Quite a large turnout at Delamere Station Café, resulted in only 4 members joining the moderate ride: Andy B, Dave H, Keith and myself. The forecast was for a dry often sunny morning, but a high risk of heavy rain in the afternoon. With this in mind I thought it best to ride moderately briskly before lunch in hope of arriving dry.
We took the longer route out to Acton Bridge, passing three “No Through Road” signs to come close to the River Weaver and then ascend Cliff Lane. We crossed, re-crossed and re-crossed again the A49, before travelling through Higher Whitley. From here it was north-westwards, passing over the old concrete perimeter of Royal Naval Air Station Stretton, south of Warrington. This facility, known as HMS Blackcap was operational from 1942 to 1958, flying Fairey Barracudas, Fireflies and Supermarine aircraft amongst others.
Next we crossed some more modern transport infrastructure, the M6/M62 junction, before starting to loop south beside Swineyard Hall, a moated partly 16th century country house. Continuing our wide circuit of Arley Hall, we entered the village of Pickmere, and swung into the carpark of the Red Lion, before a drop of rain had fallen.
The Red Lion is a Robinsons’ pub with an open fire, a friendly welcome and tasty food. I settled down with an excellent pint of Unicorn, and three of us opted for baguette and chips at around £7. A series of historical photos adorn the walls, many of Pickmere Lake in its Edwardian heyday, complete with landing stage, rowing boats and cruiser. Dave remembered this as well as the travelling fair, but it all later fell into decay. I am told that the cruiser, the Princess Irene, can still be found underwater in the middle of the lake. Despite this and later housing developments, you can still enjoy a walk around the lake.
We left the pub as the rain started and before long it was heavy with a very blustery wind making progress difficult. But we weren’t going to be under a deluge, because although a lot of water had fallen, we were not under it at the time. The skies brightened and we then only faced intermittent rain. The route back was direct through Great Budworth, Little Leigh and Norley, the only interest being the indefinite closure to motors of Westage Lane into Great Budworth due to badger earths undermining the carriageway. Keith left us for Runcorn and the remaining three headed back towards Delamere: Dave to his car, myself slightly further on to Kelsall and Andy much further on to Mold.
Overall a very good ride of about 40 miles in generally reasonable weather with a new find in the Red Lion for lunch stops.
Route now loaded on plotaroute.com due to bikeroutetoaster.com remaining down:
See route map and/or gpx file download