Saturday, 13 September 2014

Swans and Sheep across the Marshes

September is a time of new starts - new terms, new places to live for students, new lives in some cases (can you tell I am taking my eldest to Uni in a few weeks?!)  It heralds the turning point away from summer and towards chillier autumn days.

In 2013, The Burton Marsh cycle route to Nets Cafe at Denhall fisheries was newly open, offering the ladies yet another new cafe to add to our growing list.  It was also an opportunity to encourage people out who may not have ridden before, as it is flat and mostly off road.  It felt like an appropriate ride to repeat in 2014.

20 of us met at Kingsway Cafe; another nice thing (for me) is that we do not need as many leaders, and in theory everyone can ride at their own pace.

Or so I thought.

Climbing up onto railway embankment
at the start of the Marsh route
I set off at the front at a fairly fast 14-15 mph (I did say it was flat!), expecting people to just relax and follow on in their own time.  However, the outcome seemed to be that everyone pushed themselves (OK, maybe not everyone) to 'keep up'.  I realised that it can actually take a bit of confidence to ride at a pace that is comfortable for you, and not feel concerned or harassed as other rides seem to disappear into the distance (all the more noticeable on a straight railway line - you can see people for ages, getting smaller as the gap widens!)  Maybe we still need to split into smaller pace-matched groups after all?

Passing sandstone bluff (Burton Point)
Out past Saughall we were caught up and passed by another group - they came up behind a little quietly and surprised some of the ladies at the back - but we all passed single file and safely - turned out to be a few from the Bike Factory including Dave Quinn (the owner). I have known Dave for more years than either of us care to remember (29 years) so we chatted for a little while (as his group became distant spots)before he left us.

Crossing the Boardwalk
After about 8 miles we branch off to the right and into Deeside Industrial Park, and the new solar panels at the Toyota factory.  I had not seen them before, but was assured by my cycling companion at the time that they had been there 'ages'.  It was not until we reached the MOD firing range that I recalled the last time I had been out this way - in January this year four of us met up (through the power of Facebook!) and had an extra pedal out in lovely sunshine if not a bit windy; until the weather turned black and nasty and we were pelted with hailstones and gale force winds on our way back!

We watched a flock of swans take off and fly over the marshes, and a huge flock of 
penned in sheep.

Nets cafe were ready as ever and served us well with tea cakes, scones and bacon butties; as we sat outside in the gradually improving weather.  People drifted off home as suited them, until the final band of us headed back to Chester.

Heading back

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