Adventure

Cycling Day 19: Liverpool To Prestatyn

Before the pedants point out that there was no ‘cycling day 18’, there was. It was just a shortish one when it came to cycling and I never wrote about it. It involved a cycle from the hotel in Belfast to the ferry, a cycle from Birkenhead ferry port to Birkenhead station and a horrible cycle from Huddersfield station to home. Now that’s cleared up, on with the show, albeit nearly three weeks later…

I normally finish with the photos. Today I’m going to start with them:

You can see that the theme of the day was sunshine and blue sky. Those of you who mocked me yesterday on Twitter for packing factor 30 sun protection cream for a cycle to Wales should be hanging their heads in shame. It was used! Let’s not dwell upon whether it will make a return tomorrow. We all know that a storm is approaching. Joe, my Warmshowers host this evening, has already told me that if I want to stay a second night in Prestatyn, I can. As things stand, I’ll be heading out into the elements tomorrow come what may. Hopefully…

But that’s all mañana! Today was an unexpectedly delightful ride. Liverpool was beautiful, gleaming in the sunshine of late August. I last visited for any length of time back in the 1980s when it was riots, financial ruin and Neil Kinnock shouting at Derek Hatton that “you cant play politics with people’s jobs and people’s lives”. He had a point… but 30 years later, whether or not politics was played, it all turned out pretty well. The focus of my previous visit was the Albert Dock. Now that’s just a side show. The UNESCO accredited seafront is magnificent. Very, dare I say, European… In a country with more than its fair share of horrible urban environments, I take my hat off to Liverpool. Other British cities take note. (All that said, the overgrown, almost derelict area of the ship berths between the spruced up riverfront and the Albert Dock is a curiosity; what’s going on there?)

The ferry across the Mersey was brief but fun. Once in Birkenhead I headed north along the western side of the Mersey braced for disappointment. But it never really arrived. Cycling around the Wirral peninsula was a joy. Wallasey, Hoylake, Heswell, Neston… Thr route was mainly off road by the seafront, along disused railway lines and, in the final section, through an MOD / RSPB bird sanctuary. Beautiful!

I hesitate before writing this but… things only began to degenerate once I arrived over the Bridge and started to cycle north along the Welsh side of the River Dee. A tad more industrial than I had imagined and it wasn’t easy extricating oneself from the busy A548. Well, it was almost impossible.

I chatted on and off to a couple of young cycke tourists who sounded as though they came from Henley-on-Thames. I never got to ask them as the length of our conversations were mainly dictated by when the lights on the A548 turned green. They were on a tour that is taking in Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowden (although they didn’t quite make it to the top of England tallest peak due to the weather). Not a bad idea for a tour however.

Arriving in Prestatyn, Joe welcomed me with a guided tour of the house. I’m sure I will learn more about him later. If the weather is truly dreadful tomorrow I might learn more about him than I was bargaining for…

Categories: Adventure, Cycling, Travel

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