I was somewhat surprised that, given the forecast and the locale, 10 lost souls turned up at Hawarden for an obviously wet ride out over the Clwydians. After temporarily warming ourselves in the Gallery café, Jim suggested a route towards Llandegla and Martin suggested the Plough as a lunch venue. A done deal then: so we ten (Martin, Ray, Dave H, Jim, Ivan, Paul, Mike G, Colin, Tony and I) led by Jim, set off through Ewloe and Northop bound. It was damp but not unpleasant, but after Soughton the rain did not disappoint us. We ground up the hill towards Gwernaffield taking a right to Cadole and Loggerheads. At the main road Jim was planning a left and a right until Martin described the plethora of hills in prospect so thinking better of it Jim offered Martin the lead to navigate the group towards Llanarmon. Along the main road towards Llanferres we go as the rain pours down. We take the ever-rising river of a lane off the Rhydtalog road into the hub of Llanarmon and then the also ever rising lane towards the head of the Nant y Garth pass. The lunch venue is nearly in sight as we turn left, and down through and out of Llandegla and onto the A525 and the Plough.
The CER lunch booking secretary (aka Liz D) had thoughtfully booked ahead to reserve ten places. Well quiet it was and quiet it stayed since I believe we were the only patrons at lunch. The Pensioner Special was enjoyed and tasty it was, but could have been hotter, especially the coffee! Nonetheless the Plough is a useful addition to the lunchtime venue listing. Ivan was itching to go as it had apparently stopped lashing it down and Mike G decided to leave us here Prestatyn bound. A false dawn it was as the rain recommenced as we nipped up the lane across the road and onto the A5104 to the Rhydtalog crossroads. The route back took us on the back lanes through Treuddyn, passed Leeswood Hall and to Llong. It was early, so as I was leading after lunch, a few miles were added in as we “enjoyed” drenched lanes almost to Hope and then the reverse route back along Lower Mountain Lane to Bilberry Wood. A few of us fancied coffee at Hawarden Farm shop whilst others had had enough and took to their cars for home. Only 38 rainy miles today, and a few hills, but in a strange masochistic way still enjoyable. As I arrived home with 55 meagre miles on the clock, the heavens opened, but this time I had beaten the rain to it!