The five of us set off down Newton Lane and followed the usual route via Beeston Castle and Bunbury. At the far side of Bunbury, Trevor’s route had followed Long Lane through Haughton and Radmore Green, but we took the earlier turning south via Capper’s Lane and Brindley. In any event, both routes converged at Ravensmoor and we made our way to Audlem via Sound, Brown’s Bank and Copthorne, arriving in Audlem at about 11:55.
The choice of lunch venue was either The Lord Combermere, where we ate last time, or the Old Priest House Café, where we haven’t been for some time. I suggested the latter and when we walked in there was absolutely no-one else there. Bingo! we’ve struck lucky, I thought. Then the nice lady asked if we were with the party who’d booked for lunch, which, of course, we weren’t. Oh dear!
But not to worry; “ I’ll put you in the front room”, she says. “Would you like beans on toast?” This was more of an instruction than an offer, so we all said ‘yes’ and also agreed to wholemeal toast. We did, however, get the choice between tea or coffee, so it wasn’t all bad. Lunch soon arrived, as did the party of cyclists in the big room who seemed to be celebrating someone’s birthday.
|Wrenbury Canal Bridge - KP Photo|
Beans on toast don’t take long to eat, so we were back on the road by 12:45, this time following Trevor’s route more faithfully. We left Audlem, initially on the A525, but quickly turning off for Swanbach and Wilkesley before turning north towards Aston. We passed the Bhurtpore Inn (and the moderates eating their curries) at 13:10. From there, it was up through Wrenbury and a stop at Wrenbury Mill for the team photo – except nobody had told Nick, who flew ahead up the road towards Chorley Bank. After what seemed like light years, Nick came back for the photo and our onward journey via Gaunton Bank, Norbury and Cholmondeley Castle.
At Clay Lane, Nick peeled off for Tilston and home and the rest of us enjoyed the run down the A534 to Bulkeley, Peckforton and Beeston, from whence we retraced our steps to the ICF. Ken took his leave at the end of Newton Lane, which left Andy B, Paul and myself to avail ourselves of refreshments there.
46 miles at an average of 15 mph on a day when the blustery wind seemed to be in your face, whichever direction you were travelling. An additional insult was the state of the roads; although we never strayed from tarmacadam, I have rarely seen bikes more muddy that those which were parked outside the ICF at the end of the ride.