I was to meet my Manchester friend, Tom Idle, again this morning, so off I went in drizzling rain at 8am. I did the 7.5 miles to the meeting place at Barton Bridge inside half an hour, arriving just in time at 8.30. We were for an early start, as we wanted to get to Beeston for lunch. It had been raining all night, and the roads were in a fine puddle. On my way to Barton, the rain had ceased, and now little patches of blue appeared in the sky. Splashing our way to Flixton, we took the same way as last week. Here we got a sample of rain, the rain that ‘hammers down’, and for an hour we sat fretting beneath a station roof. “There goes lunch at Beeston” remarked Tom as the rain stopped and we restarted. Climbing to Broomedge we crossed the Lymm road for High Legh, where we inspected a pair of stocks dated 1843, then off again towards Arley we pedalled. The sun came out, and soon the road was steaming and we were drying.
Reaching Great Budworth we decided to stay here for lunch although it was only 11.30. Before lunch we had a walk into the old church and then returned to lunch which was waiting. As we got inside it started to rain again, and it kept up till 1.30pm, when, as we started it stopped, but before we passed the ‘Running Pump’ it was off again. Capes. A few minutes later, capes off! We got a fine view of Budworth Mere on the road to Comberbach. Beyond here we got mixed up and took a road to Runcorn by mistake. The sky effect was grand in the extreme, black towards Liverpool and sunshine Beeston way. Then we caught it, at Little Leigh, a terrific downpour swamped us.
Two dripping but cheerful youths emerged on the main road at Weaverham. This kept up right along the main road through Cuddington to Cotebrooke and Eaton, where, in the bylanes we had to follow, a herd of cows meant walking speed. It cleared up at Beeston, and never troubled us again. After a good look at the Castle, we explored the caves, then took the Nantwich road through Highwayside. Branching off we traversed Wettenhall and emerged from a long muddy thoroughfare to Church Minshull, where we found a good tea place. The road after tea to Middlewich was excellent and, from there to Knutsford via Lower Peover was soon covered. A glorious sunset reddened the countryside as we rounded Tatton Park and took the road to Ashley. Soon Hale and Altrincham were reached, then Sale and Stretford, where we parted.
112 miles, 14.5 hours
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