It was going to be a hot day - about 28C in the afternoon. Steve H, Bob and I arrived in the Chirk carpark almost contemporaneously. Steve said he had a 50 miler to the Bradford Arms in Llanymynech which “involved hills” (one of my earlier routes I think) and I had a 40 miler which didn’t involve hills to the same pub. Bob preferred “no hills” to “hills” and thus the choice was essentially made before we arrived at the Tea Rooms. There were a lot of us, but Andy W and David M had “just” ridden over for coffee.
So the Magnificent Seven consisting of Andy B, Steve H, Bob, Nick, Trevor, Mike G and myself set off via the aqueduct for Western Rhyn. This way is my favourite way out of Chirk sliding down the little lanes that run parallel to the A5. We turn downhill towards Gobowen and once around the roundabout passing Derwen College to dive down onto NCR455 bound for Hindford and Frankton. The sun is out, there are few cars, and it is a delight to be idling along in the warm air. At Lower Frankton Andy picks up a thorn and a puncture, which gives me time to appreciate his new Van Nicholas titanium charger with Rohloff gears and rubber belt “chain” - a snip at several thousands!
I try to ring the Bradford Arms but alas no phone signal — so what’s new! We take the triangular route around Rednal airfield admiring the downed Sea King helicopter and N. Korean Mark 1 rocket bodies (all part of the paintball centre). I miss a turn in Haughton but decide to re-route on the fly anyway — nobody will notice! It is a very pleasant diversion through rural Eardiston arriving back on track in West Felton. I phone the Bradford Arms again to find that there is no food today as they have a funeral party in. So we agree on diverting to the Navigation Inn at Maesbury Marsh. The Navigation Inn is deserted until we arrive. The ale selection is good and the food comes quite quickly.
Steve and I agree that we need to add a few miles in as only 22 have passed so far. So we climb back up the main road to Woolaston Bank and free-wheel down to Osbaston on our way the Maesbrook. It’s now northwards up the tiny lanes to Maesbury - just a mile or so from the Navigation Inn! Through Ball and across the A435, we take the Wat’s Dyke Way Lane into the back of Oswestry. I can’t resist inflicting a stop at Oswestry Castle mound and a few of us climb up into the derelict bailey and keep to understand why it has been built here, and to admire the views all around including Old Oswestry (Iron Age hill fort). Out through the back streets we are soon sliding by the hill fort and take part of our outward route back down into Gobowen. We head north for Henlle Hall Golf club. Cresting the lane, a brave trio dive down to Rhyn and the Ceiriog Valley - and the steep slopes in and out. We four take the usual route back into Chirk accessing the towpath by The Bridge pub.
|Photos by Mike G|
Only 41 miles and 1400ft of climbs but a lot of new lanes and excellent weather and company — no one could ask for any more on a traditional summer’s day.