I had chosen the route, so that we would not be battling straight into the forecast wind and rain after lunch. A direct return from Aston would be quite quick if conditions became really unpleasant. We headed out towards Tarporley, gasped up Summerhouse Bank, and then turned left at Heath Green. After crossing the bypass we headed for 'Portal' and then cruised down Sapling Lane, passing the only remains of a Roman villa in Cheshire, as we reached Eaton. We diverted down The Hall Lane, a small lane off Hickhurst Lane on our way to Wettenhall. At Oultonlowe cottage Ivan pointed out an alternative quiet route, which I would like to try next time. Bob had his obligatory puncture, despite his latest Continental Super Thorn Crusher rubber. The upside is that he is becoming as slick as a Sky mechanic at dealing with punctures, as long as he takes a few lungfuls of salbutamol before starting.
|Puncture stop! Photos by Mike G|
After Reaseheath College we crossed the A51 into Welshman's Lane, eventually turning into Welsh Row with its rich variety of attractive architectural styles. We turned right, and headed through the park, and right again, down a link road to Baddington Lane (A530). We were soon ploughing through the wind down Coole Lane. I would normally continue for over five miles south, towards Audlem, before cutting north-west to Aston. This time, we headed in the direction of The Secret Nuclear Bunker, and joined the main road at Broomhall Green for a short stretch before turning into the village at Aston.
The Bhurtpore had the usual scrummy ales and curries on offer, and with its friendly atmosphere has always been a favourite of ours.
Our return was via Wrenbury, Chorley and Burland Green. We made a small diversion to see Haughton Hall, and then carried on to Bunbury. Trevor left us here. We made a group decision to head for The Old Fire Station for a coffee and cake, so I changed my original route from Alpraham and The Shire Horse Centre, to Tilstone Fearnhall and Tarporley. Ivan had been like a cocker spaniel searching for drugs all ride, turning off to join Nick heading for Marbury at one point, only for them to rejoin us shortly after. This time he led the front of the group up Brains Lane to Eaton, while those who already had brains took the usual direct, back route into Tarporley. Anyway, we all finished together at The Old Fire Station, where we received the normal warm welcome, and a jug of water with a slice of lemon. The weather hadn't deteriorated too badly as yet, but some still had a few miles to go. Mike and Andy were heading for Chester, with Andy set to reach the high eighties before returning to Mold. The basic ride was just on forty miles, and, as so often, the weather had been better than forecast, and warmer than recent days. It was very pleasant having a combined ride, even if the faster guys had had to rein themselves in.
See route map and/or gpx file download