The debate over our destination was settled and at the time we agreed to head for The Black Lion in Ellesmere, all except Bryan who was doing his own thing. As we donned our outer gear, Dave revealed that he had left his behind. The inventive use of supermarket bags to protect him from the elements was discounted, and he asked our hosts at Cleo’s whether they had a bin bag he could wear by cutting head and arm holes into it. Very generously, Helen offered to lend him a proper cycling jacket. That’s customer service!
Protected against the elements we set off along the lanes to the west of the Dee for the dash down the A525 to Bangor on Dee. From there we headed towards Cloy and then Duddleston Heath. Hereabouts we phoned the Black Lion to book our lunch places - no reply. One of our members then informed us that The Black Lion was closed, so we decided for a change of hue and made for The Red Lion instead. The leader set off following theintended loop around the south of Ellesmere through Welsh and Lower Frankton. Alas, half of the followers became disconnected and they headed directly for our destination. A phone call revealed that they were not lost, but siting in the pub in the dry, just as it started to rain on the rest of us. Reversing direction, we sped off to join them in the Ellesmere.
Ellesmere! “The Capital of Shropshire’s Lake Country, standing on the biggest of seven delightful meres”, so says my 1946 copy of Arthur Mee’s Shropshire (10s 6d). Our conversation was less poetic, though perhaps more entertaining, as we tucked into good value food and for some of us two-course pensioner lunches.
We left the pub passing beside the ‘delightful’ Ellesmere and then Colemere, and followed Clive’s advice to choose the best approach into Welshampton. The route back northwards passed Tarts Hill, and then several quiet but very rough lanes, at one point losing Steve T and Nick. A call was made and they eventually re-joined us from another direction. We entered Worthenbury and took the usual route into Farndon. Finally crossing the Dee, all except Andy and Nick made our way back to Cleopatra’s, where Dave returned his jacket.
Overall around 40 miles travelled on very quiet lanes under relatively dry skies. Maybe April gave us not such a cruel ending.
A Note on our Ride Protocol. Given we lost part of our group twice on this ride, it’s worth reminding riders that each of us should check that the rider behind them can see the direction we are taking at every junction.
See route map and/or gpx file download