Today we did 91 miles with 5,000 feet of ascent. We left the hills of the Welsh border and arrived in Cheshire. Once again we had the Northerly headwind and bright, chilly, dry weather.
We left Kington Youth Hostel at 07:45 after extra porridge and crumpets to prepare us for the hills ahead.
We soon left Kington behind us as we headed towards Presteigne on the B4355. It was a beautiful morning with clear blue sky. The countryside in the area along the border is quite hilly and we were straight into a steep climb. There was another huge ascent before the fast run down into Knighton which is a busy little town.
As we left Knighton on the A488 the sign by the road welcomed us to the Shropshire hills and we were immediately climbing up a huge one of them. Above us was a large Red Kite giving us a flying display as we ground our way up the hill. The terrain here is moorland with lots of sheep and very rural with few houses between the villages. There was another massive hill before we dropped down into Clun. We were ready for a coffee break by this time but despite there being a wonderful castle at Clun there was no cafe.
It was only another 8 undulating miles to Bishops Castle. This is a lovely little town – the smallest borough in England and we stocked up on calories with scones and toasted teacakes.
The A488 carried little traffic but we now headed off on lanes through Ratlinghope to the West of The Long Mynd, with unrelenting hills but with constantly interesting, spectacular, moorland scenery.
About 10 miles from Shrewsbury, the view from the top of a hill showed that the terrain ahead was flat, and we knew we were at the beginning of a different phase of our ride, which would be more urban – some of it very urban. We could expect it to be another 150 miles before we would be back with moorland sheep.
The undulations became smoother after Pulverbatch and we freewheeled down into Shrewsbury. The town is pleasant enough but we had no need to linger and it seemed very busy .
The countryside between Shrewsbury and Whitchurch is nothing to write about in a blog so I will say no more about it!!
Whitchurch is a pleasant town with a nice church to the Saint Alkmund, a new one on me.
It was striking that the local accents had changed dramatically from our departure town in the Welsh borders and we were now in the North. And the sun was out and it was warm enough to ride with our jackets off for the first time.
Whitchurch was officially the end of day 5 but it was only 15:30 so although we had done 68 miles we decided to press on for a while. The landscape improved considerably as we headed North to Malpas and then on small, pleasant lanes passing the spectacular Castle at Peckforton and Beeston.
We bypassed Tarporley and headed North on the B5152 into Delamere Forest. We stopped riding today at Delamere Station. We did some yoga stretches in the car park while waiting for my friend Jennie to collect us and whisk us away in a motor car – we will return in the morning to continue on our way North, through a very different landscape, to Preston.
The GPX track for today’s ride is here.