I’d decided upon a circuitous route to a Holywell lunch stop with two options for the return making either a 38 mile or 45 mile ride. Lunch was planned at the old Woolworth’s in the High Street, which would be 26 miles of the route completed with Wetherspoon’s to look forward to. We four (Ivan, Ray, John, and myself) set off bound for Buckley heights. We head for Llong down new lanes out of the back of Buckley, then off towards Gwernymynydd. Ignoring the short double-chevroned hill at Fron Hall, we turn right down a small new lane bound for the Mold suburbs. We wiggle through some attractive housing areas before accessing the westerly Gwernaffield road then turning right off it at Bryn Farm. Here we take the delightful lane across and down to the A541 west of Hendre. Just before we get to the A541, ominously black clouds appear, and we get ready for an icy deluge. It arrives promptly and we have to endure the car and lorry spray on the A road before turning right and up the steep climb towards Lixwm.
Thankfully the rain soon stops and the sun comes out as we head north for Babell down more new lanes. It’s a straight run to Gorsedd and Carmel before accessing the pedestrian High Street into the warm arms of Wetherspoon’s. As ever, service is prompt, there are good beers, and the price is right. The lunchtime discussion ranges through the history of religion in England, and in the wake of the Paris massacre, the need for understanding other peoples’ or country's viewpoints, but also not necessarily agreeing with them.
Photograph by John Wilkie
I offer the two return options, and as soon as I suggest we go up onto the top, there is a preference for the going down route. Leaving briefly by the main road to Bagillt, we dive off down a single chevon lane and up the steep complementary climb out onto the top again, to good views of the Wirral and beyond in the afternoon sunshine. We wend our way down tiny lanes into the back of Bagillt and take the old road and contra-directional cycle path to the outskirts of historic Flint. Opposite Sainsbury’s I spot the NCN5 sign and dive off towards the Dee estuary. We cycle up the little inlet as the tide comes in at Flint Point to get a magnificent panorama of the Dee estuary with Parkgate opposite us and the “new” bridge and Shotton steelworks in the distance. I wonder out loud what the scene would have been like back in the 13C when Edward I built the castle and what the inlet had been used for. Was this where Griff Rhys Jones came ashore to start his Holywell Pilgrimage? We wander passed the forlorn castle and, as going back to Hawarden was unnecessary, we head the usual way home via the now newly cream Hawarden railway bridge and along the greenway. It would have been only 38m back to the Gallery, but I was pleased to ride some new lanes and to have sampled the forgotten past of Flint.