We parked in the small, free car park the other side of the line from Delamere railway station cafe. Beware, getting back safely on the road on your return- cars appear at speed over the bridge on your right.
There was a very good turnout at the new venue of both the committed, and those who need to be committed. John Beavis was a welcome returnee from winter hibernation. Dave Matthews was in civvies. John, Jim, Stephen, Andy Whitgreave, Trevor and myself were the initial moderate group. As we prepared to ride, Liz and Dave Pipe arrived. We arranged to meet Dave at Acton Bridge, because he didn't want to hold us up unloading the tandem. Our route to the swing bridge was via Norley and Crowton. As it was all downhill we made briskish progress, and when we arrived at the Leigh Arms, guess what? Dave had still not had time to unload the tandem! Anyway, no sweat, we were soon on our way again. A moderate ride is not as complete without Dave and Liz, and we didn't happen to have any Strava targets for once. Our route took us past Cogshall Hall to Antrobus, and along the lovely lacework of little lanes north west of Arley. Little Bollington was finally reached by way of Booth Bank.
John wanted to know where Macca was, and we were certainly going to miss his enterprising photography. You can see a snowy picture of the Swan with Two Nicks on the cover of the Winter 2016 edition of the CAMRA 'Out Inn CHESHIRE' magazine (although we're not on it!). My edition was acquired for me from The Bhurtpore by my daughter, when we went with the dog for lunch last weekend. This mag. makes interesting reading for CER regulars. For instance, it informs readers that the potential demise of the Wheatsheaf at No Mans Heath is being fought against by the Pub Protection Group. An application to the Parish Council has been made to list the pub as an Asset of Community Value. Anyway, lunch was really good at the Swan with Two Nicks, and the staff were very friendly, encouraging us to move tables as we wished.
The ride back retraced our steps until nearing High Leigh, when we turned left to avoid the busier B5159. Unfortunately, the little bit of the busier road we did go on had a hedge-cutting tractor flinging thorns across the carriageway. South of the garden centre we took a quiet left loop, before heading directly south to Bate Heath. Jim sorted a puncture at Moss End. We looped around Great Budworth, and headed for Liz and Dave's car via Comberbach and Little Leigh. They will be happy to have missed the usual steep climbs from the Weaver to Delamere. My chosen route was via The Cliff and Cooksongreen with a deviation around Norley Hall. At Town Farm we had a friendly chat with a local couple while we waited for those struggling up the demanding Norley Lane. We were soon back to Hatchmere. I had worn shorts, no gloves and a summer cap, but it had been warmer than recently rather than really warm. I need to concentrate on Carol Kirkwood's pressure charts, rather than being distracted by her daily hot front. Tanny had returned from the fast ride some time ago, when we reached Delamere station. All had had a good ride. Us moderates had covered 40 very sociable miles in classic CER style.
See route map and/or gpx file download