The weather forecast was for snow, high winds, hail, and rain; and for once it was spot on. As Steve T, John and myself battled around the familiar Wirral Périphérique route in a clockwise manner, we got the lot. I was the first to arrive at Ness, and then a solitary rider, aka Mike, asked if I was from CER. Mike knew of us from John who soon arrived. The Moderates arrived (Jim, Dave H and Steve T) and were doing their own thing, but Steve T decided to chance his ride with the three Briskers - little did we know how much of risk the ride might turn out to be! Just as we left, there was a huge deluge of hail rattling on the cafe glass roof. Did we sit down and take another coffee? No! We set off down towards Burton Marsh and the Nets café lane to the Harp. Mike decides he’d already had enough and peeled off for home.
We remaining three then literally battled along the track being shot-blasted by the hail stinging our faces. We reached much needed cover near the Harp and the wind dropped a little but the hail turned to heavy snow. As we battled on near to Allans Meadow, I was tempted to call at Brian Mac’s house and seek sanctuary. We have a quick conference, and after brushing off the rapidly accumulating snow from our wet weather gear, we elect to get onto the Wirral Way that would offer us grip in the snow and hail. The snow eases off and we agree to keeping going to West Kirby and make a decision there. The newly widen trackway is somewhat bumpier than I recall, but we make good progress and arrive in West Kirby with the sun out. We elect to go on as the wind will be behind us all the way to New Brighton. So, taking the cycleway past Hoylake station, we end up on the North Parade prom. Here I easily manage 35mph under wind assist, and John a bit more as he glides by me. We quickly arrive in New Brighton somewhat frozen even with the sun out and opt for the familiar but distinctly cold and draughty Seaside Cafe and the all-day breakfast while our gloves dry and warm on the single radiator.
Photographs by John Wilkie
As we leave in the sunshine, the wind gets up as we trundle easily along Magazines Promenade, past Seacombe and Woodside ferry terminals for the familiar Wirral Wander trail back towards Chester. Around Rock Ferry Park, the clouds darken ominously and we get shot-blasted again with hail until Eastham Ferry. Here it’s a quick run to Childer Thornton. As none of us need to get back to Ness Gardens, we access the NCN 56 cycleway towards Mollington.
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