On what will probably be the last warm and sunny day of the season, there were plenty of Easy Riders gathered at Cleopatra’s. The mods were destined for The Navigation Inn at Maesbury Marsh, following a route that I’d pulled from the blog some time ago. I’m not sure who devised it, but as we followed the route, it had all the feeling of one of Clive’s. When it was first done, I do not know and it would take forever to sift through all 790 on the blog to work that out.
So Andy B, Andy W, Dave H, Dave M, Peter, George, Fiona and yours truly set off through Farndon, heading for Shocklach, Worthenbury and points generally south. Apart from the odd missed turn, things went well, at least to begin with. We even went ‘off piste’ near Penley and found a small lane about which Dave M waxed lyrical before rejoining the pre-ordained route. Stops were made occasionally to make sure we didn’t lose anyone along the way as we meandered down the quiet lanes of Shropshire.
Crossing the A495 at Welsh Frankton, we crossed the Llangollen Canal at Lower Frankton. However, things went wrong at Rednal. Andy W, Fiona and I were a little ahead of the others and they missed us as we turned down the lane going to West Felton. By the time we reached Grimpo, we could no longer hear Dave H’s dulcet tones, which I’d been relying on as evidence that the group was still together (bear in mind that I can’t look backwards these days as the surgeon sewed my head back on facing strictly forwards.) So, I back-tracked for some distance without finding the rest of the group, but then I had a call from Dave H to say that they were at Queens Head, but it was OK as he had his maps with him and could find The Navigation Inn OK. I headed back towards Grimpo only to find Andy W and Fiona in telephone conversation with Dave M. ‘We’re in the Queens Head’ he was saying. Andy thought that the lunch stop had been changed until I told him that Queens Head is a place as well as a pub and that we were going to The Navigation Inn as planned.
So we pressed on through West Felton and came across the rest of the group at Woolston, just a mile or so away from our lunchtime destination, 29 miles from our starting point.
The pub (who we’d phoned earlier) was very quiet with only one person on duty, so I was a little concerned about how long it might take to get served. The guy took our orders for drinks and food and at one point, Dave M asked if his wife was slaving away in the kitchen preparing food for us. ‘That’s my husband!’ was the reply at which point tumbleweed could be seen blowing through the bar…….
In the event, no harm was done and our food came quite quickly and was of good quality. We ate outside in the warm sunshine, next to the canal. A young couple were there with a dog, but they soon left, claiming that they needed to get back for the school run. A likely tale! By choice, George sat on his own in the shade, listening to the conversations going on around the two tables we were sitting around. Saving nuggets of info for future use, no doubt.
As we gathered for the traditional photo, a nice young lady offered to take one including us all, which makes a change. I’m sure you’ll be impressed with the composition, with Andy B and George posing on the steps.
|Photo by CER|
Our route back was a little more direct, with less meandering and some busier roads. A wrong turn at Whittington (I blame reflections on my screen) meant that we had to turn around and make a right turn at a time when every large wagon in Shropshire seemed to be coming around the same junction.
On we pressed through St Martin’s and Overton, where Dave M left us to make for home. We went on to Bangor-on-Dee where we crossed the cobbled bridge against the flow of traffic and joined the A525 for a short distance before turning right to skirt Wrexham. At Bowling Green our plan was to take a route along small lanes which run approximately parallel with the B5130. Fiona needed to get home, so she opted to take the B-road route back for Holt. Andy W told me ‘the thing to remember about this bit is that you turn right at every junction……except for the first one where you turn left.’ And so it was that we trundled into Holt at about 4.20, having covered just over 54 miles.
Andy W left for home whilst the rest of us stayed for a well-earned cup of tea and (for Dave H only), a slice of cake.
A great day out in warm sunshine and, once again, no need to clean the bike. As George said, we’ll remember that bonus fondly was we sluice mud, cow muck and other detritus off our bikes in the coming months.