Kendal was calling! 🚐

We’ve just spent a lovely weekend at Kendal Caravan & Motorhome Club site on a long overdue Jolly jaunt.

First Jolly Jaunt of the year! 😎

It isn’t actually in Kendal, it’s approx. 4.5 miles outside the town in a blissfully beautiful location beside the River Kent, set on the site of the 19th century Sedgwick Gunpowder Mill and it’s a wildlife heaven. The spacious pitches lie within separate wooded areas which gives a very peaceful sense of privacy, and a fabulous dawn chorus.

The site was fully booked up and we happily pitched up on number 77 where we could enjoy some afternoon sunshine before heading out on our first evening for a meal at The Strickland Arms, just 0.7 miles from the site which serves very good pub grub. We had pre-booked our table due to its popularity as the nearest pub/eatery to the site. We left with full and happy tummies!

  • Oh and we only found out later from a nice couple on the pitch beside us that you can get 10% off meals at The Strickland as C&MC members but they don’t promote it so you have to say, so take your membership card! You’re welcome 😉.

The next day we headed out on our bikes, firstly up to Low Sizergh Barn, a working farm, farm trail, cafe, and farm shop (online shop too), and raw milk station.

We had a coffee outside there before heading on up to Sizergh Castle (next door to the Strickland Arms) where we used our National Trust membership to gain free entry to the gardens. We thought we’d leave the house tour for another time when the weather might not be so great, as we preferred to spend some leisurely time meandering through the stunning gardens in the sunshine.

Afterwards we cycled an undulating 4.5 miles into Kendal where we had a mosey around before fish n chips mid-afternoon and a pint at The Shakespeare pub before making our way back.

We took a steep uphill detour on the way home to drop into the The Punch Bowl at Barrows Green for a drink before returning to site. Not sure how far we cycled in and around the area throughout the day but we slept very well! 😴

Next morning we enjoyed a bit of breakfast on Jolly before packing up and heading home, all the more relaxed for our short break. We’re never happier than when out and about in our Jolls.

We highly recommend this site if you like peace and nature. It caters well for families too with a playground and riverside areas for picnics, and there are plenty of walks from the site around the area. Next time we plan to visit Levens Hall & Deer Park but there was only so much we could fit in this time.

Until next time …

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri 🚐

CandMC Photography Competition WINNER! 📸

Nice day for it 🌞

Well, Suzie’s manic snapping has produced some lovely images this year.

The image on the front of the 2019 Caravan & Motorhome Club Site Directory was captured while we were cycling the club’s recommended cycle route from Southport Club Site.

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It was a beautiful day and we passed this impressively colourful show of Lupins in a field in Lydiate.  Just had to stop and snap it!  We recommend the cycle ride.  Check out the blog post if you want to know more:-

https://jollymajestic.com/2015/09/17/sunny-southport-merseyside/

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Chester Christmas Markets, Cheshire 🎅🏻

We’ve just had a lovely weekend over Chester way in Jolly.  We headed out on our annual Jolly Christmas Market Jaunt with the parent folks, and thought that Chester would make a nice change and would look pretty magical at this time of year.  We were not wrong!

We booked a room at the historic, and apparently haunted, ‘Pied Bull’ for Lesley & Malcolm which was a very comfortable stay for them.  We also ate there together on our first evening and the food was lovely.

Our base for the weekend was a little gem of a find, approx. 3 miles outside Chester, in Bretton.   It’s a Caravan & Motorhome Club CL site called Digby Farm in a peaceful, off road location.  The owner, Barry, that we dealt with from the time of booking was great with detailed directions and a warm welcome on our arrival.  It’s very easy to drive past the site lane entrance, even the taxi drivers struggled.  The lane is beside a small Methodist chapel with black railings outside.  Blink and you’ll miss it!

