RSF - The Off Road Cycling Club

The Adventure Starts Here

How many ways can the ride leader lose a group of cyclists and how often can he get lost himself?

Answers to these vital questions were provided on Sunday's ride through the Cheshire Lanes from Dunham Massey to Walton Hall and back again on the TPT!

Twice and thrice are the answers.

Walton Hall 1All started reasonably well. Everyone found the rather secluded TPT Car Park near Dunham Massey though John and Irene took a very circuitous route getting there and we set off nearly on time!  A brief ride on the bridleway of Brick Kiln Lane alongside Dunham Massey took us to the picturesque footbridge over the River Bollin at Little Bollington.  Off along the lanes, over the A56 and on to Arley Hall for elevenses - well that was the plan!  One left turn too soon at Booth Bank left John, Grayham and Bryan behind and I found myself happily bowling along a lane I'd cycled before!  Unfortunately it was not on the recce for this ride but on a ride to Tatton Park, involving the infamous and sometimes perilous crossing of the Chester Road by Newhall Farm.  Approaching the very pretty church of Rostherne it eventually dawned on me that we were indeed on the wrong route and that a mid morning brew at Arley Hall was out of the question.  We assumed that in the capable hands of John Kemp our lost sheep would have made their own way to Arley and by now were enjoying a brew.  We cut our losses and headed straight (well straight on the Cheshire Lanes is a debatable point!) for Walton Hall.

Feeling fairly confident that we would meet up with John et al (I didn't think Al was on the ride!) near Appleton Thorne we dawdled at the junction with Arley Road and lo and behold a group of three cyclists could be seen in the distance.  Re-united, albeit briefly, we set off into a stiff wind around the southern fringes of Appleton Thorne only for a traffic light controlled junction to detach even more riders this time!  

Walton Hall 3Fortunately we all managed to get to Walton Hall to meet up with Dug's group who had ridden from Hunts Cross.  Unfortunately the cycle museum was closed though we were allowed the keys for a sneak visit to a couple of the rooms.  Equally unfortunately the cafe proved incapable of coping with the influx of yummy mummies and their little, table manner free, darlings tempted out by the unusually clement weather, let alone a dozen or more hungry cyclists.  Running out of the only hot food available, bacon or sausage sarnies did not improve my, by now, slightly frazzled mind!

Eventually everyone managed something to eat and a look in the museum for those who had not visited before and we set off towards the Ship Canal.  Now what sort of leader could get lost on the well signed TPT out of Warrington.  This one!  Plus I managed to add a little detour around Lower Walton before crossing the canal and setting out on the TPT.  Now on the recce I had found a cunning little detour which I lost completely and ended up taking us back along the canal in the wrong direction!  John to the rescue again who safely navigated us to Latchford Locks where we crossed the canal while marvelling at the nineteenth engineering and gazing at the twentieth century marvel of the Thelwall Viaduct in the distance.

Walton Hall 2Safe at last on the former Altrincham to Warrington railway line which forms the TPT in this part of the world what could possibly go wrong?  This might surprise the reader - nothing and we arrived safely back at the car park after a rather longer and certainly more eventful day than I had bargained for!  

Thanks all for good company and cheer!

Rob Newton

 Roger's Photos can be viewed on Flickr here