George led us out at an ideal pace to Northop, past the horticultural college and on to Halkyn and Pentre Halkyn. This includes that small, wince inducing stretch of the A55, where you are half expecting a smack from behind from a wide load. George's expert knowledge of the area persuaded us to stretch as far as Babell, before heading south to Lixwm. This was all very pleasant, with an easy pace, and the weather holding up, so far.
On hitting the A541 at Nannerch we had less than a couple of miles, before we were back on lovely back lanes, tootling south to Cilcain. We were not sure if the landlord would be in a good mood at Cilcain, or be able to serve us quickly, so we ploughed on to Cafe Florence at Loggerheads. It was becoming a little damp, but not enough to warrant a costume change if you weren't a Pipe. I am told that relatives of Clive had owned the cafe. Anyway it was busy, friendly and the soup seemed particularly lip-smackingly tasty.
The bad weather looked like it had arrived; it probably had a name like "Storm Dia"! Jim had been away, and was not up for too much meandering or many more hills. Route one for home was fast as we hoped, with Trevor describing the swoop down the Mold by-pass as "exhilarating!" The rain wasn't too bad, and we soon reached Buckley. I turned left at the lights, but had nobody behind me. I turned right for Knowl Hill, and guessed a route past Drury that brought me out on the A550, about a mile from the car park at Hawarden. I believe the others had not got the lights, but had gone straight down to Ewloe, and then right to Hawarden. I think the rain had stopped on the last stretch. Whatever, we were not cold or soaked, and we were back in good time.
A thoroughly enjoyable ride in relaxing company. One of those days when you think, "Is it worth it?" the night before, and finish up being really glad you made the effort. The basic ride was about 35 miles.
See route map and/or gpx file download.