I met Trevor and Ivan at Chester station as we took the 09:26 train to Chirk. It promised to be a very pleasant day all round. Tom joined Ivan and I as we decided to go up the Ceiriog Valley and see where it would lead us afterwards. The steady climb up to the Hand pub was near car-free. The 1 in 6 lane after the pub was definitely more like 1 in 4 at the top, and we maxed out at c1400ft. We had climbed 1100ft in 13 miles. I chose the 5 mile exhilarating downhill run to Llanrhaeadr. Today would consist of a lot of “Llan…” place names. We motor south and over the next range of hills to Llanfyllin where the main attractions are free toilets and parking!
|The benefits of a fiscally devolved Wales|
Photograph by Clive Albany
The A and B roads are essentially traffic free and this gives us the opportunity to admire the beautiful spring countryside of the Tanat and Cain river valleys. At Llansanffraid, we go over the river twice before falling once again into the welcoming arms of the “Bradford Arms” in Llanymynech. As we are the only diners, the food comes quickly, which was much needed after 33 miles of hills. I elect to tour the “Maes” flat countryside nearby as we go through Maesbrook, Maesbury Marsh and Maesbury itself. Here we overtake the recent Queensheaders who are making their way back via Oswestry.
My return route is experimental, so after rushing through Babbingswood, Whittington and Gobowen, we head north and pass Henlle Hall golf club to take the canal path back to Chirk. It’s a bit rough in parts, and is really only a dry-day ride, but it connects us, via the Poacher Inn, to the Chirk aqueduct without having to get on a main road at all. Back by 15:20, we enjoy Magnums in the sunshine in Chirk before moving down to the station for the 15:55 Chester train. Trevor appears a few minutes before it is due, and we are all home by 16:45. We managed 50 circular miles and Ivan’s Garmin has noted a1000 metres of Up - it certainly felt like it!