Sunday, March 25 – Beeston Castle

What a day it has been!  Starting at 9am I reached High Street where I had to meet a clubmate, and soon we were pushing to Four Lane Ends together.  The weather has been wonderful lately and today was no exception though the wind was against us.  Just beyond Culcheth I picked a thorn up which flattened my front tyre, but we were soon on the road again.  Beyond Warrington the breeze swept us back and we made poor headway.  Such was our speed that it was 1pm when the lunch place was reached at Mickle Trafford, some six miles from Chester.

Through indisposition we lingered here until 2.30, chatting with four others bound for Chester, and when we took the road again the wind had calmed to a steady breeze.  The six of us made excellent progress, and when we left them on Northgate Street it was ten to three.  Now we took the Whitchurch Road, pottering along amid pretty, rural scenery, passing through Rowton (where Cromwell defeated the Royalist Army) and coming to Handley where we stopped to visit the old Church.  The beams are dated 1645 but on the list of parish benefactors is one dated 1618.  The inside of the Church is rather modern other than the tower and the doorway.  A little further and we joined a byway for Tattenhall and then Tarporley.  Winding in and out we came in view of Beeston Castle.  At last we stood at the foot of the hill.

Words are inadequate to describe that wonderful mass of woods and rock.  For 150 feet the hills slope gently upwards, densely wooded, then a sheer cliff and again sharp jutting coloured rocks with the ivy clad walls of the ruined fortress perched precariously on the top, and deer feeding in the woods below.  It was a masterpiece of nature and a wonderful emblem of bygone days.  What a picture for an artist!  On the right, nestling in the hills, stood the residential Peckforton Castle, yet another inspiring scene, and to complete the picture we saw the Denbighshire hills in the west.  Everything was complete from a pondful of ducks before us and flocks of birds in the inaccessible rocks to the deer feeding peacefully, everything in perfect peaceful harmony with the surroundings.

Round the foot of the hill we pedalled coming to the station, and by various bylanes came to Little Budworth.  Then we took a shortcut through some ploughed fields to Over, Winsford and Middlewich, reaching Holmes Chapel in the gathering twilight at seven o clock.  Here we stopped for tea, and wash and brush up etc.  With lighted lamps we started back via Knutsford, Altrincham and Stretford.  At Barton we were delayed by a ship in the canal.  I missed him afterwards [his companion], and had to return home alone, completing a century at 10.30pm.  (Charlie has left an earlier description of Beeston Castle when he first visited – twice – in 1922 see relevant diary entry).                                                      Time 13.5 hours      Distance 103 miles

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