were in vain as we soggily crossed the A494 to meet the Moel Famau road by the forest – no views today! Then north through Cilcain, over the A541, and up another steep hill to pass through Moel-y-crio and Rhosesmor. Then it was through Northrop and the familiar route through Ewloe back to our start point.
Just over 35 miles on the clock but the satnav showed almost 3,500ft of climbing, so not such an easy alternative to Clive’s ride. There’s a lesson for me in that: pay more attention to the contour lines when planning a route. Nonetheless a very good ride, but one to be done in good weather to appreciate the views.