Potcysyltte Aqueduct - Wednesday 23rd October 2019
It was a rather cold misty start to the day but still 9 riders made it out for possibly the 'last' Last of the Summer Wine Adventure this year – this time a return to the Pontcysyllte aqueduct. The route set off from one of our usual start locations, the Shell garage at Oakmere, and took the main road to Kelsall where we turned off on to less hectic rural roads. Heading from Kelsall through Willington, Duddon, Waverton, Aldford and to the historic river crossing at Farndon. The Grade 1 listed, sandstone arched bridge here dates from the first half of the 14th Century. After a few minutes waiting to be joined by Rob we set off again, skirting Wrexham and on to Overton Bridge, Ruabon and down the A5 to approach the aqueduct, with views from the south. We parked in the Telford Inn car park and strolled alongside the Llangollen canal to the aqueduct. A few brave soles ventured part way across the structure to marvel at this incredible engineering feat. The aqueduct was designed by Thomas Telford. Opened in 1805 it took 10 years to complete. At 126 feet high and and over 1000 feet long it was constructed using the technology of the day and still standing strong after 214 years!
A lunch in the Telford Arms, mainly steak pie, and then setting off for the afternoon route. Alan Crutchley led us along the Panorama Walk road where the views across the valley and along the escarpment were quite spectacular. As we dropped down the hill we picked up the Old Horseshoe Pass road, a much less travelled road that arrives at the rear of the Ponderosa cafe. Here we continued around the familiar roads back to tea and coffee at the Broxton truck stop cafe and then home. Another wonderful day out with a great bunch – who knows, fingers crossed for the chance of another before the year end – its in the hands of the weather gods.
Ponderosa - Wednesday 2nd October 2019
The first mid-weeker for some time. Weather forecast was good so 6 of us set of from the Shell garage at Oakmere as Andy led us to meet up with Rob just south of Chester. From there Rob took the lead and we headed over to Loggerheads Country Park for a coffee (and cake for some!). A short ride from there to the car park at Moel Famau to take in the view and then on to the Ponderosa, by some minor and major roads, for lunch. The journey home was interrupted by Robs bike deciding to pick up a puncture ( only a two hour wait for recovery). Final cup of tea at the Broxton truck stop and then off home. Another brilliant day out with a more relaxed random approach to route planning - we should try more of these.
Oil Can Cafe - Holmfirth - Tuesday 27th 2019
Back by popular demand, Bernie again led us on a very scenic route through the Buxton/Whalley Bridge/Glossop area for lunch at this 'retro' cafe and mini museum. A record 18 riders on a midweek run, this has become a firm favorite and is already scheduled on our calendar for next year
Belle Vue Speedway - Monday 19th August 2019
As a distinct change for the Cheshire Cats we payed a visit to Manchester Belle Vue Speedway on Monday evening. Meeting at the Cock of Budworth we were slightly delayed due to traffic problems on the M56 but eventually set of and managed to arrive just as the first race was about to start, which was slightly better than some of the home team riders were able to achieve!. Belle Vue Aces were up against Wolverhampton Wolves i what was described as a 'needle' match and we were treated to some close races but with the Wolves eventually running out the winners.
A huge thank-you to Malcolm Carnegie for suggesting and organising the trip and and for taxiing us to the stadium
RAF Cosford - Friday 2nd August 2019
14 Cheshire Cats riders met at The Red Fox lay-by this morning for the run down to RAF Cosford Museum led by Bob Moon. An excellent Museum with truly awesome exhibits across the whole history of the RAF. Well worth a visit if you haven't been. .
Due to a poor weather forecast the run to Cosford was postponed from Tuesday until an improvement came, eventually a slot came on Friday and a good dry ride was had. Fourteen riders set off from the Red Fox lay bye and the journey to Cosford was without any stops en route. We arrived in warm but hazy sunshine and set about viewing the many interesting aircraft and missiles at the superb museum, where there is so much to see another visit will have to be made. The journey home although in good weather conditions was not pleasant due to the volume of traffic on the A 41 and A 49, which is the problem with a Friday run. Despite the traffic problems all had another great day out.
Ecclesbourne Valley Railway - Tuesday 23rd July 2019
A healthy turnout met up on the laybay 2 mls East of Holmes Chapel on the A54.
