A good-sized group of 10 met at the café, including Bryan, out for a short ride after illness, and Trevor. The moderate group, consisting of Dave and Liz, Steve T, Dave H, George and myself, decided to head for Llanasa in view of the somewhat limited hours of daylight available to us. I had a plan that if we did our usual route but in reverse, the climb up past the quarries would be all downhill but as Dave pointed out we have to gain the height at some point.
We set off for Northop with the tandem and George in the lead and me speaking from the rear: now there’s a novelty!
The lane to Pentre Halkyn led us steeply up to the top road and then downwards towards Babell. A right turn northwards took us over the A55 on the rather muddy farm bridge and then towards Whitford. A sharp left then took us down to the Red Lion for Lunch. Some enjoyed a tasty lamb stew though others went for the gourmet option of fish finger ciabatta!
As usual we spent too much time in conversation and the time was approaching 2 o’clock when we departed for the return journey. The first half-mile was a rather unwelcome steep climb on top of a full belly but we were soon bowling along the lane towards Whitford again. The promised strong westerly afternoon winds only occurred in gusts and were little help as we climbed steadily up to Gorsedd, past the old priory and east to Brynford. In Pentre Halkyn we turned south up to Windmill and the peak of our day’s climbing. Avoiding the narrow muddy lane by the fishing pond in Halkyn Mountain, we passed through Rhosesmoor and then turned left onto the Northop lane.
This being winter the farmer had been doing some hedge cutting and sure enough, hardly had we reached the lane to Soughton before I felt my valve bumping along the road surface. Luckily Dave P had his ‘master blaster’ pump with him and with a few strokes my tyre was rock hard again. This Lasted until we got to Alltami at which point we decided to take the B road back to Ewloe and Hawarden High Street arriving back at the car park just after 4 pm.
42 stiff, hilly miles, but reasonable dry weather. A good ride for a January day.