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We would happily recommend this site and will definitely return.   The CL area is a circular area of 7 well spaced hardstanding pitches with grass area and views looking out across the fields.  There seems to be an area for other caravans in a separate field also.  Facilities were as you’d expect, although as usual we used our onboard shower and not the site one which requires 20p pieces.

We used the local taxi service to travel into the centre – KingKabs Taxis, tel: 01244 343434 – but found it much quicker to download their app and book that way.  The average cost of the journey was between £8-£10.

Here’s a few photos of our weekend …

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The second evening we had a really excellent meal at Chez Jules (left outside the Pied Bull and just a few yards along the street).  Top notch 👍.  For both evening meals we booked well in advance as it was busy and places were turning people away who hadn’t booked.

Table for 4 at Chez Jules

The weather was quite wild at night but we were cosy as we were buffeted about in Jolly and we awoke to glorious sunshine before the rain set in one and off for much of the day.

And before we knew it our weekend was over and it was time to head home.  The weather was kind, it had stopped raining and the journey home traffic-wise was fine.

Not long til our next Christmas jaunt with our camping buddies.   Roll on that one!

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

A ‘Rail Ale Trail’, Bury, Greater Manchester

We recently enjoyed a great visit to Bury (named after the Saxon word for “a stronghold”) in Greater Manchester.  Here’s a brief history of the town.

We stayed at  Burrs Country Park Caravan Club Site on a serviced pitch (No. 89), and were pretty impressed with every aspect of our stay from the location, site facilities and pitch size to the numerous activities, things to do and eateries/pubs in the area.   There’s a Cluster Sculpture Trail to explore, and the River Irwell passes the entrance to the Country Park.

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We had pre-booked our stay some time ago, having bought tickets to attend a ‘Rail Ale Journey’ – a guided day trip on a steam train along the East Lancashire Railway  from Bury.  We thoroughly enjoyed this fun, friendly and sociable day out and can definitely recommend.  We even travelled the return journey in the comfort of an old first class carriage which ended the day beautifully.

It was a good job we’d booked our camping stay in advance because the site was fully booked due to it being the weekend of a visit from the much-loved and most famous steam engine of all – The Flying Scotsman 😮.

As further luck would have it, we managed to bag a pitch backing directly up to the railway line allowing us to watch The Flying Scotsman, the Witherslack Hall and the City of Wells steam locomotives as they chugged past Jolly 🚂.🚂🚂.

There’s a railway station at the site, making the railway easily accessible right from your doorstep.

There’s something mesmerising about the sight and sound of steam locomotives and it was a treat to see them up close.   These 2 videos were taken from our pitch:-

We’ll let the photos tell the story of the rest of our weekend.

For food and drink we visited the onsite pub, The Brown Cow, which was busy, buzzing, and great for a pint but we didn’t eat here so can’t comment.  Just a little further out from the site on the road towards town is another pub called The Garsdale Country Inn.  This was also good for a drink but the food was just ok, nothing special at all so we probably wouldn’t bother eating there again.

We found a lovely Indian Restaurant in town and can recommend it.  Excellent food and very good value too – The Jewel in the Crown.

We hadn’t actually realised just how much there is to do in Bury, and will definitely be re-visiting in the future.   Next time we’ll probably take the bikes and explore further afield.

ONWARD!

Suzie & Bri

Garlic Farm, Red Squirrel Trail & Sandown, Isle of Wight

Our final day in this area of the Island was spent on our bikes again. This time we cycled just 1.5 miles to the nearby Garlic Farm and shop. It was an interesting visit for garlic lovers and we left safe in the knowledge that we can put garlic in pretty much anything.  In fact somebody tell Peter Kay – garlic beer, it’s the future, we’ve tasted it! 🍻

https://www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk/

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We then cycled back on ourselves to Landbridge where we joined the ‘Red Squirrel Cycle Trail’ to take us the four miles or so down to Sandown.  It’s a cycle path created over an old railway line so it’s pretty flat for the most part.  The whole trail runs for approx. 23 miles through the countryside from East Cowes down to Sandown.  We look forward to completing the rest of this trail on our next visit to the island.

http://redsquirreltrail.org.uk/the-trail/

Once in Sandown we enjoyed a delicious crab sandwich at The Beach Shack Bar on the Western Esplanade as we soaked up the sun and views, just watching the world go by for a while before riding further along the front to Yaverland.

https://beachshackbar.co.uk/

The beach at Yaverland is considered to be one of the best on the island and is very popular with water sport enthusiasts.

