Greetings fellow cyclists and readers. We are a group of recreational cyclists: all members of Cycling UK formerly CTC. We enjoy rides on Tuesdays on routes around Chester.
We meet near The Plough pub, Plough Lane, Christleton on Tuesday mornings and set off at 10.00. All are welcome; we are a friendly group. Please wear a cycling helmet. We will expect you to join Cycling UK after the first couple of rides, that will ensure you are insured.
We typically ride for an hour or so to a cafe for 11’ses and then on for another hour or so to our lunch stop. This is more often than not, a pub. If you want to bring your own grub that’s fine also. By lunch we will have usually covered 20-30 miles. Depending on the route we’ll have a 15-25 mile return leg back to Chester. Some of the group will join us just for the run to coffee, some will carry on later and for a longer ride, especially in the summer for afternoon tea before returning home. We are flexible. You would be right to gauge we like our coffees/teas and lunch.
We cycle to all points around the compass from our starting point including country lanes in Cheshire, The Wirral, North Wales and Shropshire. You’ll enjoy lots of our countryside right through the seasons as well as good company and champion discussions not to mention refreshments.
We take our name Watson’s Wanderers from Harry Watson – Harry the Bike who set up and led this group over the last 26 years. Harry reached 88 years in November ’16 and stood down from running the group at the end of the year. He has cycled >710,000 miles to date and still joins us occasionally! The Wanderers have visited over 630 pubs under Harry’s leadership during the last 26 years.
2018 Rides List
||Farmers Arms, Ravensmoor
||Hosta cafe, Ledsham
||Old Quay, Parkgate
||Shire Horses Cotebrook
||Bluebell cafe, Barrow
||Delamere Stn cafe
||White Lion, Alvanley
||Golden Lion, Rossett
||Station House cafe, Whitegate
||Willington Hall, Kelsall
||The Buck, Bangor on Dee
||Tarporley fire stn
||Red Lion, Winsford
||Red Fox, Thornton Heath
||Gladstone library, Hawarden
||Red Lion, Doddleston
||The Stableyard, Bangor on Dee
||Sun Inn, Welshampton
||Pillory Cafe, Nantwich
||Bhurtapore inn, Wrenbury
||Tarporley fire stn
||The Badger, Church Minshull
We are part of Chester and North Wales CTC, here is the link to their website.
Another group our members ride with from time to time is the Chester Easy Riders, here is a link to their website.
This U-Tube video gives a summary of Harry’s cycling exploits.
We have cancelled tomorrow’s ride on the basis of the forecast of poor weather.
We will resume on Tuesday 13th February with our planned ride to Station House Cafe, Whitegates and Willington Hall, Kelsall.
We will reschedule our ride to Nets and the Red Fox to a later date.
It was a cold, grey Tuesday morning that saw ten of us set off from the Plough. We agreed to keep the ride succinct given the mercury was hovering around 3C. We took a direct route onto the Greenway turning off in Blacon and on to Saughall. We turned off before leaving the village onto Lodge Lane in the direction of the A494 bypass. As we left Saughall we cycled through milky puddles outside Parkgate House. We were intrigued to learn that a few hundred metres south sat the remains of Shotwick Castle, just a few earthworks remaining from its origin in 1093.
We briefly glimpsed the milky sun for a few hundred metres as we crossed the A494 then back to the cold grey: at least the ice had largely retreated to the side puddles. Into Ledsham village and then the warm embrace of Hosta Cafe but to reach it we had to snake our way through the garden centre with our bikes.
At Ledsham eight of us had a straight run on road and track to Willaston, two looped back home. In Willaston we turned right towards Raby but managed to introduce a useful detour bringing us to the east of Neston. We picked up the Wirral way and found ourselves by a graveyard. Lionel directed us to the grave of the former church organist. Apparently he died, struck by lightning, while playing the organ! The engraved stone work offered little sympathy to the poor man.
The Old Quay provided a satisfying buffet lunch. We paused as we were leaving to briefly look at the wall plate on the building opposite: dedicated to Emma, Lady Hamilton, born in Ness and mistress to Lord Nelson, plus much else.
Our rides are full of history.
We made our way onto the cycleway by Burton Marshes then back onto the Greenway and home.
