Another fine day in prospect today. Ivan and I had ridden to The Vine Inn near Dunham Massey the day before to exorcise his Helsby Road accident. The weather had been very sunny and the pub was very cheap – two pints of ale for under £4!. Today Ivan had prepared a route to the Black Bear in Whitchurch.
As Steve's report indicates, there was a paucity of riders out today; maybe the rest of the club were at the shops frantically trying to find that final Christmas present. So Ivan led out John W and myself on surprising wet roads around Beeston Castle towards Peckforton village. We edge around Bunbury onwards to Brindley at a brisk pace. There is then the big loop around to Ashton via Wrenbury. Thankfully the roads are very quiet as we barrel down Sheppenhall Lane trying to avoid the potholes cunningly concealed as puddles.
Crossing the A525, we are on our way to Ightfield and thence the ups-and-downs via Ash Parva and Ash Magna. The Edgeley Road transfer is employed to enter Whitchurch and into the warm arms of The Black Bear pub. It is very busy as the car park attests, yet we get a table and settle down for a well-earned rest after 30 miles. Despite the general busyness, the drinks and hot food come quickly enough. The rest of the punters seem to be locals in various Christmas lunch parties.
On leaving the pub, we notice that there has been a shower of rain and now have wet saddles. The pub landlord offers a tea towel to dry the saddles off. Very decent of him. Conscious that darkness arrives just after 1530 around the Winter Solstice, we set off just after 1300 up Wirswall Hill passing Hill Valley golf club. At the top, before the rapid descent to Marbury, there is a magnificent view over the Cheshire plain all the way to the Pennines. Jodrell Bank is sunlit in the far distance.
The lane down is hazardous with all the agricultural mud and debris of winter on the surface, and thankfully we exit Marbury without any mishap. The way back to the start is now predictable via Bickerton and Harthill. As we enter Tattenhall, Neil and Steve H come into view. What exquisite timing! Neil shoots home while we three shoot passed Steve and, eschewing the prospect of cake, pedal for home.
So thanks to Ivan, with 46 muddy miles covered along with our bikes well covered with Cheshire mud, this rounds off the last ride for me for the year. There is now one more scheduled ride on the 27that a relocated venue ( see the web site)
See route map and/or gpx file download
Photo by John W