I'd thought I better show willing, so I had prepared two routes. There was a short 40 miler with 4000ft of climb, and a longer 50 miler with 5000ft of climb. Addressing the Brisk Group of Andy B, John W and Nick H, I was somewhat surprised when John asked for a non-hilly route because he had an upcoming challenging weekend ride! So what to do; then I remembered a route we had ridden twice before towards Rhuddlan. So this was agreed and we set off at an alarming pace the usual way to Northop.
As we crest the rise before tackling the short section of the A55, there is a marvellous panorama of the Mersey Estuary to behold stretching out as far as the eye can see. Both Liverpool cathedrals were clearly identified as were the large container port cranes. Passing the Britannia pub, we now climb higher, but eschewing Pentre Halkyn, we dive down into Holywell.
Here I decide to add some variation from the "planned" route as we turn off for Whitford. We take the NCR5 lane upwards where have to stop twice for an enormous tractor and trailer which filled this tiny lane. I point out the Coed y Garreg tower on the hilltop, which was supposed to be the site of a Roman lighthouse nearly two millennia ago. We arrive at Maen Achwynfan Cross, and we dismount to visit it. It has been here for about a 1000 years and has an interesting history ( see photos).
|Three Ancient Britons and a 1000yr old Celtic Cross|
|Read all about it|
We had noticed that the wind and dark clouds had been increasing during the morning, and, as we left the cafe, there was a gale force blast which nearly knocked us off our bikes. The ride now was a 20mph wind-assist all the way along the seafront, exiting at the Pontins Holiday camp. Through the golf club and static van holiday park, we arrive at the Point of Ayr. Taking the cycleways further, we circle the old colliery and hit the coast road at Ffynnongryow. It's now a long fast burn to the Chocolate Box cafe close by Flint's Sainsbury's.
After discussing wifi webcams and failing eyesight, we head off homewards towards Oakenholt, where Andy and Nick take Papermill Lane arriving back in Hawarden after 56 miles. John and I take the usual Greenway route back to Chester with nearly 70 miles ridden and still with 2500ft of ascent.
The weather had been dry and somewhat windy, and it threatened rain a few times, and the company was as convivial as ever.
See route map and/or gpx file download
Photos CA and JW