Despite forecasts of strong winds and possible snow over high land, a good sized group of riders met in Hawarden for another day of winter delights.
The moderate group planned to go uphill, into the wind, so a small leisure group of myself, Steve H and Andy W, led by Dave and Liz on the tandem, set off in the opposite direction towards Rossett.
The route was not all downhill, however, as we started with the steep climb up the ‘orrible ‘ill’ at the back of the castle. This brought us up through Bilberry Wood and on towards Mountain Road. Here we were able to assess Flintshire Council’s road repair strategy, which appears to consist of putting some ‘rough road ’signs up where necessary. I wonder how long it will be before they actually fix it.
The day was very pleasant, if a little chilly, as we progressed round the back of Penyfford. We crossed the B5102 onto Gegin Lane, past the quarries, where the road became progressively messy-in fact well down to Clive standard! It got worse before we reached the end with threatening puddles right across the lane. Andy was grumbling as he had set off with a pristine machine which was now anything but. By the time we reached the junction at Llay we decided that we were going to be too early for the pub, but Dave had spotted an interesting looking lane straight ahead that no-one remembered having been down so we went on an explore. Soon we were descending a rather steep slope, and as every downhill is followed by an uphill, were soon pushing up the other side. This took us into Llay suburbs and then into Alyn Waters Country Park. A pleasant tootle round the eastern section brought us out on another lane, similarly spread with mud and gravel - cue more grumbling from Andy, where we returned to Llay back through another park track. We were now heading down ‘Ivan’s Hill’ towards the A55 bridge and Gresford. Once on the B5445 we soon reached the Alyn Pub at Rosset. Encouragingly it was nice and warm inside, and the staff very welcoming, as we chose our meals from the well-priced menu. Having eaten and warmed up it was time to head homewards. Andy and Steve turned off towards Farndon, with the tandem and myself heading for Chester via Doddleston. The afternoon was no warmer than the morning but at least the wind was almost behind us. We were soon battling the traffic on the Grosvenor island on the way to Handbridge.
A moderate distance of about 35 miles or so and dry too!