The weather was forecast to be very cold with little wind, no rain and maybe some sun. With early morning temperatures well below zero I expected frost and ice on the lanes and therefore prepared a route which largely passed over roads likely to have been gritted and which was relatively short. It turned out that a mix of low humidity and some cloud cover meant my fears were unjustified, but we followed the route nonetheless.
We cycled out on the road to Frodsham, Steve T left us as we turned down the hill to Kingsley, then followed the main road to Acton Bridge, and across the Weaver. Here I suffered a rear puncture, the first for a long time, caused by a small stone chip. The tyre was changed, with thanks to Keith’s CO2 cylinder, while the others shivered. I them offered the choice between the original route or the quickest route to the pub: in need of warmth, the short route got it.
In Great Budworth, we passed along Westage Lane which has been closed to traffic for many months due to the road being undermined by badgers. This time work was underway. The badger sett must have been moved, the banks were covered with wire netting to prevent them returning, and workers were finishing off some re-surfacing and clearing overgrown vegetation.
The pub was quickly reached and we ensconced ourselves in front of a warm fire. The welcome was friendly, and the food and drink were satisfying. While we ate, Keith entertained us with his climb up the North Ridge of Tryfan, onto the tops and down beside the Devil’s Kitchen. This led to a number of mountain tales from others before it was time to leave.
Our return was equally short, passing through the Flashes and Marbury Park, then by the Anderton Boat Lift, into Weaverham, Sandiway and Cuddington. Some steep hills back to Norley followed. We said some goodbyes at Hatchmere, and George and I continued for a brew.
Choosing the Visitor Centre Café over the station to get some better coffee (it is better!), we soon regretted this as the place was teaming with people, the queues were long and all the tables occupied. There has been some discussion of using the Visitor Centre rather than the Station café to meet due to the coffee. While there were reasons that today was particularly busy, it can also be very crowded some mornings on good days in the school holidays. We need to bear this in mind if we do switch regarding holiday dates.
Overall we had a good ride of 30 miles with a good pub stop.
See route map and/or gpx file download