Only 3 Moulton owners turned up in Marbury Country Parks’ car park, with ominous clouds hovering above us. As a county, Cheshire is legendarily flat but we seemed to ridden all of the steepest roads in the county during the course of the day, Terry on his newly re-built ’64 F frame experienced some difficulties during the day with the up-hill sections.
We pedalled through the country park to see the Anderton boat lift – a massive structure built in 1875 to transport canal barges up & down the 50 feet between the river Weaver and the Trent & Mersey canal. Originally used for transporting barges of salt, nowadays it’s mainly used by pleasure craft.
After a few moments looking at this engineering masterpiece the rain started..... thankfully it was the lightest of showers and finished within minutes. We rode off into Northwich town centre, stopping briefly at Sainsbury’s cash machine so we could purchase lunch later in the day. Heading south we picked up the Weaver Navigation, passing the rock salt mine and enjoying the well maintained riverside path.
We then left the river climbing up a gravel pathway we reached the quaint little village of Moulton – both pubs were shut; however I couldn’t resist photographing our bikes whilst there.
We rode around but no one stopped us to as about the bikes; are they that used to Moulton bikes in their village? Plan “A” was to lunch in Moulton but as we had arrived sooner than expected (pubs not open) we elected to lunch further on along our route.
Leaving the village, along the gravel pathway down to the Weaver Navigation then crossing over it on the top of the lock gates. After a while on minor roads we picked up the Whitegate Way at the eastern end, a former rail line running through some interesting countryside.
Most of the line is on an embankment so the views were expansive, the trees lining the route were now providing shade from the blazing sun. We left the Whitegate Way at the western end and headed up a road, a steep and long climb, no one spoke.
We re-grouped at the top, Delamere Park, where Terry said good-bye and departed to visit his sister “just around the corner”. David & I pedalled on to the Hare & Hounds at Crowton for a bite to eat and some re-hydration. After lunch we carried on north, picking up the River Weaver and then followed it along the riverbank until we reached Acton Bridge.
Back on the roads we climbed up to Little Leigh, over to Comberbach and then back to Marbury Country Park.
29 miles, a light shower, slight wind, lots of sun, quite a few inclines, a friendly lunch stop, tools stayed in their bags, an enjoyable time was had by all (well maybe not during the climbs!) and as ever good company.