I’d found a route that Clive had led last August from Chirk to The Bridgewater Arms at Harmer Hill and had loaded it onto my phone ‘just in case’. This turned out to be a good thing, as the CER group gathered at The Castle Bistro consisted of me, George, Trevor, Andy B, Graham and Neil, with neither our usual moderate ride leaders nor any of the brisk lads present. Neil had ridden out the 27 miles from home and declared that he was worn out and would only be having a coffee and then riding back home. So that left the 5 if us asking ‘where are we going today’?
So, Harmer Hill it was. We set off via Weston Rhyn and down the B road to Oswestry. Entering Oswestry, I found some difficulty in seeing the thin blue line on my Viewranger map and so we were soon swept up in the one-way system around the town. Looking closely at Clive’s original route, it seems that there’s a very direct route through which puts you on the road out towards Morda, but we missed that and spent quite a while working out which way to go. I must ask Clive how he did it.
Eventually, we were on Weston Lane and heading across the A483 at Mile Oak and thence on to Maesbury and Maesbury Marsh. On reaching the busy A5 at Weirbrook the map showed us going straight on, but there was no road on the opposite side of the A5! Fortunately, Trevor remembered that you go through a gap in the hedge opposite (another Clive dodge?) which puts you on the old B- road out towards Wykey and the PGL Holiday Camp at Stanwardine. The route here has quite a few steepish climbs which allowed Graham’s e-bike to show its impressive paces. Taking the B5067 out of Baschurch, we turn off at Walford Heath and, after a short run along the A528, we soon find ourselves at The Bridgewater Arms.
The barmaid (landlady?) didn’t seem to take too kindly to 5 scruffy, sweaty cyclists appearing in her nice pub and ordering our drinks and food had the feeling about it of appearing in front of the headmistress. However, with the offer of two meals for £8.95 and food quickly served, we were not unhappy with the outcome.
We were soon on our way on what was now a very warm and sunny afternoon. Unlike Clive last year we did take the back way through Myddle to Burlton and what a beautiful little lane it is, under the sandstone cliffs.
Loppington and Cockshutt follow in quick succession. At Lee, Trevor decides to leave us in order to put in some the extra miles as training for the Bert Bailey Memorial ride that he and George are doing this Sunday – good luck. lads. We soon reach Tetchill, after which there’s the long climb up to Frankton Hill. Then along the back lanes through New Marton to St. Martins, where the parish church bells are ringing as we passed through. Then we navigate the busy roundabout at the A5 and take the B road into Chirk with Chirk Bank offering us a final challenge for the day.
The run back took us less than 2 hours, possibly because I didn’t get us lost as much! 50 miles ridden on a grand day with excellent company. I hope my fellow riders will forgive my navigational mishaps – I’ll have to see if I can make the thin blue line a bit thicker next time so that it’s easier to see.
See route map and/or gpx file download