I cycled with great care to Delamere Station as the temperature had fallen below zero in the night and by 10 o’clock it was only forecast to have risen to 2 degrees. The roads were largely dry, though patches that looked wet were possibly icy and puddles on the verge were iced over. Others were aware of the risks, with some members staying away and David M coming in civies. In total we had six riders: myself, Steve T, Clive, George, Dave H and Ray.
I had looked for a route that would keep to the busier roads where gritting and the passage of traffic would reduce the ice risk. This took us along B roads, northwards to Kingsley and then easterly past Acton Bridge station, through Davenham and into Northwich. As we travelled east, it seemed to get colder with more frost on the paths. We passed a queue of people waiting for their Covid vaccines. We then crossed the Town Bridge over the Weaver Navigation, one of many listed structures on the waterway, this was built in 1899 and was one of the first electrically powered swing bridges in the country. We avoided the dual carriageway by taking to shopping streets surrounded by more mundane structures, and emerged at the roundabout where we took the B-road to Marston. We stopped for a quick time check as we were running early for our destination. We decided to extend our ride along Budworth Road towards Arley Hall. Here we were onto country lanes for the first time and we noticed more frost, so caution was called for. We reached the security of the B road heading towards Higher Wincham and soon turned right into our destination at around 1210.
We’ve visited the Red Lion at Pickmere before, but this time it was busier despite the early hour, possibly due to the approach of Christmas. We settled ourselves on a large table near to one of their fires and began to warm up. An indication of the cold day was that 4 of us ordered hot drinks. After a bit of a wait our food arrived, mostly reasonably priced bagettes with chips and salad garnish.
|Photo by SHa|
Soon it was time to leave. Over lunch Clive had told us of a café at Pickmere Lake and as we cycled through Pickmere village we saw it signposted by two bright yellow bicycles on our left: somewhere to investigate on another occasion. Our return route assumed that ice on the lanes would have largely gone, and so we took the familiar route through Great Budworth, Comberbach and Little Leigh. Steve T left us to head home at this stage, and the rest of us took the steep hill above Acton Bridge. We passed through Crowton and climbed up Norley Bank, and before long we were at Hatchmere crossroads. Here we split with Clive and Dave heading back to their cars at Delamere Station, and the rest of us making our various ways home.
Despite the cold it, we had made the most of a fine and sunny day. The total distance travelled from and to Delamere was 33 miles.