Only Roy, Liz and Martin arrived at the Tea Rooms in Chirk. This, a rather upmarket cafe with good scones and coffee but a poor taste in piped music that even follows you to the toilet. We decided to take a route SW to Llanarmon DC and a flatter return along the Ceriog valley back to Chirk. On walking out of the cafe we met Dave and Liz P driving down the main street. They pulled up and after a short discussion they decided to do their own thing in view of the hilly terrain with the possibility to meet up for lunch. The three of us set out and immediately hit a short steep hill out of the town. The hills continued with 15-20% gradients appearing frequently on the Garmin. Roy, of course, led on the climbs but was happy to wait at the top for the oldies to catch up. The further west we rode the wilder the countryside became with views to the left of the Berwyn summits. Finally a long steep climb brought us to the highest point.
From here it was down hill all the way to Llanarmon DC where we found a choice of two pubs. A conversation with a group sitting outside The Hand made the choice for us. In particular they recommend the steak sandwich. Before even entering the pub we saw Liz and Dave riding towards us having followed the Ceriog valley - almost perfect timing! The food was excellent albeit expensive (£8 for steak sandwich and chips). We all took the same route back along the Ceriog Valley and this was much easier but very pleasant. Liz and Dave decided to do some exploring whilst the remainder of us returned to our cars in Chirk having clocked some 33 miles, 850m of ascent and no punctures.
I think Chirk deserves to be a more popular starting point. It is short drive in terms of time with the alternative of a train journey from Chester. There is beautiful surrounding countryside with quite lanes, plenty of interesting hills, a good cafe and choice of lunch stops.