Reading the detail of this part two visit to Dovedale, it occurs to me that their complaints about the steepness of the hills, for instance, was perhaps because they tried to achieve too much in the course of one day. It was all ups and downs, and they were steep, and they had lingered too long over the lunch table, so it cannot have been much of a surprise when they started flagging for the umpteenth time that day. Oh, and going miles out of their way didn’t help either, did it? I think we will pass on that bit, shall we?And I never knew that Isaac Walton came from this neck of the woods. Honest !
This run took place in a real heatwave, which gave cause for real route planning, maximising the need to avoid very steep hills, and taking as much advantage as possible of the wind. A very early start to the day enabled them to accomplish what a lot of us would regard as a good day out before they (Charlie and Joe) met up with another friend, Tom Idle, on the bridge over the Derwent at Rowsley. Skirting Chatsworth House they drink and wash in a horse trough before visiting the plague village of Eyam. Thence to Winnat’s Pass, where the wind can blow so strongly it has been known to cause suffocation !
A different pal today for Charlie, Joe from the Bolton Wheelers. Together they had a good potter in the blooming Cheshire countryside.
The rhyming signpost referred to, put up by the local squire runs like this:
“This road is closed to all,
Unless they wend their way to call,
At Mill or Green, or Arley Hall”
Awakening in Meriden, the self styled Heart of England, Charlie and Tom meet up with their CTC clubmates from Bolton, who had ridden down overnight, and so wet were they that they had to use a ‘mangle’ to dry out their clothing somewhat.
After the memorial service all pretence of chivalry disappears as they ‘blind’ along to get to the lunchplace first. And seemingly they ‘blinded’ all the way home to Bolton, arriving home at 8.30pm. Press reports later stated that 10,000 or so cyclists had attended Meriden that day.
Where have all the calories gone? Does eating early silent breakfasts take the strength from your legs? It certainly did today. Arising at 4.30 in the morning is not the best start to a day, unless you are a time trialer. Charlie certainly wasn’t a racing man. So his legs paid the price, the hills today were all twice as steep as normal, and seemingly much longer as well. But it didn’t stifle his enjoyment. But he did pay the price in monetary terms, the two lunches they bought came almost to the price of a mortgage, or so Charlie thought. Their spendthrift ways led them into paying one pence each to enter the Reynard caves, and that was just the start.
RECOMMENCE NARRATIVE AT: After the inevitable walk to Bedd Gelert (Gelert’s Grave)……..
: We read about the delights of Aber Glaslyn and the railway vandals who desecrated this beautiful gorge (this narrow gauge railway from Portmadoc to Caernarvon has been revived and is open to the public since 2012 and is well worth a trip). The Victoria Hall Cycling Club anyone ? From Bolton ? No, Charlie had never heard of them before, either. He did later come across a Boltonian who he did know – Mr Broadbent of Pennington Road, on a motorbike no less.
Today our chums will reach Llanberis and traverse the famous Pass of Llanberis. The weather remaining kind they get the best of views. Charlie nearly gets wiped out by an ignorant motorist, but at least he gets to have his say over the matter ! And how Llewellyn the Great kept his brother prisoner for 20 years in Dolbardarn Castle at Llanberis. Finally, the many attractions of Beddgelert whether eating or sleeping.
It was intended to ride to Chester today, three of them, but Tom Idle, who lived in Manchester, rather than the rest in Bolton, never arrived at the meeting place in Warrington. The weather was poor today, a very strong gale, then a twisted crank which had to be fixed, and it must have been particularly cold because Charlie and his companion lingered in a cosy fireside café for two and a half hours at lunch time, before getting out into the lovely Cheshire lanes. After following a very circuitous route all afternoon – Charlie describes the route in detail but summarises it as zigzag – they made for Ringway and another cosy café which required more intensive lingering in view of the plummeting outside temperature. And yes, Ringway then was a quiet rural area, now the centre of a very busy Manchester International Airport.
Is Dick Turpin, the legendary highwayman really connected with Turpin Green ? Maybe we shall never know. One fact which we can confirm to our readers, is that Hoghton Towers does have a very definite connection with one William Shakespeare. Shakespeare apparently, after finishing at University – either Oxford or Cambridge I forget which – became a Tutor to the ‘de Hoghton’s family’ children at Hoghton Towers and worked in that capacity for a couple of years or so. His duties could not have been very time consuming however, because he found time to keep travelling over to see the Hesketh family at Rufford Old Hall, who in Shakespeare’s later life put up some of the money to build the Globe Theatre in London. (I don’t think Charlie knew about that connection because he has never mentioned it, and he was very strong on local history).
Now we hear about the financial implications of visiting Gawsworth Church and what Charlie feels about the rector, who does not put in an appearance – thank goodness. Is this how we all feel about admission fees or is it just cyclist’s ? Other than this discordant note, the long day was an outstanding success. Now Charlie is in love with tandems.
Suggested break point to continue with Part Two: ‘After a while we crossed the Macclesfield-Leek road and hummed along level lanes to Gawsworth…..