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Sunday, 15 December 2019

12th December 2019: Gresford - Christmas Lunch Ride (mod)

I can't believe another year has gone by. Time for the annual Christmas Lunch ride again. Dave H kindly volunteered me (Thanks Dave!!!) to lead the moderates so on a damp wet morning which was destined to get worse I met up with Dave, Jim and Steve T for the ride up to Hawarden. We cycled into town, down to the river and along to the Old Dee Bridge. I will start my narrative at this point as we were to return here later in the day to complete a circular route.

We continued alongside the river skirting round the Little Roodee car park and then the racecourse. After passing the new flats we were forced onto New Crane Street for a short distance before cutting through The Cop back to the riverside. We followed the river now as far as the Ferry Lane bridge where we crossed over into Wales. Here we turned right onto the main road and passed the back of the Airbus factory. At the roundabout we turned right and then left up Rake Lane before turning right again for the final run up to Hawarden.

Although we were early we weren't the first to arrive and eleven riders had turned up by the time we had to leave. The brisk riders had planned their own ride and Steve joined them while we were joined by Andy B, Mike G, Peter and Brian. The seven of us set off down the Wrexham road then turned left up towards the A55 footbridge. As we neared the top we could see snow on the hills to our right. The question was would we get the promised rain later or would it be snow? It was certainly cold enough.

We turned right and then left into Old Hope Road and followed familiar lanes below Hope and Llay. As we crossed the Rossett – Llay road the weather worsened. The snow kept itself to the upper levels but it was raining by the time we reached Gresford Road. Here we dropped down to cross the bridge over the dual carriageway and turned into Springfield Lane. This took us to the bottom of Marford Hill. Peter wasn't able to join us for lunch and left us here while we climbed our way up into Gresford. At the lights we turned left and right into Old Wrexham Road. Only a mile to go to lunch now and shortly after passing The Flash we arrived at the Pant-yr-Ochain.

We had arrived cold and wet but that was soon forgotten as we headed to the bar for some pre-lunch drinks. We were first to arrive but we were soon joined by the brisk riders and those who had taken more notice of the weather forecast. We have been to the Pant-yr-Ochain for our Christmas lunch on several occasions and for good reason. They always put on a good lunch and today was no exception. Mercifully the conversation topics over lunch did not include politics or the day's general election.

All too soon lunch was over and we had to head back out into the cold and rain. Maybe it was the warming lunch or maybe it was good selection of ales that were on offer. Either way it helped us to forget about the wet weather. Even so we opted for the most direct route back. Andy, Mike & Brian went their own separate ways while Steve returned to us along with Clive for part of the way. We headed back through Gresford, down Marford Hill and then straight on through Rossett and Pulford. After the Grosvenor Garden Centre we turned right to pass through Eccleston & Handbridge before crossing the Old Dee Bridge to complete our circular route. Only 31 miles but 38 in total to get back to our starting point.

A big thank you to Dave H for organising the lunch again this year. Not an easy task as I know from experience. Happy Christmas to all our blog readers and all the best for 2020.

See route map and/or gpx file download


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