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/things-to-do/yaverland-beach-p970111

It turned out to be another glorious sunshiny day.  Absolutely perfect for cycling.  Once off the trail there were a few challenging hills but it was always worth the effort.   There are lots of cycle hire shops hiring out electric bikes for those who might prefer an easier cycling experience on what is known as ‘Bicycle Island’.

By early evening, after a day generally exploring Sandown, we returned.  We rode/walked up the hill back into Newchurch, stopped for a flyer in the Pointer Inn, and then got back to site.  We’d timed it well as the fish n chip van was parked up on site (it visits twice a week), so we ordered our chippy tea, set the table back at Jolly and enjoyed our well earned supper as we watched the sun set.

Sunset over Southland Caravan and Motorhome Club Site

 

Here’s a very short snippet-of-a-video taken along part of the Cycle Trail and on Sandown beach …

The next morning we packed up, waved goodbye to Newchurch, and headed off to Freshwater on the north part the island for the second half of our stay.   Already though, we had fallen in love with the Isle of Wight.

ONWARD!>>>> 🚐

Suzie & Bri

Shanklin, Shanklin Old Village and Shanklin Chine, Isle of Wight

On our second day at Southland C&MC Site we visited Shanklin, Shanklin Chine and Shanklin Old Village about 4.5 miles away. We travelled there by taxi then walked around the different areas.

http://www.isleofwightattractions.co.uk/ShanklinOldVillage1.htm

Beginning at the Old Village, we walked down through Shanklin Chine (which, incidentally, brings you out at a quaint old Inn called the Fisherman’s Inn which turned out to be the pub we’d been chasing the day before! Hurrah! we thought … but it was closed 🙄).   Clearly not meant to be! 😄

The Chine is a lovely natural leafy gorge and the island’s oldest attraction.  It’s enchanting to stroll through, with a waterfall and nature galore.  It brought us out down at the beach below, although obviously you can do the route in reverse.  We paid £4.60 each entry fee + gift aid.

https://www.shanklinchine.co.uk/

After spending time on the beach taking photos and watching the waves crashing in for a while, we walked a little further along the prom into and around Shanklin.

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http://www.visitshanklin.co.uk/

Afterwards we rode the old cliff lift back up and walked the scenic coastal path back into Shanklin Old Village where we enjoyed a delicious meal at the thatched Old Village Inn before getting a taxi back to site.

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https://isleofwight.com/item/village-inn-shanklin-isle-of-wight/

Another day gone in flash.  The next day we were getting back on our bikes to visit Sandown.

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Newchurch, The Donkey Sanctuary & Ventnor, Isle of Wight

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We arrived at Southland C&MC Site just outside the village of Newchurch in the Arreton Valley area.  It’s located on the more popular (tourist-wise) South East-ish side of the island, and we deemed it an ideal base for exploring places such as Sandown, Shanklin, and Ventnor.

Newchurch itself (just a couple of mins away by push bike) has a very nice inn, The Pointer Inn, where we had pre-booked a table for our first evening.  We found this to be our favourite pub over the other nearby one, The Fighting Cocks which is a mile away.  The Fighting Cocks is a very popular pub for families though.

http://www.pointernewchurch.co.uk/

http://www.thefightingcocksiow.co.uk/

Southland C&MC Site is beautifully kept and well laid out, offering many pitches, grass or hardstanding and some are serviced.  The wardens were extremely welcoming, friendly and helpful re local information and there’s also an info hut worth perusing.  The facilities looked well up to the club standards you’d expect but as usual we used our own.

