It was a good turnout at Cleopatra’s in Holt, too many in fact to fit in the newly refurbished back room. The fast lads left early. Of those remaining, Trevor wasn’t out for a full ride, leaving our newish member Andy, Jim, Mike G, Jane, Charlie, Chris, Bryan, Dave P and myself. I had in mind a visit to the Navigation Inn at Maesbury Marsh, a good destination that we hadn’t been to for some time.
We set off through Farndon, Worthenbury and Holly Bush before taking the sharp right turn at the bottom of the hill that would eventually lead to Duddleston Heath. It was here that too much enthusiasm on the descent led Andy, Chris and Charlie to overshoot and disappear into the distance towards Penley. The rest of the party continued while I waited, but after nearly 10 minutes the three had not returned. As someone might have said ‘to lose one rider is a misfortune, to lose another two looks like carelessness’. I re-joined the main party as we pondered what to do. Andy had appeared by then, but there was no sign of the others and calling them elicited no response. We decided to carry on, to be surprised when they eventually appeared behind us.
We crossed the A495 at Welsh Frankton and continued along delightful lanes and two very humpy hump-backed bridges, to pass through West Felton and approach our destination from the south. The Navigation had been warned of our arrival and we settled down to some good food and good beer, justifying the pub's place in our favourites list.
Here we said goodbye to Andy who had to return to Mold for an appointment, and temporarily to Dave P who had to pick up a part for his lawn mower from Oswestry, though we hoped to meet up again later. The return by-passed Oswestry and took us through Whittington, before skirting Gobowen and entering St Martins. From here we followed the main route, through the steep valley of Shell Brook, to enter Overton. Here we stopped for refreshments at the Cup 'n' Saucer, previously the Woodlands Deli, another of our favourites. We were served essential quantities of cake and caffeine, while Dave P re-joined us.
From Overton, it was into Bangor and up the busy main road before turning right and then following the little lanes northwards to the west of the Dee. Here an unexpected move from an errant pedestrian and an oncoming car forced Charlie into the verge, but no harm was done. We arrived back in Holt with 53 miles on the clock, grateful that under overcast skies we had avoided any serious rain and had a good day out.