Lead by Phil Green on his BMW 800 twin, it was up into the Peak District with the first stop at a viewpoint overlooking “The Roaches”. Alan supplied complimentary cold drinks, carried on his XT500. It was already warming up to be the hottest day of the year. Then we were off to the Eastbourne Valley station for tea and an early lunch for some. No steam trains running here , and so we shot off up the line to visit another station. We were just in time to see the smoke of a departing steam locomotive. Never mind, it was time for another cold drink, and more food .
Phil then lead the group across the hills to Moneyash for an icecream and a cool off. Then back to Congleton and home.
A fantastic ride in glorious weather, but boy was it hot! Not complaining though, I wish the weather was always this kind to us.
Words by Les Hodgkinson, Photos by various
St Melangells' Shrine Tuesday 16th July 2019
Despite a damp start to the day 9 riders set off from the Red Fox layby and rode into improving weather with plenty of sunshine on a cross country route. Unfortunately the first tea stop at Chirk was a non event, as unfortunately the café has ceased trading; however some good conversation was had with some of the local people, while one of our band sought out a fuel top up.
We received a warm welcome at the New Inn (1751) where we enjoyed a good lunch before ascending the valley to the shrine in almost perfect weather conditions. For the return route we had to go with an alternative route due to the Tanat valley road being closed so afternoon tea was taken at the Fire Station café in Malpas instead of Carrog railway station.
After what had been a damp start all returned home nice and dry, and looking forward to the next adventure.
Bobs Shropshire Saunter 9th July 2019
On Tuesday 9th July 12 plus 1 of the Cheshire Cats departed from the Red Fox Lay by for a saunter into Shropshire. A call was made at Prees Heath to collect a young chap from the North Shropshire section who was welcomed into our party. Without indulging in a huge breakfast at the Midway we took a steady ride down to Sleap where snacks and tea were enjoyed to our delight. From Sleap we were endowed with local knowledge from our guest rider who guided our group to the Whixall marina café where a pleasant lunch was enjoyed. Onwards we went to Ellesmere for a much appreciated ice cream enjoyed by most of the group along the lake side. From Ellesmere we took a route up to Overton, Bangor I C, and Malpas encountering a shower on the way, but having ridden through it most were home before the serious rain arrived.
A very enjoyable saunter through darkest Shropshire and another stop over for refreshment noted for future use.
9 Lakes Run - Tuesday 2nd July 2019
Another fabulous ride out today for the Cheshire Cats if I say so myself. 13 members graced the roads from The Three Greyhounds, Allostock via several lakes and reservoirs in Macclesfield Forest to Pyms Chair, one of the highest points in the county. On to two more reservoirs and then up through Flash, the highest village in England, before lunch at The Ship Inn at Wincle. The homeward journey took us past the last lake, Rudyard, skirted Congleton and to a visit to Alcumlow Farm for a much enjoyed Snugburys ice cream. Suitable rested and refreshed the final leg meandered back to the start with the intention of taking in the ford at Swettenham – some risked it, some didn't.
Thanks to Alan Twibell for initiating our first attempt at the drop off system which after a few glitches soon got us into our stride and proved very effective for the rest of the day.
Thanks to all for turning out and here's looking forward to the next opportunity to explore the Cheshire highways
Real Classic Ride In - Pontblyddyn - Wednesday 26th June 2019
Subscribers of Real Classic Magazine would be aware of a ride in arranged by Rowena Hoeseason at The Old Stores Motorcycle Cafe in Pontblyddyn, near Mold. A group of 9 Cheshire Cats made the journey over to Flintshire to take the opportunity to meet up with other like minded ladies and gentlemen of leisure.
Stephen led the way from Oakmere Service station down the trunk road to Mold. Not the usual terrain for our aging bikes but then he was on his brand new Royal Enfield Intercepter, albeit in 'running in' mode. Arriving just after 11am there was already a good gathering of classic bikes. Cups of coffee/tea and bacon baps consumed we headed of to A&D Motorcycles in Denbigh to peruse the motorcycles on offer and lunch in Sams Cafe. Phil then led us back through Ruthin, up the Nant y Garth Pass and back via Wrexham to our usual pit stop at Broxton.
As ever great riding in great company.
If you have any good ideas for a ride, don't be bashful - lets get out there and do it.
The Carding Shed - Holmfirth - Tuesday 28th May
The weather wasn't promising for the planned run to Holmfirth but on the day we were lucky to have ideal riding conditions. Bernie Horrigan had tempted us out with the promise of a hidden gem in far flung Yorkshire. Assembling at the car park in Holmes Chapel on Tuesday morning, 11 Cheshire Cats set of for a 60 mile route out via Congleton, Buxton, Whalley Bridge, Chapel-on-le-Frith, Glossop, Woodhead Pass, Holme Moss and on to Holmfirth. It started of eventfully when a wagon tied to push Malcolm Ross off the road between Holmes Chapel and Congleton but fortunately no contact was made and Malcolm managed to pass safely.
