All Saints Day began with steady rain, but by the time I’d ridden to the Ice Cream Farm, the clouds had cleared and the day promised to be dry with some sunshine and mild winds. Twelve Easy Riders turned up, the moderates comprising Jim, George, Mike G, David M, Neil (on his new bike), Steve T, Trevor and myself. It was good to see Dave H also there, in civvies performing his club secretary duties, and also collecting choices and monies for the Christmas Lunch. He needs to receive confirmation of attendance and at least the £5 deposit by 22nd November.
I had pulled a previous ride to Hanmer from the archive: a figure of eight with a return through Malpas and Brown Knowl. We started through Tattenhall, Barton and Threapwood, but were making good time and I therefore decided to divert eastwards and dip down through Lower Wych to avoid arriving too early at the pub. As we travelled along some good surfaced lanes for a change, we split into two groups. I remained in the slower group and we were surprised to arrive at the Hanmer Arms ahead of the others. About 5 minutes later they arrived much muddied from their excursion through the lanes to Arowry, whilst we had taken the clean main road for the final mile or so.
The pub was quite busy but we were accommodated on a couple of tables and served relatively quickly. As usual, there was a friendly welcome with good value food and drink. There appears to be a planning application for a large holiday home development behind the pub. These and caravan parks seem to be a way to keep many country pubs open when others are forced to close.
I modified our return plans to keep the overall route under 40 miles and to avoid what would have been a hillier return. We took the fairly direct route northwards through Tallarn Green, Shocklach and Clutton. At Sarn Bridge we find a mega-sized tractor going our way, confronting an even bigger one on the bridge. We carefully keep well away from these monsters at they manoeuvre past each other. From Sarn Bridge we gradually shed riders, as they make their own ways home. Eventually only Steve T, George, Jim and myself end up back at the Ice Cream Farm, to reflect on what had been a good autumn ride of 38 miles.