A Bakers Dozen CER members turned up at Meadow Lea on an overcast and drizzly morning. It was good to see Andy W along with Dave and Liz Pipe after a long Covid-induced break. It turned out that there would be seven moderate riders, whilst Ivan and John W constituted the briskers.
But where to go, as there had been a last minute change of venue? I had managed to root out a ride to Parkgate, originally devised by Trevor a couple of years ago and had loaded onto my phone. Consequently I was elected ride leader and set off with Clive, Dave H, Andy B, Alan, George and Peter, turning right out of the café car park heading for The Wirral (or is it just Wirral? – answers on a postcard please). We zigzagged our way over the M53, past the back of the zoo and over the canal past Chorlton Hall. We were soon crossing the A41 at Backford and heading up Demage Lane towards the railway. The Sustrans path alongside the railway slowed us down with all its gates but we put up with it as the alternative is to cycle up main roads. Then it was on through Capenhurst and Ledsham, across the Welsh Road and on to Willaston. At some point after the Sustrans path, Peter stopped to take a phone call, saying that he’d meet up with us at Parkgate, so we were now six.
As we’d been going along, I’d been having a conversation with Clive about where we were headed and where we might eat. He suggested that we should divert from Trevor’s route at Willaston and head up to Raby Mere. The mere was 'created' some 350 years ago by damming the river Dibbins that once flowed through this part of the Wirral. A mill was built in 17th century and this in turn was powered via a sluice from the Mere itself. Having made use of the photo opportunity provided by the mere, we pressed on through the outskirts of Bebbington heading for Claremont Farm Café and Farmshop where we hoped to find lunch and, according to Clive, the best pork pies anywhere.
When we arrived, the place was heaving. The car park was full and the café full of people, so it was agreed that this wasn’t the place for us, although we did take advantage of the facilities. By this time the rain was heavier and more persistent, so waterproofs were donned.
Plan B was the café at Brimstage Hall, so Clive led us through the housing estates on the periphery of Bebbington and almost all the way to Storeton, before turning south for Brimstage. The cafe turned out to be an excellent choice, being much less crowded and providing us with shelter from the rain whilst we ordered and ate a very satisfactory lunch.
|Photo by Alan|
The rain had stopped by the time we left Brimstage and we threaded our way through Thornton Hough and Neston to join the boardwalk across the marshes at Ness. From there it was the usual route through the Deeside Industrial Estate to connect to the Greenway. Clive peeled off for home part way along and the rest of us arrived back at Meadow Lea in time for refreshments before they closed at 4pm.
A very pleasant 39 miles visiting one or two places not seen before. Thanks go to Clive for suggesting the ‘route extension’ and for leading on that section. Thanks to the rest of the crew for their company and support and apologies to Peter for not showing up at Parkgate.
I hitched a lift back to sunny Runcorn from Dave H and was more than a bit surprised when I got my bike out of the back of the Berlingo to find that my back tyre was flat. How lucky was that!