Tuesday 2nd January to Tilly’s in Bunbury and The Farmers Arms, Ravensmoor
The weather forecast 36 hrs before we rode was pretty diabolical but in the eventuality we really only had some early showers.
Eight of us met up at the Plough and after Happy New Years and remembering we didn’t have to wait for Dave we got underway to the accompaniment of said showers.
Tilly’s was packed but she had kindly reserved us a table.
Ravensmoor was not so far and we arrived before one. We were seven for lunch. The pub had only one other customer as we arrived. The food was very good.
Everywhere en route was wet and any opportunity for standing water seemed to have been taken. Great care is needed through puddles as these can hide unforgiving potholes. We survived without a spill.
The route itself was not so adventurous and took us along familiar lanes. It suited our scope during the short winter day.
A good start to our cycling trips in 2018.
Harry organised lunch for us at Nets for the 3rd year running. The weather kept fair which was remarkable considering the previous 10 days and we sat down at 12.30.
We had a full Xmas lunch, starter, main & dessert with mince pies & teas/coffees to follow. Not bad for £15.00. There were 30 of us in total.
Some photos of the day have been posted on the Gallery.
Harry made his traditional speech at the end of the meal but finished by saying it would the last one he would organise as he would be 90 by then. However we will make sure that he gets to next year’s lunch – even if we have to pick him and Celia up by Car.
Next year’s Xmas lunch has already been booked and will again be at Nets on Tuesday 18 December. We will check with you all around October to firm up numbers.
Eight of us set off from the Plough on a wet morning. We took Hare Lane and into the back of Guilden Sutton before picking up the start of the Greenway. We took the bridge over the A494 and turned off into the Deeside Industrial Estate winding our way through; our track took us under Weighbridge Road (A548) and onto the marshes. We found Harry catching up on all the World news courtesy of Net’s copy of the Daily Mail. Lionel joined us shortly after.
Harry and Lionel took a scenic route, three returned home and five continued on another scenic route. The rain returned this time with a vengence.
Us five cycled east intially back along the marshes then at the first opportunity we turned north and climbed up to Ness Gardens. Then followed a mysterious route that took us to Port Sunlight. We cycled through the estate and passed Lady Lever Art Gallery and out onto Boundary Road. We cycled passed the site of a massive gas explosion some months ago. The central area is cleared to the foundations but is surrounded on all sides by damaged and boarded buildings – horrendous.
New Ferry Road took us towards the Mersey and onto the path/promenade by the side of the river and at the bottom of some large houses all one time grand many in need of some serious tlc. The condition of the path was poor but the Refreshment Rooms awaited us. The place had been the first stop for liner passengers in days of yore. The pier stretching out into the Mersey is still operational but I think the liners call in at the north bank of the Mersey. The Refreshment Room was quite splendid and doubtless had been rather more so in former times. We were in the back room, the front had a magnificent chandelier ex a passing liner. Our food was good, very tasty I’d say. My bowl of scouse was complemented by a jammy doger incrusted meringue; seemed fitting for our location.
We’d all been soaked as we arrived and soon enough it was time to put on our wet gear and make tracks. We left Harry hoping to catch the next liner and followed Rock Park Road through what had been an exclusive estate until the A41 bypass carved its way though the gardens of those formerly magnificent homes I mentioned earlier. Lionel was in his element explaining all this and seemed to be rehearsing as a Thomas Cook guide. We continued along the river side through Shorefields Cliffs then along the A41 for a while before turning onto the Wirral Circular Trail. We arrived at the Eastham Dock and called in at The Eastham Country Park Visitors Centre, saw the photos and forge but there was no time to visit the Bear Pit – future trip for the grandchildren.
On to, eventually, the B5132 alongside the M53 and into Rivacre Valley Country Park. The wet and humid conditions seemed positively tropical. The unstoppable Lionel was in full force outlining the history of the Lido which had been close by, long since disappeared from view and much else. Continuing on devious side roads, tracks and lanes we ended up in front of the Whitby Lighthouse near if not in the National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port. We snaked through the place and onto the canal path. The rain gathered strength, we pressed on ducking under the bridges but not falling in! We left the canal at Stoak and took Picton Lane to Mickel Trafford, then Guilden Sutton and home.
