A discussion took place as to a suitable place for lunch. It was cold and windy with the threat of rain. No one was too enthusiastic about a long ride and the Carden Arms was suggested. However the wind was from the north and I suggested a ride onto the Wirral which would give us the wind behind us on the way back. So as the brisk group turned left out of Meadow Lea, the moderates (Andy B, Dave H, George, Jim, Mike D, Peter and me) we turned right and headed through Mickle Trafford.
I didn’t have a map but I have ridden these roads so often that I didn’t need one. We zigzagged our way over the M53, past the back of the zoo and over the canal. We were forced into a short diversion because of road works at the top of Chorlton Lane but were soon crossing the A41 at Backford and heading up Demage Lane towards the railway. The Sustrans path alongside the railway slowed us down with all its gates but we put up with it as the alternative is to cycle up main roads. Then it was on through Capenhurst and Ledsham, across the Welsh Road and on to Willaston via the ‘missing link’. We avoided the centre of the village by turning right into Mill Lane but couldn’t avoid a short trip along the busy B5151.
I had intended to stop for lunch at the Wheatsheaf Inn in Raby, which I had visited a few weeks before, but as we approached it was only just past mid-day. A short committee meeting resulted in agreement to carry on and we passed through Thornton Hough and dropped down to the Boathouse at Parkgate. Despite there not being many people in the pub the service was slow but we were warm, not particularly in a hurry and we found plenty to talk about. When the food did eventually arrive it was good and soon devoured.
Soon it was time to re-emerge into the cold and wind but at least it was behind us as we headed along the front at Parkgate and on to the Wirral Way. After a short stretch to Neston we headed down through the houses to Quayside where we passed the Harp and Nets café to reach Burton Marshes. The going was much easier now with the wind behind us and we were soon across the Marshes and through the industrial estate, now with dedicated cycle lanes.
Andy and Peter left us before we headed down the greenway back towards Chester. Jim and I were cycling together while the other three gradually eased ahead. The route back was pretty straight forward and when we approached the flooded area (now fenced off by the council) the three out in front were nowhere to be seen. I was happy that they had found their own way back to Meadow Lea so Jim and I made our own way home. Only 36 miles today and an early finish but a timely one as we made it back just before the rain started to fall.
See route map and/or gpx file download