The forecasters had promised us strong SSE winds gusting to nearly 30mph, plus heavy rain from noon. Given this poor forecast there was a good CER turnout at Alison’s in Tattenhall. It was especially good to see Bob for the first time in some months. He is moving to live near Chorley, and we wish him well in his health and his new life in Lancashire.
The anticipated weather affected our choice of route: either a longer trip south-westward in a crosswind to the Greyhound in St Martin’s, or a shorter route that minimised the time we would spend in rain. The latter was chosen which meant a trip southward to one of our favourite destinations, the Hanmer Arms. The group comprised myself and the other two Steves, Dave H, George, Alan and Andy, plus Neil who was only able to join us for part of the ride. We headed off over the hills by Bolesworth Castle and then to Brown Knowl. Although having not long been riding, we managed to lose both Alan and Steve Hu by the time we reached Broxton Old Hall. Luckily telephone communication was established and they re-joined us shortly afterwards. We continued on to No Man’s Heath and began the climb up to Malpas. Here heavy rain began to fall and we donned our waterproofs expecting to be wet for the rest of the day. The route took us through Lower Wych, by when the rain had petered out. It didn’t take long to reach Eglwys Cross and join the A-roads that led us into Hanmer village by 1230. Although we had often been riding into the wind, it didn’t cause us too many problems, perhaps we had been sheltered by the landscape.
We had called ahead to alert the pub, but need not have worried as initially we were the sole customers. Drinks and food were ordered, the light bite fish and chips proving most popular and very tasty. Conversation ranged widely but, after George described having watched Jeremy Clarkson’s Farm, tended to focus on farming. Specifically, Clarkson’s lack of farming aptitude and the massive cost of farm machinery, narrow margins and where did farmers make their money.
|Photo by SH|
It was still not raining when we left the pub. We headed for Tallarn Green and Threapwood, noticing, as we leave Chapel Lane and join the B-road, a substantial house oddly named “The Holy Land”. From there we made for Tilston and Stretton, passed by Manor Wood café, and were soon back in Tattenhall. We’d only covered 34 miles, our return helped by a strong tailwind. The heavy rain hadn’t materialised, though when I reached home, I found it had fallen there and much more would later in the day. I think we’d been lucky.