Lunch was as enjoyable as expected. It was decided to ride a longer afternoon by sweeping south-west along some of our favourite Shropshire lanes. Mike and his GPS were invaluable in finding the little lane out to Alkington. Good progress was made via Platt Lane, Dobson's Bridge, Northwood, Lyneal and Colemere. We crossed the main road to Shrewsbury and were soon passing the attractive White Mere, leased to Shropshire Sailing Club by Grosvenor Estates. The mere is one of nine glacial meres in the area. It covers 65 acres, and together with two adjacent woodlands, it has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The black and white cottage at this end of the lake, on the little lane up to Lee, looks an idyllic place to live.
As we turn right over the canal near the marina on the edge of Ellesmere, Beech House can be glimpsed left and ahead. Thomas Telford lived and worked here when overseeing the construction of the original Ellesmere Canal, which terminated at Netherpool on the Mersey (now part of Ellesmere Port). It was hard to ignore the pull of coffee and cake at Ellesmere, but we had decided to make Holt or Farndon our only stop after lunch.
|A Mercian and a Harry Hall|
My route out was by way of the little road at the north-west end of The Mere, and then left on a pleasant lane over the former Wrexham and Whitchurch railway line, which closed in 1965. We were soon climbing out the steep dip into Penley, and heading for Holly Bush and Worthenbury. On passing Glandeg Farm, the riders in front of George and myself had already started winding up the pace for the sprint through Shocklach to Farndon. Once the gap had appeared, there was no catching them.
I don't know how Andy manages to accelerate so well on his super tank tourer, with hub gears, 55 spoke (approx!) rear wheel and humming rubber drive belt. Many of the fields on our left were totally flooded from the River Dee. The fast last five and a half miles ensured that we had plenty of time for a well-earned coffee and cake at Lewis's before their 4.30p.m. closing time.
Cars had been left in different places, and Andy and Neil were cycling home. Andy was expecting to complete 100mls. or more. George and myself were parked at The Ice Cream Farm and covered about 60mls. from start to finish. The weather had been ideal, and it had been satisfying to cover a decent mileage in lovely country.
See route map and/or gpx file download