Larkling: Norley


A mere three out today for a wet & windy trip to Norley.

Riders out today were: Richard, Simon, Jim (briefly), and myself (Ian).

This week it was business as normal, with the Larklings doing roughly the same ride as the Larks. We all knew rain would be coming at some point, but how far would we get before a soaking?

The cafe at Norley is a stickler for booking big groups ahead, 10 is the proprietor’s magic number, and we were currently at 11!

We headed out down Pexhill, Siddington, Over Peover, Lower Peover and onto nice quiet lanes around Plumley. I think Jim left us somewhere around here, as he was doing the Manchester 100 tomorrow. Around the outskirts of Northwich and it was onto the first of the off road sectors: The Flashes. This section skirts through the park, around rivers and ponds and of course Anderton Boat Lift. It was then back over the river and into Winnington and Cuddington. By this time it was getting very dark and a royal soaking was imminent. We were 30 miles in when we got to the cafe, still dry and the Larks were all sat outside. Pretty much as soon as we had put our order in the heavens opened and everyone rushed inside.

Service was slow as usual. I really should have just ordered a cake but I was starving. As it was raining so hard I think most of us were happy to take our time in the cafe. The question was, would the rain pass by the time we were done? The answer was yes!

The Larks had left well before us. We headed back to Cuddington, Sandiway, Whitegate and onto the second off road sector: Church Wood / Vale Royal Gold Club. Not as muddy as I was expecting it to be. Normally at this point one would exit Vale Royal Wood onto the main Chester Road into Davenham. But this time the route had us taking a right over a footbridge and then a series of locks over the Weaver. Briefly onto the towpath we were supposed to exit to the left to go into Davenham the back way, but Simon couldn’t see a feasible way to get his bike through the stile. So we decided to carry on along the towpath and go the long way around. The path was very pleasant but it was interrupted by many stiles. Not ideal if you have a 60lb e-bike! Simon got a full body workout. We turned off the towpath at Vale Royal River Park and then made our way back to Davenham - where my Wahoo re acquired the route. I’m guessing the Larks didn’t come this way. This “long cut” added considerably to the day’s mileage.

Richard (left) & Simon. Final breather before the inevitability that is Pexhill.

From here it was nice quiet lanes through Lach Dennis, Swan Green and Goostrey. It felt like the wind was behind us and the sun even made its return. At Siddington Junction we had a final rest before the push up Pexhill and back up to Broken X.

Todays route. Click to enlarge.

What my Wahoo said:
60 miles, 3,020 ft elevation, 13.4mph average.

A very pleasant ride, but we were super lucky to miss that torrential downpour in the cafe! I don’t know about the other two but I felt that one. Not done a 60 miler for some time.

Right, looks like I’m going to have to get the jet wash out :(


Ride ReportIan Radcliffe