I was very surprised just how many green spots we had cycled through along the north Wirral coast.
I am now the proud owner of a new set of pedals for my newish bike: the cleat base dropped out on one side. Now the man who fitted it used to live in Halkyn Mountain whilst working in Chester, so every evening he would cycle back the 17+ miles and up the hill. Respect.
On Tuesday we had a large gathering at the Plough, the eighteen of us set off in two groups and we took two routes to reach the start of the Greenway near Lea Farm Cafe. Nevertheless we reached Yvonne’s portacabin nearly at the same time. The trailing group had found Harry on its approach to Yvonne and we were 19! Tea and coffee in sunshine and much weekly catching up.
There was quite a partition as we progressed to the next leg; twelve took various early returns and seven of us headed onto lunch and into the hills.
We rode through Connah’s Quay and up to Northop, then onto Halkyn, Pentre Halkyn to Babel (couldn’t find any fish) before arriving at Caerwys for lunch. There was quite some climbing with oxygen starvation noted at several points and near Babel the gradient was up to 20%.
The Piccadilly Inn was efficient and friendly. There was a good range of offerings available and we all seemed satisfied.
Our routemaster Dave assured us that the route back would be flat, we were duped or his theodolite is wonky. There was a lot of climbing preamble then it was back over the Halkyn (twice in one day) before a careful helterskelter back to Connah’s Quay. We crossed back on the Hawarden Bridge. The party split at this point with some on the Greenway and others back along the Dee.
Another bright cool spring morning greeted us. Dave guided us on a most unlikely route to Delamere: through Waverton West towards Peckforton Castle before turning off to Clotton, up the hill past Willington Hall and onwards. We turned onto Chapel Lane, a lung buster then followed up to Waste Lane. That took us past a selection of emerging million pound houses at the back of Kelsall and then a shorter lung buster up Yeld Lane. We turned off onto a track that led us through Delamere and onto the Station Cafe for 11ses. There we met up with Lionel, Dave M and a new member, Dave B.
A few left us at coffee but ten pressed on for lunch. We sped off to Norley, through Pytcheleys Bottom and crossed the River Weaver at Winnington up Soot Lane to the Stanley Arms. The sun was shining and the party decided to split with a few staying indoors and a few more outside. But the wait for food was challenging at approximately one hour: we didn’t get our lunch until 2pm with the barests of apologies. This will not encourage an early return.
We headed for home past the Anderton Boat Lift through Acton Bridge and Weaverham where there was an unplanned split: eventually we all reunited at The Oaklands Hotel. On through Sandiway, Cotebrook and back to Waverton on Ryecroft Lane.
We had two punctures en route both repaired professionally in just over a jiffy. We also had a few bad tempered interactions with motorists: the world is always in a rush and manners short supply.
Over the last three weeks we have welcomed two new members Garnet and Dave: we have a winning formula, our group is growing.
Despite a fairly dire weather forecast the day was crystal clear with bright spring sunshine if strongish SW breeze and cool temperature ca 6C. Ten of us set off from the Plough including a new rider Ian S. We took our familiar route to Bangor on Dee: Aldford, Farndon, Holt, over the A534 to Ridley Wood, Bowling Bank, Cross Lanes before entering Bangor on Dee via the A525. We parked up at our favourite Stableyard Cafe only to find Harry already tucking into the biscuits.
Six of us travelled on to Ellesmere, five opted for a shorter ride home. We travelled on some lovely country lanes through Cloy, near Penley and finally reaching Ellesmere after a fairly tough trek into the wind. The Red Lion offers a fairly extensive menu and generous portions. We enjoyed. As we left Ellesmere (14.30) for the home run we fairly quickly ran into a blocked road, gingerly we hauled the bikes onto the verge and round the blocking lorry. The tarmac was still warm on the other side and still effusing that joyous tarmac smell. We spent a moment with the two guys who had just laid it all and marvelled at the thickness of the new surface. 100 metres of this new layer would have covered a mile or two in our home localities. The lanes in North Shropshire are a delight to ride on compared to the worn offerings nearer home.
Thanks to Dave R for planning the route and leading the ride. Welcome to Ian our newest rider.