Sunday, 9 March 1924 – Willington and the Cheshire Lanes, a CTC Clubrun

What a glorious morning!, and today I lead the club to Willington.  There was quite a crowd at Four Lane Ends when I arrived just after 9am, and when we started at 9.20, there were 19 of us.  We took the main road to Atherton, where one of us punctured, but we were soon riding again.  From Leigh we faced a steady breeze through Glazebury and Culcheth to Padgate and Warrington.  In the centre of the town my rear tyre expired, and on investigation I discovered a steel sprig embedded in it.  The club went on, leaving four of us to repair it.  In ten minutes we were off, joining Chester road, and making a good pace, we arrived at Frodsham bridge for lunch just after the others.  Lunch was soon ready – and disposed of – and afterwards, whilst I had a harassing time gathering in the shekels, the club disported themselves about.  One party was playing football on the main road, another examining the various mounts lying about, and quaint noises from the house suggested that someone was having a sing-song.  Then Tom Idle came along from Acton Bridge, and so, at 1.30 we took to the road again, reduced in number to fourteen.

Just beyond Frodsham, at the signpost ‘to Delamere’, we turned left.  After running level for about a mile, the road climbs steeply, bringing us out of the saddle.  We were nothing loth to walk, however, for the scenery hereabouts is lovely in the extreme.  On each side are the slopes of Frodsham and Helsby hills, richly wooded, especially on the Frodsham side, where the deeper green of evergreens, the golden and brown of others, and the leafless barrenness of the rest, combine to make a pleasing picture, whilst, as if to give a medieval touch, the turreted angle of a square tower, brown with age, peeps forth from the evergreens.  Higher up, the land assumes an aspect of rich, golden, rolling moorlands, and with the ground in the valley and on the lower slopes being tilled, presents a fine pattern in brown shades.  The road itself is lined with trees on the Helsby side, and gives some fine views of the nearer Welsh mountains, and the Mersey and Wirral, but today, owing to the bright sun, no doubt, our view was somewhat retarded.

We discovered traces of snow on the top, and some of the party had a snow fight.  Now we stood above the beautiful Vale of Delamere Forest, looking down at the tree-tops, which were gently waving in the summer-like breeze.  Continuing, we rushed downhill to Mouldsworth on the outer edge of the forest.  Keeping straight on, we skirted the garden-like Ashton Hayes estate, at length reaching Kelsall, and turning towards Northwich for a hundred yards or so, we joined the Tarporley road, immediately reaching Willington, where we stopped for a few minutes for an impromptu lunch.  Again we were on the road, and presently Beeston Castle hove in view.  That glorious old ruin, perched on its precarious rocky hill, always sets me thrilling, I hardly know why.  So grand, so awe inspiring does it look, and at whatever angle it is seen from, it always looks different – the same, but different.  Beyond it were the bold Peckforton hills, trailing away into the summery haze towards Shropshire.  Now we reached Quarrybank, and a sharp uphill brought us out of the saddle.  On the summit of the ridge, a spring of cool water was discovered, and a glass was borrowed, all of us spending some time here.  Then, the site of Kelsborough Castle passed, we crossed the ridge to where another glorious view met our gaze.  Down below us stretched the rich, rural plains of Cheshire.  The darker blotches of woodlands, the open fields, a shimmering river, and the nearer grey line of the Tarporley –Warrington road.  The deep blue of a mere near Little Budworth, the low ridges that bounded the north, even – to give a reminder of the more sordid commercial life – the tall chimneys of Northwich in the centre of the plain, did not tend to taint this scene of real unspoiled England.

We carried on along the summit of the ridge, the road, third class in every way – except in the matter of scenery, wandered about aimlessly.  Then it ducked straight down, crossed at right angles the main Chester road, and climbed again on the other side.  Again we stood above Delamere Forest, dropping straight down and taking a treacly path which led us through the forest glade, bringing us to Delamere Station.  Here we lost two members, but we did not miss them until teatime.  The downhill road rushed us through Norley and Crowton to Acton Bridge, and very soon we were stopping at the tea place, Bartington, at 5.10.  I myself did ample justice to the tea, and some of the others did better than I.  About 6.30 we started back in several parties for the run is officially over after tea.  Six of us, including the only lady of the party, started together at a high pace, two of us becoming engrossed in a chat about touring.  The eight miles through Whitley to Stretton and Warrington, were covered in half an hour, and at Padgate, Tom departed for Manchester.  The road is good from here, and we kept up a fine speed through Culcheth to Leigh, where we eased up over the setts.  Now there were only three of us.  The lady, a girl of but 14 years rode like a brick, setting the pace, and climbing so strongly that we had to call a halt on Squires Brow.  We reached home at 9.30.  Near the end my companion said:  “Well, I have had a fine run, simply glorious, but I did not know that there were so many hills in Cheshire”.  And I believe everyone enjoyed my run.  I booked 23 riders.

82 miles