As we gathered at the car park outside Abbey Gate College preparing for the off two members of the group were missing. His sat nav had sent Denis on a route via Warrington but he and Alan just made it for our 10am start. There must have been something special in a field across the road because slowly but surely members of the group were climbing over the wall to have a peek. Anyway I think it was a peek that they were having!
Phil 1 was leading and he outlined the route mentioning that there were one or two inclines on the ride. Ash was joining us for the first time and so was introduced to the rest of the group. Steve had put his hand up to cover the camera while Phil 2 offered to cover the back marker role. We set off from Saighton along quiet country roads that were fairly flat on the way to Tattenhall. The weather was fresh and pleasant with a light breeze to keep us cool and with little traffic everyone had time to chat and catch up on recent events. We left Tattenhall and then began climbing gradually through Chowley to Clutton. Everyone negotiated the hill out of Clutton and we continued meandering through country lanes and gradually climbing. We passed several groups of young people yomping up one of the road climbs carrying rucksacks that were considerably bigger than anything we were carrying. Isn’t it great to see young people enjoying the outdoors and challenging themselves. We regathered towards the top of one of the longer inclines and, after a breather, Phil set off in the wrong direction going uphill. Pete spotted his Garmin error and the group were happier as Phil set off downhill only to turn a corner to meet another uphill!
We headed on towards Burwardsley stopping for a photo shot and under orders to put our hands in the air for cameraman Steve before making the final climb up to our lunch stop at the Pheasant Inn. The climb was challenging for some of the group while others mentioned that after the Way of the Roses it was no problem!
The views from the pub across the Cheshire Plain were glorious although Liverpool was hidden in a haze in the distance. We were almost ready to go when John asked whether he had time for a swift half and when he got the nod Roger and Ash then joined him. The usual suspects had already had a pint and resisted the temptation to have another. The final 10 miles at first downhill and then generally flat all the way back to our start point was welcomed. The weather had stayed fine, traffic had been light and we had plenty chance for banter along the way. We had a couple of chains coming off on the climbs but, thankfully, nothing more technical than that. Seventeen of us had enjoyed a grand day out in the Cheshire countryside.