The rain caught me just before arriving at the Gallery where six of us (Brian M, George, Ken, Tom, Martin and myself) ended up in the warm but a bit wet. Liz D was also out “breaking in” her healing fractured foot on the bike. I proposed a ride over the Halkyns to Gronant via St Asaph, 51 miles around. So we set off under leaden skies with the rain clearing going the usual way towards Northop. Down Magazine Lane, we espy an enormous waste lorry slowly making its way down the very narrow lane towards us. After we managed to get past via the stinging nettles in the verge, we find out why the lorry was going slowly. It was acting as a branch slayer. We had to stop many times to remove broken branches off the roadway. Out through Northop, I elect to take The Green up towards the Bluebell pub. We sensibly agree to go at our own pace and further agree to meet at the Bluebell pub. Ken, Martin and I arrive to find Tom already there! He had been at the back and hadn’t heard the routing instructions, but nonetheless had figured out where we would be. We wait for 15 minutes or more, and Ken goes back down the lane (twice) to try to find George and Brian whilst I send George an explanatory text. After 20 minutes, we four decide to ride on to Rhuallt via Babell.
Photographs by Clive Albany
The sun is out now and the visibility is extensive. At Pant, I decide to go off-piste by taking the lane to Sodom. This lane is almost level with a kick up to the top of the hill outside Tremierchion. A few more turns takes down the tiny dead-end lane to overfly the A51 and down into Rhuallt proper. Running parallel to the A51 we fly down to ride the wide footbridge over the A51 and up into St Asaph. Here we follow cycle route 84 northwest towards Rhyl, before going through Rhuddlan bound for the “Bells of St Mary” at Gronant. The castle built by Edward I in 1277 is magnificent in the sunshine as are the “Three Knights of the Road” posing by the Medieval homage sculpture at the bridge over the Clwyd river.
The pub is heaving as it is Half Term week but service is brisk as we tuck in after 32 miles. The return is along the coast road with a few shimmies to get us running parallel but not actually on the road. Coffee and cake is at the cafe behind Sainsburys. A few more wiggles and we are in Connah’s Quay where we four go our separate ways home. So, not a spectacular routing, a mystery as to where George and Brian got to, but nonetheless an enjoyable, almost dry, bright day over the Halkyns to 900ft and back.