As it is true for caravans, it’s true for CER riders - the sun really does bring them out in droves! Jim was puzzling over an OS map wondering where to go and I offered to help him cobble together a ride. So we agreed somewhere south via Threapwood ending up in Whitchurch for lunch. We also agreed that, as there were a lot of us, we would eventually and inevitably split up into two groups, but we would both head for “The Wheatsheaf” in the centre of Whitchurch.
So off and out via Wetreins Lane, we had the Briskers flash by us bound for Shawbury. At the top of this lane we had already split into two groups. The “faster group” consisted of Ian, Neil Bob, Steve T, Keith, Dave M and myself. In Tilston, we turn right for Horton. Here, in the chiaroscuro of a bright autumnal day, Neil unfortunately found a pothole and expertly landed on the grass verge instead of the road. Thankfully his bike was not damaged, and neither was he! By this time the rest of the Moderates had caught us up and this was to be the pattern over the next 10 miles or so.
So out via Chorlton, Sarn and Threapwood, we take the lanes to Whitwell. I knew that Jim would be taking the first left turn on the Fenn Bank road towards Alkington and thence Whitchurch, so I decided to add a few more miles in by going further south. We arrive in Tilstock down tiny lanes before crossing the A41 by The Raven pub - always a dangerous transit here.
Brown Moss nature reserve beckons as we meander through tranquillity with the A41 just a few fields away. We enter Whitchurch from the south, and no UXB activity is evident (see Brisk report). As we arrive at “The Wheatsheaf”, we see that Jim and company are already ensconced at our CER table. The landlady kindly reserved us a table after I had phoned her a little earlier.
I like “The Wheatsheaf” as it was introduced to me by “Watsons Wanderers” cycling group, sadly not led any more by the indomitable Harry Watson. He will be 90 on Nov 5th, and still cycling. The food comes quite quickly given that there are now over a dozen of us. I’ve been here three or four times now and the food is consistently good and fairly priced.
We all leave together bound for Marbury in continuing sunshine. At Bickley, I add a little variety by heading for No Mans Heath and then up to Hampton Post and onwards to the gently downhill lane in Edge. It is then a reversal of this morning’s outward route via Tilston and Wetreins Lane where the Brisk group whoosh passed us aiming to claim the best cakes at Cleopatra’s. Shortly after we are drinking our teas and coffee outside with the Brisk group, Jim and company arrive safely back.
So thanks to my group for their patience as I made up the 43 miler route on the fly and, talking about flying, I hung onto the Brisk group’s tails as they motored back to Chester. Classic autumnal weather and a classic CER day’s riding.
See route map and/or gpx file download
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