Gladstones Library, in Hawarden, is part of the Hawarden Castle estate, and is home to his vast library " to bring together readers who had no books and books who had no readers". Gladstone was four times Prime Minister and four times Chancellor of the Exchequer, but before my time.
It also has a very nice tea room/ restaurant.
We had a good turn out of 26 riders, and three groups - enough leaders that I could take a back seat (not literally) - but I had been out the night before and felt a little delicate, which a bacon buttie and black coffee soon fixed.
Linda led us in the moderate/ slower group around the river and Handbridge College, out to Kinnerton and up the hill from the Royal Oak. We continued to climb up to the Warren and then dropped down to Tinkersdale, before heading up the final incline to Hawarden.
We were allocated Gladstones Room, which wasn't actually big enough, but was book lined and consisted of saggy comfy leather sofa's; coffees on our knee but a very relaxed affair.
After coffee, Rick offered to let me have a go on his tandem, with Clare still attached to the back seat. Clare has been coming out with us since I recognised her at the Spring 50 in 2014, and Rick is her 'pilot', as she has vision problems and needs someone to help her in the pointing-the-bike-in-the-right-direction kind of way. More volunteers are needed, and as I had at least ridden tandem before with my daughter I said I would have a go.
Hence we could be seen riding back and forth in front of the library as we were assembling to leave and return home!
Of course, after all the climbing into Hawarden, we now had lovely descents to get back to Chester, which we did along the river and canal. We lost a rider (who had gone ahead) near Telfords, so the main group went one way and I headed up the steps at the Canal Basin and through town (although I did not catch our wayward cyclist, I did see an array of rubber ducks); We managed to re-group back at Kingsway - where we also found the lost cyclist!
|Ducks - of course!
|Is this my boat?!