We gathered at Hawarden for our first ride from here since hearing the sad news of Spiros’ passing - it was a thoughtful moment. Alison seemed to have called all hands to the pump to keep the place going and we had our usual good and friendly service.
It was likely to be a fine day, and although a westerly wind was blowing, this was only forecast to strengthen later on, prompting a plan to cycle out west to Gwaenysgor, and get blown back east. Although the Eagle and Child is a popular destination, no-one seems to have found how to pronounce the name of the village, making it hard to explain to people where were going. It was a good turnout of eight moderates: myself, Dave H, Steve T, Alan, Keith, Andy B, Trevor and Clive, back from his holidays in Cornwall. John W also briefly looked in and then went on his way.
I had a route out which we followed with Alan’s input, whereas Alan had a route back which he followed with Clive’s input. We headed out to cross the big roundabout at Ewloe, and then took Green Lane/Magazine Lane to drop down by Northop Hall, continuing into Northop, before climbing up Middle Mill Road to gain altitude and arrive in Halkyn. Thence on to Babell and Pen-y-cefn, heading almost onto the A55, before running parallel to it, past a field which I remember sometimes being filled with daffodils, but today was too late in the season. It seems that Andy is a connoisseur of A55 crossing points having investigated most of them, but he approved of this one as being one of the least dodgy. We headed north to Trelawnyd, with Gop Hill high ahead of us, to which Andy drew our attention. This is the second-largest neolithic mound in Britain after Silbury Hill, in Wiltshire, and prehistoric remains have been found in the caves beneath it. From Trelawnyd it was a short ride west along the A road, before heading north again and reaching our destination.
In the Eagle and Child we were directed to an Arthurian round table, underneath a remarkable wooden motorbike hanging on the wall.
|Photo by SH|
We settled with our drinks and made our choices from the menu – whilst we could have had Eagle Burgers or an Eagle Brunch, there seemed to be no child-related food choices! While waiting, Alan received a video call from Steve Hu, who while absent somewhere in NW Scotland was obviously missing his Thursday with Easy Riders. As usual we had good service food and drinks before we left for what now seems to be an obligatory ride up the hill for the spectacular viewpoint above the 33% gradient descent and overlooking Prestatyn and the windmills in the Irish Sea.
|Photo by AO|
For our return Alan took us to Llanasa, Berthengam and Trelogan, before descending to Mostyn – along several lanes which were delightful and new to many of us. Here we joined the North Wales coastal routes avoiding the main road where we could to Bagillt and Flint. Here our cohesive group fragmented: Alan and Clive heading towards their homes, Trevor and I detouring for coffee and cakes at Temptations Café before heading to the Greenway, and the remainder heading back towards Northop Hall and Hawarden. The route totalled 46 very enjoyable miles in good weather and company.