By 10:15, The Gallery coffee shop was packed out. In addition to the 15 (yes, 15!) Easy Riders, there was also another large group (walkers?), so you could barely hear yourself think, let alone hear what anyone was saying to you. We split into Brisk (5), Moderate (7) and Leisure (3) groups, the ‘Mods’ consisting of yours truly, Andy B, ‘the e-bikers’ (Bryan and Graeme) Dave Pipe and Neil, who had brought with him a guest rider, Fiona, who normally rides with Marford Gresford Velo Club.
After some discussion about possible destinations, steepness of hills and distances, it was agreed to ride out to The Piccadilly at Caerwys, one of our favourite pubs. So we set out by our usual route, climbing up through Buckley and Sychdyn, which got everyone nicely warmed up in the morning sunshine. On reaching the narrow lanes around Mynachlog, we deviated half way up the very steep climb, going left along the lane to reach the B5123 at Tyddyn-y-gwynt. This lane is less steep, but you still have to climb the same amount in the end! We paused to re-group near Rhosesmor (re-grouping was quite a thing today), only to find that Dave P was ahead of us and not behind as I had thought!
Climbing further through Rhes-y-cae and Pen-Ucha’r Plwyf we had finally gained enough altitude to give us a nice downhill run across the B5121 and then up the little short-cut lane to Babell, where we re-grouped once more. At Pant we go straight on to avoid the steep hill near Caerwys Hall and approach Caerwys from the north. Incidentally, Andy asks how steep that road really is; perhaps we’ll go that way next time.
For once it was warm enough for us to sit outside at The Piccadilly – see photo taken by a friendly waiter. As usual the food was good and the ‘light bites’ substantial.
|Photo Steve T|
Suitably replenished, we head north-west from Caerwys, crossing the A55 at Pen-y-cefn by zig-zagging through several layers of Armco barrier as we do so. This has to be one of the most awkward road crossings that we use. Passing through Chwitfford and Gorsedd, we pressed on through Brynford to begin the climb up the Halkyn Mountain. Reaching Windmill, we pause to admire the views over the Dee estuary and the Cheshire Plain. We start our descent down Middle Mill Road, passing the now-famous location of my ‘off’ 16 months ago. Another minor diversion from the usual route takes us over Wat’s Dyke and on to the minor road leading into Northop.
From here we take the road past Northop Hall and down to Ewloe. In the process, we lose Fiona, as she gets stuck behind some traffic coming around a mini-roundabout. Re-grouping at a bus stop, Neil and Fiona head for home and the rest of us decide to go for a cuppa at The Hawarden Estate Farm Shop.
‘Only’ 40 miles, but with 3000 feet of climb and at an average (moving) speed of 12.5 mph, this was quite a strenuous ride for the ‘mods’. The batteries of the e-bikes still had charge left in them, even if the legs of the rest of us did not. Thanks to Neil for introducing us to Fiona; we hope that she enjoyed the ride and that she’ll come along again soon for a ride with ‘the OAPs’!