A good number of riders gathered at the Gallery Tea Rooms in Hawarden. It was also good to see Dave H out on a bike again – he was joining Bryan W and Jim on a shorter ride and I believe the brisk riders were off to do something incredibly steep. That left the moderates: Andy B, George, Clive and myself. I’d been looking for a change to our usual routes out from Hawarden and also a different lunch stop. I picked out a destination almost due south from our start – the Tyn-y-Capel in Minera.
As we set off we immediately found ourselves in drizzle and in one form or another we were in damp and murky conditions all day, albeit relatively mild ones. We headed out through Buckley and skirted around Mold to pass near Nercwys and Treuddyn. We were climbing steadily upwards throughout, but only had to surmount one steep chevroned hill. We turned left at Rhydtalog to reach Four Crosses and our high point of the day at just over 1,000 feet. Then it was steeply downhill into Minera and to the Tyn-y-Capel on the right.
The Tyn-y-Capel sits looking over the valley towards the Clwydian Hills. Apparently the building has its origins as a hostelry for pilgrims making their way over Esclusham Mountain to Valle Crucis Abbey, near Llangollen. It’s also one of the 50 best pubs in Wales according to Wales Online. The large pub has extensive terraces where you could sit in the sun and admire the views on a summer’s day. No such luck today, indeed no views at any point on our ride. Inside we found good value food and drink. I had an excellent pint of “The Cat in the Chapel”, which seemed a very Welsh name for a beer. While we ate, George told us of the “Free Solo” movie he’d just seen about the El Capitan climb in Yosemite, and this led to a general discussion about climbing. We then moved on to Brexit! - soon it was time to leave.
Our return took us downwards on the B-road by Coedpoeth. At one point heavy rain forced me to stop as the combination of a wet screen and wet glasses meant I couldn’t read the map. We then followed a zig-zag of urban roads through Pentre Broughton to find our way to Gwersyllt. We took the busy road to Llay roundabout, and after the traffic lights, followed lanes back northwards to Penymynydd. We said goodbye to Clive and Andy, before passing through Bilberry Wood and onto Hawarden car park.
We had covered only 30 miles, but travelled in a less familiar direction from Hawarden which, as Clive pointed out, brought us into the neighbourhood of the rides we used to do from Alwyn Waters. We also found a good pub, which we will remember for future use.