Cheshire 2013

What did we do

Eeny, meany, miney mo, I thought as I selected Frotham Hill as the first ride, Cheshire can’t be that hilly can it. The reward was a morning of good views and several families querying gear ratios as we climbed and descended the Cheshire countryside, ending with lunch at Castle Park. The afternoon was a bit flatter

8 years and counting, but for James the wait was over as we headed towards Manchester for a date with the velodrome and even the M6 and a flooded Mancunian way weren’t going to stop us. Fitted with bikes with no brakes and lined up along the perimeter fence we looked the part as we warmed up on the Olympic training woodwork. Alan and Isobel had done this before as they careered around the circuit with Geoff in hot pursuit. ‘Keep pedalling’ was the cry of our coach as 5 of us chain ganged around the corners until my legs gave out and I faked severe dehydration. We finished with a flying lap. 250 metres and as the first time of 26 seconds was posted (Chris Hoy does it in 12) the adrenaline stared pumping, especially when James posted 23.15seconds. Round I went, legs pumping, head down, trying to recall all those tips Chris Boardman stated on the Tour de France programs. Over the line and I was going so fast I couldn’t hear the time, but it was 0,25 seconds slowly than my 15 year old and I’ll have to live with that won’t I !!

North from the site, passing Delamere Forest, we headed for an ice cream farm and after yesterdays warm up we were flying as we arrived 30 minutes too early. This gave time to organise the orders for the curry take away in the evening before mountains of sugar cones and ice cream were consumed. The Anderson Boat lift was a miracle of the late 19th century. Linking the River Weaver to the canal, a caisson lock lifted canal boats between the two and we watched from the convenient cafe. Of to Northwich by a series of tracks and a cyclepath by the river after which we followed another cyclepath and the river out of town, very pleasant. Over the busy road and a dead end road into a golf course, can anyone name a family tour where bikes over gates isn’t required?

Drizzle getting worse, warned the BBC weather website. So as this is supposed to be a holiday, nearly all of us drove to Chester for a mixture of swimmimg, sightseeing and cinema.

After the rain on Wednesday the sun had started to shine as we headed south towards Nantwich. The hills of day one were a distant memory as we passed zillions of dairy farms spread across the Cheshire Plain. The other thing spread across the Plains were the canals and an impromptu café stop and swan feeding ensued before lunching at Nantwich where the Town Square benches were packed with OAP’s enjoying the sun and even the town crier couldn’t shift them. Westwards and under the canal to Bunbury where Tilly’s teashop kept the children topped up with ice cream. ‘It’s a living museum’ Geoff remarked as we watched the canal boats at Bunbury lock before returning to bask in 24 degree sunshine at the campsite and James was soaked by all the others in a water fight. We finished the evening cremating food on the BBQ

Sunny again and up and over the hill to Walk Mill. Recently rebuilt, the mill grinds corn and serves tea and cake within and outside. Off again to an ice cream farm that is slowly evolving to a theme park. Seemingly thousands of children and ice cream flavours in a quiet corner of Cheshire. The final visit of the holiday was to Beeston Castle. Built on top of a cliff it looks pretty impregnable as we cycled around it. A few families entered and were rewarded with grand views and one of the deepest wells in England. So the tenth family camping week came to an end. New families joined this year and Nicola, Matthew and Christopher have been to every one, so thanks to all.

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