Great minds think alike they say, so Jim’s idea of going to Calverhall and mine to go a little further to Hodnet bore this out as about a dozen of us supped tea and coffee at the Ice Cream Farm. Five of us (Ivan, Ray, Mike G, Tony and I) shot off bound for Hodnet. The idea was to go via Burwardsley to Malpas then Higher Wych and on to Fenn Bank. Mike G seemed to have fuelled up with nitro as he led for most of the day’s cycling at a very fast pace. Arriving at Tilstock, my bike nav was playing up, so luckily Mike’s stone age technology of an OS map came into play as we shot off left bound for Prees, Marchamley and finally Hodnet.
The Bear Hotel was the lunchtime venue and we were very pleased to get into the warm. The sun never really came out all day and if anything, it got colder post lunch. The food was fine but the pub a little unfriendly. The return routing took us up some delightful lanes to Ightfield and then via Edgeley into the back of Whitchurch. Sniffing our way through the town, we accessed the towpath to take us to Grindley Brook. We then dodged either side of the A41 exiting to take the lane to Hampton Post, Brown Knowl and then down behind Bolesworth Castle to be back at the café, 57 miles later, just before 16:00. The cake and tea were welcome as Ivan rang Andy to find that the other group were still some 10 miles away. Returning to Chester with 80+ miles under our tyres, we reflected on where does Mike G get his energy from, and why hadn’t the sun shone as per the forecast. Never mind – a grand day out all the same.