Having just returned from a wild and storm-tossed week in the Highlands, I did not relish a ride in today’s forecast weather: heavy rain and winds. Neither did I expect much of an attendance in Chirk given the weather and the distance needed to drive there, given the recent petrol shortages. I was pleasantly surprised when six members turned up to join me. David M was there, having planned to arrive by train and cycle back, he had been put off by the earlier rain, and came by car. We discussed next week’s special ride from Audlem that David was going to lead. Those joining today’s ride were Steve T, Dave H, Alan, Andy and Mike.
At 10am, the rain wasn’t as bad as forecast, but was persistent and the wind was gusty. Dave was having trouble with his front tyre valve. The diagnosis was that the valve core needed tightening, and a combined operation took place to fix it in the café’s courtyard. Problem solved we set off. We often leave Chirk by way of Hindhead, which involves a lot of badly surfaced and potentially very muddy lanes – not a route we wished to take on such a wet day.
We set off down Chirk Road, but by The Poacher’s Inn we turned towards Chirk Bank and then to Weston Rhyn to make for the long southerly lane heading past the Old Hill Fort and into Oswestry. A bit of suburban navigation took us to Middleton Lane, where a pick-up towing a sheep trailer forced us into the verge – we’d just been saying how polite the other motorists had been who’d stopped and given way to us. From here we passed through Maesbury, and Knockin, where Dave reminded us of the local store – the “Knockin Shop”. We passed the radio telescope and turned eastwards at Kinnerley, and then started to head back north through West Felton before arriving wet and bedraggled at our destination after 23 miles.
It was good to get out of the wet, though we’d have preferred the radiators to have been on to help dry our gear – but it wasn’t a cold day so we couldn’t really grumble. We spoke about the shortages of fuel and lorry drivers, the absence of foreign holidays, dreams and how chickens are now raised. Food and drink were consumed and soon it was time to leave.
|Photo by AO|
The weather forecast had promised a respite after lunch: showers and sunny spells were anticipated. But we didn’t notice any change, though as we followed the Montgomery Canal, we did appreciate the smooth road surface. When we then crossed the canal, it was by the steepest humpback bridge I know, and then we were in Welsh Frankton. Determined to avoid the muddy lanes mention above, we took the lanes to Old and New Marton, and arrived in St Martin’s just as the schools were closing. Navigating the congestion, we headed down to the A5 roundabout and again made our way to Weston Rhyn, in order to drop down to the Ceriog Valley and take the more pleasant route back into Chirk.
Back at the café, Andy, Mike and I stopped for a drink and said goodbye to the others. We had completed 38 miles, and although it hadn’t rained heavily throughout the day, it had been fairly persistent; but that shows you don’t need good weather to have a good time.