As we climbed up into the Peak District the roads and the scenery improved, in particular the stretch between Buxton and Whalley Bridge, a mixture of climbs and descents around long sweeping curves and tight hairpins. After negotiating traffic in Chapel-en-le-Frith and Glossop we took the road through the hills to the Woodhead reservoir ( worryingly low for this time of year), up visa the summit of Holme Moss and down into Holmfirth land of the the real last of the Summer Wine. After attempting an alternative route to the cafe, Paul Wolf had the first of several difficulties with his Velocette. A bump start later took us into the centre of Holmfirth where further difficulties were encountered but aided by Les Hodgekinson, Paul was able to get going once again. In the mean time the rest of us had managed to find the Carding Shed – not an easy job – and enjoyed a good lunch, joined slightly later by Paul and Les. The Carding Shed is an automobilia themed cafe that serves good food and has a mini museum/sales room attached alongside a workshop that specialises in restoration work. There was a small collection of classic cars ranging from a Mini to a Mustang.
Lunch over we headed back on a more or less reverse of the route. One more objection from Pauls Velo saw the group split. Most made it to the ice-cream stop at Blaze Farm for too much ice-cream (can there ever be too much?), others not so fortunate headed home and will have to make up for it at a later date.
All in all one of the best days out we have had, although its getting difficult now to make that distinction. A huge thank you to Bernie from all who took part. Hopefully another one will be arranged before too long – any volunteers?
Parkgate Chippy Run - Tuesday 30th April
Stephen will be leading this years run from Oakmere Shell petrol station. Leaving at 10.45am and heading to Ellesmere Port to the BMW garage for a brew and then up the Wirral to Parkgate for fish and chips on the front. Just a social run - come on any bike.
A report may appear here later!
Tuesday 23rd April - Sleap Airfield
Rob Randall sent in this report about our 3rd Mid-week run this year.
We started the day at J & S Motorcycles, a group of 5 gathered for a pre ride cuppa, though have to say the breakfast did look very tempting.
Bernie led the way to Sleap which proved to be a very pleasant ride, Rob thought his Honda CX500 might hold back all the bigger bikes but for his real first trip out on the Honda all went very well.
We enjoyed as usual an excellent lunch at Sleap and enjoyed the sun waiting for the Chinese Flagged Russian small aircraft to take off but despite watching the many visits from the mechanical boys topping up with various different Lubrication bottles take off time was outside our time frame.
Ellesmere was not too busy so parking was easy enough for us all on the main road but disappointment loomed as we discovered the ice cream kiosk was closed so we had to settle for coffee and cake sat over looking the lake.
Rob led the way back home via Bangor on Dee, an excellent day out before the forecast rains of the next few days.
Tuesday 16th April - Visit to the Daniel Adamson
The Cheshire Cats get up close and personal with the Danny.
Theo Alberda reports.
For some time now the Cheshire Cats have been planning a midweek ride out that would take in a visit to the steam tug Daniel Adamson. This old “boat” and its history really intrigued our club members. As luck would have it one of our members has a good friend who was one of the strong contingents of dedicated volunteers keeping the Danny in pristine condition. The friend was approached, and the wheels put in motion for an exclusive visit by the Cheshire Cats Section of the VMCC motorcycle club. The date was set for Tuesday 16 April 2019. A beautiful day dawned and a contingent of sixteen riders gathered at the “Cock of Budworth” pub for the ride out to the “Danny”. So, what’s the attraction?
Let’s start with a brief history;
- The Daniel Adamson affectionally known as the “Danny” was constructed, and named, as the RALPH BROCKLEBANK in 1903. She was intended to tow barges between Ellesmere Port and Liverpool. In addition, she was able to carry some passengers and the then owners provided scheduled river crossings which continued until 1915.
- From 1915 until 1921 she only operated as a tug. At this time, she was sold to the Manchester Ship Canal Company who used her primarily as a tug but also re-introduced a passenger carrying service.
- In 1936 the passenger accommodation was also upgraded, with the interior being furnished in wood laminates and light fittings in the then contemporary art-deco style. Following this refit, the vessel was renamed “DANIEL ADAMSON” in honour of the Manchester Ship Canal Company’s first chairman.
