We start to go a trifle late, only to be told by Dave that he couldn’t find his car keys. Apparently “losing things” is Dave’s “forte", so we were not too bothered about it, except this time he had really lost his keys. After searching high and low, we concluded that he had probably locked them in his car’s boot. Manfully, Dave urges us to ride off saying he would meet us for lunch. So off we go minus Jim who is heading for home.
Around Bolesworth, Trevor and Dave P decide to take it easy with a local ride somewhere, so we four now head up to Brown Knowle. Andy needs to get back so he peels off bound for Mold. So “we few, we happy few” press on down to the outskirts of Malpas and, turning down Ebnal Lane, end up on the A41 just south of No Man’s Heath. The lane to Bradley takes us down to Higher Wych ready for the slide across to Eglwys Cross. This was the crossing point for the return route, so I decide to take the lane to Arowry. Wrong decision! The lane is substantially now agricultural, with mud over a poor surface everywhere; but once down some of it, I decided to plough on. Bob unfortunately succumbs to a slide off to inspect the surface but is not seriously hurt, just a little muddy. The misery continues for nearly 2 miles - a lane to put on the blacklist in any weather!
We now cycle down dry roads to Bettisfield circling back down new lanes to the welcome arms of the Sun Inn. It’s very pleasant inside with a ready welcome, and a comprehensive menu of food and ales. Worth remembering as an alternative to Ellesmere as it is open seven days for lunches. We settle down to generous plates of food and discuss world events whilst wondering how Dave is getting on.
Just as we are stirring to leave, an apparition in yellow appears into view - it’s Dave! Despite seeing our bikes outside, and walking right passed us in the pub, and being pursued by Ken, he ends up in the deeper recesses of the pub! He was happy that he had been reunited with his keys. It turned out that he had somehow dropped his keys, which then had been handed into the shop at ICF. Time is getting on so Bob decides to stay with Dave as they both need to get back to ICF area. So abandoning my planned route back due to a suspicion of more very muddy lanes, Ken and I head for home via Ellesmere, Overton, and Borras Hill.
So a very careless day of me “losing” five riders and, in truth there were three different rides today. The published route of 45 miles, attached, is a beautiful ride showing the best of the Cheshire, Shropshire and Clwyd countrysides. The autumn colours were beginning to replace the summer greenery; there were leaves and acorns all over the lanes; and the farmers had left their tracks from ploughing activities. The weather was cool, bright and breezy and, apart from my last mile home, dry.
See route map and/or gpx file download