Our start point this week was Chirk Tea Rooms, which appears to have been renamed the Castle Bistro. After last week, we had been hopeful that spring had started. Foolish us! The brisk riders, Ivan, Nick and John M, had planned a trip to Pistyll Rhaeadr, but then received a report on conditions on the hills from Andy B (who had cycled from Mold over the Horseshoe Pass). They decided they didn’t want to spend the whole day in the clouds and chose to join me and Andy on a mod ride. I’d been looking for a possible destination for a long ride this June and came upon a pub at Coedway, just south of the River Severn, about 9 miles west of Shrewsbury. David Matthews was out, but sensibly not riding today.
We set off over the A483 roundabout and down through the Franktons before joining the long road to Baschurch. From here we took a series of lanes through Great Ness, Pentre and Melverley, before crossing the River Severn by a single track bridge, and following a B-road to Coedway. It had not rained for all of the morning, but it was hard to remember when it had been dry. The wet, sometimes flooded surfaces and lots of mud added to the damp mood. Also it was cold, and at one point Nick had to stop to tackle his freezing hands.
So it was with some relief that we pulled into the 17th century Old Hand and Diamond Inn. A CTC welcome sign was reassuring and so was the quality of the beer and the low priced menu. The warm fire would have been another attraction if any of the nearby seats had been vacant. We discussed the drums of war coming from the White House, and moved onto more reassuring topics such as the relative attractions of Bristol, Chester and Hull. It was a bit of a wait for the food, lots of diners had ordered before us, but when it came it was substantial and good quality.
As we were eating it started to rain heavily. Ivan suggested we stay for another pint, but reluctantly was dragged back to his bike. Our return route included a planned visit to Steve T at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital. We passed again over the narrow River Severn bridge and headed towards Maesbrook, then Maesbury and Whittington. Here Ivan and John headed via Oswestry back to Chirk. They were going to visit Steve later by car. The rest of us made direct for the hospital.
As we clip-clopped down the corridors and onto the ward, we signalled our arrival. At the nursing station, the nurse already knew who we’d come to see. Steve is in a comfortable room of his own. He’d already had a visit from David M that morning, so together we ourselves and later Ivan and John, this was very much a CER day for him. He was in good spirits and had just reached the halfway point on his six weeks of prone bedrest, before the clinicians start slowly to elevate him. We spent a while chatting and, as we left the hospital, Ivan and John arrived.
The rain had finally stopped as we mounted our bikes for the final leg. We crossed the A483 and made for Weston Rhyn to drop down into the Ceriog valley on a steep minor road before returning to our start. We had completed 51 miles, and despite the weather, we reckoned we’d found some really nice lanes. Roll on spring proper, next week they say it’ll be nearly 200C.