- From 1936 to 1984, DANIEL ADAMSON operated both as a tug and as the company directors’ inspection vessel as well as a venue for corporate hospitality functions.
- In 1986, removed from service, she was berthed at the Ellesmere Port boat museum.
- By early 2004, after years of vandalism, the decision was taken to scrap her. Luckily, Dan Cross a local tug skipper, stepped in and managed to purchase the vessel for a nominal fee. The Daniel Adamson Preservation Society was formed. The vessel was towed from Ellesmere Port to Liverpool, where she was dry docked and the hull surveyed, grit blasted and painted enabling her to gain a 5-year seaworthiness certificate.
- Clearly a lot of money would be needed for the completion of the restoration work and several grants materialised that kept the project afloat. In 2012 the Heritage Lottery Fund approved a first-round pass for a £3m bid, including development funding of £37,300.
- Dec 2017. The Daniel Adamson Steam Ship was presented with the Engineering Heritage Award by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
For historical interest the old tug possesses a Scotch manufactured boiler, similar in design to that which was fitted to the Titanic (although it had some 29 boilers!), a double acting compound two cylinder steam engine (one for each of the two 4.5 ft propellers) as well as several generators, all lovingly restored.
The magnificent lounge and staircase were restored to the original art-deco style of the day. The chairs were exact replicas made from a lone survivor chair located somewhere in the area. The small tables, with the swivel ashtrays, also had to be replicated. These were manufactured by local craftsmen – and who said these skills were lost!
For the tug to get the required certification it had to be fitted with the latest navigation and safety equipment.
Our visit coincided with a maintenance day. Everywhere you looked there were these dedicated volunteers carrying out planned work such as painting, boiler and engine maintenance. Despite their very busy schedule they made time to show us around. Initially the boiler was not available to be viewed as some platework had to be reinstalled. The engineers made every effort to get these plates back in place and by mid-day we were escorted through the boiler and engine rooms in small groups.
Our man Ross, on the bridge, in front of the modern navigation console. Some of the club’s motorcycles can be seen parked in the background.
Bob Cannell, the DAPS Steward Co-Ordinator, is standing on the stairs giving a welcome address and some history.
The upper deck of the lounge was also restored in that magnificent art deco style.
One of the engines. The piston rod can be seen in the foreground. Just look at how beautifully maintained everything is. Mike Griffiths looks on.
And, while we were enjoying the tours of the Danny, unbeknown to us, the volunteers were scrutinising our motorcycles in the parking area. After careful consideration it was a unanimous decision that Bob Moon’s 1937 Gilera was best machine on the day for which he was presented a Danny cap.
Bob Cannell presents Bob Moon with a cap of the Danny for the best machine on the day. It was strongly rumoured that the black 1957 Heinkel scooter came a close second.
The Cheshire Cats lads were most impressed by the dedication of the volunteers without whom the privilege of viewing and sailing on her would be lost forever. For the immediate future the “Danny” will be moored at locations on the river Weaver and open to the public for viewing on selected days. They also offer cruises within the Weaver waterway at a reasonable charge, the proceeds going to the upkeep of the vessel. Our club is now working on arranging a day trip made up of its members.
Mention must be made of the “Danny” volunteers who fitted us in and around their heavy maintenance schedule. The club wish to thank John Huxley for all his efforts in making this memorable day happen. Thanks also to Bob Cannell for accommodating us on the day. Worthy of mention is that John Huxley’s involvement with the Danny goes back many years when, as a young apprentice, as he was involved with a refit in 1953.
Till the Next time – the “Danny” has not seen the last of the Cheshire Cats!
Friday 29th March - Bala/Vrnwy
Lake Vrnwy and Bala.
Friday 29thMarch, a beautiful sunny morning found Alan, Andy, Rob and Stephen at the butty cabin at the Broxton round-a-bout.
Planned ride was to Lake Vrnwy for lunch and then across country to Denbigh via Bala and Cerrigydrudion.
Stephen stayed with the group before heading back home via Bangor on Dee, we got caught up in the Go Slow driving protest for a couple of miles but managed to pick our way through the traffic, lunch outside in the sun at the dam wall on Lake Vrnwy was excellent as was the ride through The Snowdonia National Park to Bala.
Next Stop was A&D motorcycles for a cuppa and a look at the bikes on sale before heading home, a great sunny day out on the bikes with good company.
What more does a man need?