As I drove out to Chirk, at one point the thermometer in the car registered -2.5C. Outside the car it felt like the coldest start we’ve had this winter, so it was good to see six mod and six brisk riders gather in the Castle Bistro. Welsh Covid regulations now require that groups of no more than 6 can gather indoors, so sitting on separate tables, we fell within that threshold. The mod group comprised Mike, just back from Germany, Andy B, George, Dave H, Steve T and myself.
We were concerned about ice on the lanes, so initially we kept to main roads, crossing the A5 and heading up to St Martins. From here we struck out on minor roads through New and Old Marton. We could see frost on the pavements and one small stretch of ice on the road as we cautiously navigated these lanes. We passed near a trig point recording 138m above sea level, and hoped the surfaces would be less cold as we descended from here. We had noticed the tracks of some road bikes and thought perhaps the brisk group had taken the same route ahead of us.
After passing through Perthy we took a short stretch of A-road before descending to Welsh and Lower Frankton. We sped up passing through West Felton and Maesbrook, and shortly arrived at the Bradford Arms in Llanymynech. A friendly welcome and a warm open fire made us regret we hadn’t visited more recently – the last record I could find was from 2018. Welsh Covid restrictions need not be a reason for saying away because although the street outside is in Wales, the pub itself is in England. We speculated on why there is a Bradford Arms here and also nearby in Knockin, when the closest we were to Yorkshire seemed to be the Black Sheep Bitter they served. It stems from the Earldom of Bradford and today “Bradford Estates stewards 12000 acres of land in Shropshire and Staffordshire”.
|Photo by SHa|
Well fed and watered we left the warmth of the pub and headed NE through Morton and Maesbury. After crossing the A5, we had to decide whether to return via Whittington or Oswestry. Oswestry won and soon we were following familiar lanes past the Old Hillfort and into Weston Rhyn. The temperatures had improved and the day had been sunny throughout, but Andy warned us about possible ice on the north-facing descent from Weston Rhyn to the Ceiriog Valley. Indeed, he was right, but by this time in the afternoon it was limited to the side of the carriageway, so unhindered we descended and then climbed back up again to arrive back into Chirk and stop for a final brew.
Despite the cold start, it had been a great day out: sunny and with little wind. The lanes had often been filthy, but we’d revisited one of our favourite lunch stops and travelled around 37 miles.