I left the house without my rain jacket on, and within 6 feet, put it on as it started to rain.
Well, we were warned, but nevertheless, a baker’s dozen gathered at the swing bridge with the skies delivering the promise of precipitation already.
We thus set off promptly from Sutton Weaver, knowing that we had yet to purchase our passage en route. It kept raining. We headed towards the bridge. It was still raining, We were pretty wet already. Not wet enough it seemed as I led the group towards the bridge on the path. I noted that an articulated truck headed towards us had already hot a lrage puddle in the road, spraying it in a lovely arc wave across the pavement. It passed, followed by a pickup that did the same, but to a less impressive wave. ‘Ah that’s alright, at least we missed that’ I thought. That thought, fleeting though it was, had barely exited my tiny brain before a fresh articulated truck headed the same way. I was next to the flood, the artic drove through said flood and released what I’m sure was just a splash, but felt like a tsunami. Now I was wet. Jim was amused.
Not long after the bridge we dropped down and passed through a tunnel to head towards Pickering Pasture when a shout of a puncture went up. All huddled in the sanctuary of the dry tunnel, whilst offending puncture was remedied with a tube change. I didn’t bother.
Soon on our way, we sploshed along the path of mixed surfaces to the steps and down to the small bridge across one of the inlets.
Along the path and then up to Hale we soldiered on. Grim faced and determined in a very British style to have a good time.
Then we stopped in Garston, with the very simple idea of purchasing our ‘saver’ ticket.
Warning, rant coming up. Please skip past it:
Now, in our increasingly digital world, we are presented with many tools to make our life easier. This is not the case when you want to book a ferry across the Mersey (whether you love the place or not), but Mersey Travel have a great idea to integrate train, bus and ferry travel, and save the passenger a few pence, but creating the most convoluted way of doing so. If I want to book a ticket to the cinema, and get a discount too, I have an app on my phone, I book a ticket on it, or several tickets, get my discount, pay, and have the ticket stored on my phone, or available to print if I wish, on the day, or days before. Easy. If I want a ferry ride, at a discount price, I have to go to a specified Pay Point, queue if it’s busy, get a Walrus card, get my discount, then travel to the ferry port, queue up again, redeem my paid for ‘credit’, in exchange for the ticket, board the ferry. Is it just me, or have we got it a bit wrong?
Anyhow, we got our Walruses (which is the correct plural), and exited the shop. At this point my Garmin also decided that it had had quite enough of the wet and dropped into factory diagnostics mode. I thus lost some of the track of my journey until the ferry, and the unit repeated that my USB device was unsupported for the rest of the day. If I didn’t know better, I’d suggest it was sulking.
We were on our way with a tailwind, which was a good job, as we got to the ferry terminal to queue for said tickets, for said ferry, across said Mersey at 10:53!!
Onto the ferry, we dived for hot chocolates, coffee and tea to warm us up. If nowt else, the ferry was warm.
It should be noted that we didn’t bother taking in the view. There was none. In fact, it was raining so persistently, that birds had even refused to fly from Liverpool to Birkenhead, and had opted for the warmer dryer method of ferry travel.
After the rain-caped photo above, we took off along the coast, with wind and rain, and grimaced, chatted and laughed (for some reason).
The off the path (without sand incidents), and onto the road broefly, before hitting the Wirral Way proper. Lots of mud, puddles, overgrown plants and a few navigation errors kept us all on our toes, and we eventually got back onto tarmac and dropped into Parkgate, before proceeding on a couple more tracks/trails/paths towards Burton Marshes.
As the rain had stopped somewhere along the way, we decided to stop and de-cape. It was then that we were presented with the horror of Steve.
I’ve honestly seen less mud spattered finishers of our October cyclo-cross…
Net’s cafe was a most welcome sight, and the almost empty and warm comfortable confines of the cafe had us all grinning inanely, ready for food (it was getting on a bit and much later than we might usually stop at a cafe on a normal run).
We chatted away as we do, Derek already planning his nap for later that day, Emily discussing the fine points of European languages, and all admiring Matthew’s ingenious use of a Kenco coffee bag as a drybag.
Soon, we were out, and ready for the off, we dropped down to the road and headed out. Only a few speed humps to negotiate etc. No problem. There was something missing though. I had wanted to play in the sand earlier, but didn’t get the opportunity, so, as I skirted round a speed hump, closely following Matt, my wheels took to the edge of the road, where it was ‘puddled’ only to find that this was where there was no ‘road’. My wheels tramlined into the dropped groove, and I elegantly rolled, gently, from my bicycle onto the floor. With no damage to man or machine, I got up, satisfied that I had at least made an effort. Jim was amused, He insisted on a photograph.
From here, it was all plain sailing though. Across the boardwalk at Burton Marshes, then through the estate and onto the Greenway, we headed in the general direction of home. The sun even peeked out on a couple of occasions.
I peeled off at Manley, and left the group to speed home.
A wet day on the bike, but better than a day in work I say. Or a day off retirement as Derek and Jim might repeatedly say (ad nauseum).