Clive cycled over to Rossett and joined me in the car for the last 30 km’s to Chirk. When we arrived there were plenty of bikes tethered to the railings outside the cafe which belonged to the Moderates group who outnumbered the Brisk by 4 to 1. Dave M had arrived by train for coffee and planned to return home by bike. The eight or so moderates, led by Clive, headed off to Baschurch for lunch whilst Nick and I decided to grace Montford Bridge with our presence.
We got off to pretty poor start due to ‘yours truly’ taking the wrong road from the cafe however we did enjoy a lovely circular tour of Chirk in the summer sunshine. Eventually we exited the town via the short but steep climb of Chirk Bank and continued south. At this point the wind was against us but fortunately the high hedges provided some shelter as we made our way into Oswestry.
Our route through the town was straightforward and we were soon bumping along Maesbury Road before crossing the busy A483. A short unintentional detour then led us directly into Maesbury which is a pretty village with a river running through it and a canal nearby. Taking a a south west heading we skirted around Maesbrook before hooking back east towards Nesscliffe where cycle route 81 led us into Shrawardine and onto Montford Bridge, our lunch stop.
Although the Winfield Arms looked closed, it was open, and as we were the only customers, we were quickly served and seated. This venue is best be described as adequate which is a pity as the village is in a lovely setting on the banks of the river Severn with a bridge designed by Thomas Telford - it was his first bridge design and was constructed between 1790 and 1792. The lunchtime chatter ranged from education to the transport issues Nick was experiencing whilst planning his trip to Switzerland and France.
For our return journey we headed north towards Ellesmere before turning west to Chirk. The high hedges again seemed to be sheltering us from the wind although it’s direction seemed to be more of a help than a hinderance. 10 km after leaving Montford Bridge we passed through Baschurch but found no evidence of the Moderate group.
Keeping to our northerly course we cycled along some lovely quiet pothole free lanes that linked the small hamlets of Bagley, Hordley ,and Lee, brought us into Ellesmere. From here the last 15 km were through quiet lanes to St Martins before descending and crossing over the Ceiriog River. The final climb up over the A5 had both of us puffing hard however we arrived at the Chirk cafe shortly after and had recovered enough to manage coffee and cake.
Todays route was 80km (50miles) with 540 metres (1700ft) of ascent at an average speed of 26kmh (16.25mph)
See route map and/or gpx file download