It was a warm, sunny and dry forecast at last. It was smashing to be able to return to Cleopatra's, and sit outside in shorts and short sleeved tops. Catching up with Elwyn and Fiona was enjoyable, but they couldn't join us on the ride. Nick also turned up for a coffee, but was doing his own thing on the day. Most of the other regular lead riders were elsewhere, so my half-baked thoughts of an intricate route to the Dickin Arms were accepted.
The moderate group were Dave Matthews, Andy Barber, Mike Gilbert, Mike Dodd, Steve Hughes, George, Alan and myself. We pottered along to Tilston with plenty of breath to spare for interesting chats. Malpas is best avoided, so my back route to Lower Wych was via Horton Green, Cuddington Heath, and Oldcastle Heath. After climbing up from Lower Wych we turned left, passing the attractive Strift House before drifting south on little lanes to Whitewell. We crossed two main roads without any problems before entering the delightful rural corridor to Whixhall and beyond. Steve did us a favour by phoning the Dickin Arms to ensure that we could be accommodated for lunch. We headed towards Wem by an intricate lacework of lanes near the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal. Mike Gilbert was particularly interested, having spent many happy hours of his childhood on a narrow boat. Mike is an excellent route navigator, but he was unclear where exactly I wanted to go (that made two of us!). The upshot was that we spent a lot of time pleasantly meandering, but becoming behind schedule for lunch. For expediency, I was no longer contemplating Wem, Tilley and Nonely as a route to Loppington, but headed briskly for Poolhead, Lowe and Horton. Steve had rung the pub again as my e.t.a. was passing. They said, that was fine, but we would have to make it before 1.30 p.m. We made it with five minutes to spare! And it was well worth it. We had two adjacent tables shaded by an airy canvas construction, and the food was excellent, good value and served swiftly. We joked with two local ladies, who took an interest in our day out. One of the staff kindly took our group photograph, before we headed home.
|Photo by Mike G|