After spending 16 nights in Holyport and having our lovely cute cows traded in for some rather large bullocks we have moved on and are winding our way Northwards.
Our first stop was just outside Burton upon Trent (Cross Farm CL, Rolleston-onDove, Burton upon Trent – £12 per night) to meet Kevin, Petra and Molly (the dog) for a couple of nights and a catch up. To celebrate the event I even made the ‘posh’ brownies for the first time with the whole Valrhona suite ….Valrhona Chocolate, Valrhona Cocao powder and Valrhona choc chips….. which helped bring out the memories of this time last year when we were in Tain D’hermitage eating lots of Valrhona chocolate whilst fruit picking!!
On Friday morning after a nice run and a cuppa with Kevin and Petra, we finally set off for Chester just before mid-day. Although we have had Mika out of storage for over three weeks this was my first time back in the saddle as Keith had done all the driving until now. He gave me a nice easy run though … 100 miles on dual carriageway with only a few trees to weave in between to park up on our new field – or perhaps better described as an apple orchard – for the next four nights (Heathfield CL, Guilden Sutton, £6 per night). Oddly, despite it being a bank holiday weekend we were the only ones at the farm …. unless you count the rabbits as they were plentiful.
The farm was roughly 3 miles outside Chester close to a Greenway cycle path, so we ventured in for a wander on Saturday, walking the city wall which is roughly 2 miles in circumference, admiring the beautiful Tudor buildings and double layered shops and generally taking in the atmosphere – a pleasant market town.
After a pretty breezy night as the winds had started to get up, we walked back in to Chester on Sunday and took the train over to Liverpool.
I had been really looking forward to Liverpool but was a little disappointed as although they have done a lot with the docks and shopping area and they are pretty impressive, it didn’t really promote ‘culture’ to me and was a little lacking in Architecture and historical buildings…..I am just getting picky in my old age, it’s all a personal preference though and I would have no hesitation about recommending it for shopping or a night out on the town as I am sure it would hit the mark! We headed back to Chester early in the afternoon as we didn’t fancy doing any shopping and snuck into a local pub to sit quietly whilst watching Everton play Chelsea….. I did have to tell Keith to punch the air more quietly when the goals were scored!
Not wanting to get caught up in the Bank holiday traffic, after American pancakes for breakfast, we decided to jump on the bikes and go visit a farm shop that Keith had found not too far off the greenway. So, 12 miles, a sore bum, a bit of rain and a couple of hills later we arrived, locked up the bikes and found the coffee shop. Salivating at the full welsh breakfast – yes, we had crossed the border – that was being served up around us, we decided to drink up and get a move on round the farm shop before we started to trade in our lovely home made sandwiches!!
Rather cunningly they had cooked up sausages by the butchers counter to tempt us, so having tried all four of them at least twice we settled on buying some for a bar b q, (well, the weather forecast looks hopeful, despite us heading for Scotland) as well as some other bits and bobs for dinner later this week. Finally, forty five minutes later and with heavy ruck sacks, we made it back out into the garden where the sun was shining to eat our sandwiches along with a lovely black pudding scotch egg which we found looking a bit lonely on the deli counter.
We said goodbye to the farmer and his bunnies and ventured further North today, crossing over the border into Scotland to find a CL with a dairy which makes ice-cream (Cathrine House, Maucheline, West Templeton £11). The sun shone all the way for us but the cafe was just closing up when we got here and oddly neither of us were tempted by the ice-cream …. which must say something.
The forecast is still good for the next few days, so lets hope it stays that way as we head further North to Oban tomorrow……