It didn't rain and the afternoon was quite sunny but it was very windy and gusty. I turned up a little late for the last meet start at the Ice Cream Farm - NB : It's Alison's Cafe in Tattenhall next time!
Neil was sitting there like Billy No Mates with a coffee wondering if anyone was going to show up today. I said I would be there, but he was starting to doubt that until I actually showed up. No one else turned up, so we two set off via Tarporley bound for Pickmere.
The route was unexceptional passing thorough Eaton, Rushton and Little Budworth on our way to Whitegate. Traffic was very light - unlike the strong NW wind. This was great if it was behind you as I can attest as I averaged 18mph on the route out to ICF over 16 miles.
In Whitegate, I take the forest footpath transfer to access Vale Royal Golf club to introduce Neil to the Dave Mathew's "Golf Club - Weaver" transfer route. We hang right to cross the Weaver over the massive locks and ride along the pleasant footpath with bike unfriendly gates. Up the hill by the Blue Bridge, we are soon in and out of Davenham bound for Lach Dennis.
A left up Common Lane takes into the by-roads of Plumley and we are soon at The Smoker pub on the busy A556. I'd thought about having lunch here but opted to go on to Pickmere to the Red Lion (part of the same group of pubs as The Smoker). So we arrive around 1215 having left Wincham behind.
Service was very prompt and the fare reasonably priced and wholesome. Neil chatted about his 25 yrs experience of working in Saudi Arabia training the Saudi Air Force pilots and technicians. I reflected on the long weekend I spent in Riyadh and Jeddah in the 1990's and how I was addressed there as Mr Al-Bany ( obviously I'm now of Arabian extraction!)
We are soon back on the bike and heading mainly into the wind as we slide through Great Budworth on our way to Little Leigh and the big hill up to Acton Bridge. At Crowton, we take Norley Lane for the inexorable climb up into Norley and use the Dave Heath transfer via Town Farm Lane to journey on to Flaxmere and Delamere Forest.
There is "just one more climb" up and into Kelsall where Neil carries on via Willington to complete the 49 miles route on his way home. I slide off bound for Oscroft and permutate the best way to avoid the head-on wind back to Chester.
So thanks to Neil for his company today, and 70+ miles for both of us probably.
See route map and/or gpx file download
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