On the day of our arrival, we were spoilt for choice of vacant pitches as many people seemed to have left that morning (nothing to do with our arrival!).  We pitched up on pitch 178, a hard standing pitch with a small privacy hedge to the side.  It offered great all day sunshine too.  All pitches are a generous size though and finding something to suit whatever preferences you have isn’t difficult.

It was a blisteringly hot day on arrival and so, after a long journey, we just pitched up and enjoyed a few hours sitting in the sunshine with a glass of bubbly watching buzzards flying overhead.

After lounging we hopped on the bikes and cycled to The Pointer Inn for dinner.

Next day, we decided to hop on our bikes and cycle 6 miles to the old Victorian seaside resort of Ventnor.

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/explore/towns/ventnor

On our way we called in at the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary at Lower Winstone Farm in Wroxall.

https://www.iowdonkeysanctuary.org/

We spent an hour or so there meeting the donkeys and also a few Shetland ponies.  This Sanctuary does amazing work and is totally reliant on charity so although its free to enter, donations are desperately needed.  You can also contribute by adopting a donkey.  We left our donations and had a coffee in the cafe during our wander around.  Please pop in if in the area, its well worth a visit to meet these wonderful animals.

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Afterwards, we climbed back on our bikes and cycled the hilly roads towards Ventnor.  While cycling along, Suzie spotted 2 snakes writhing around by the roadside (this significantly increased our pace up the hill).

Upon Google investigation later on, however, it turns out that they were more than likely slow worms, a type of legless lizard (Latin name Anguis Fragilis).  We weren’t at all keen on this encounter (Latin term Maximus Scaredycatus).

A slow worm like the two seen

Ventnor was worth the effort.  We finished off by pushing the bikes down some of the steeper sections towards the beach.  As you arrive down the long and winding road, the Spyglass Inn comes into view.  The location of this inn is superb as it’s right on the rocks overlooking the bay with the sound of waves crashing and sea views as far as the eye can see.  For us though, the best find had to be the Crab & Lobster Tap on Grove Road which we discovered as we started our ascent from the bay.   It is purportedly the oldest Inn on the whole of the Isle of Wight, holding the oldest licence.

http://thespyglass.com/

http://crabandlobstertapventnor.co.uk/

After having spent a couple of hours taking in this pretty resort we began our climb out.  Our plan was to head to a pub called the Bonchurch Inn for tea on the way back to site.  We’d read about it on another online blog.  Unfortunately, unbeknown to us at the time, the photo that had been used on the blog was of a completely different inn in a different resort.  And so began our wild goose chase.   An uphill wild goose chase.  It was challenging and became more of a walk than a bike ride as we just seemed to climb and climb and climb and … you get the picture.

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While we’re sure it was a nice enough place, the pizza takeaway restaurant wasn’t  the beachside, thatched, historical inn we were after.  Our Bonchurch detour wasn’t without interest though.  We passed a charming, tiny, medieval church – St Boniface Old Church.

https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/things-to-do/st-boniface-old-church-p1069521

We also came across a grand looking house with a blue plaque dedicated to Henry De Vere Stacpoole.  We’d never heard of him but another Google investigation informed us that he was an Irish ship doctor turned poet and author who managed to live comfortably in later life off the success of his romance novel ‘The Blue Lagoon’ which was adapted into film.

So there you go, at least the afternoon was educational!

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Following our history lesson and now 6.5 miles from site, we rang for a taxi to collect us and our bikes.  This was a first for us but absolutely the right decision because our taxi journey home was ALL uphill.  We must’ve covered more area than we thought during the day.   We slept very well that night 😴😴 ready for more exploring the next day.

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Welltrough Hall Farm, Lower Withington, Cheshire

Last weekend we visited what we found to be a top rate CL site.  It was at Welltrough Hall Farm in Lower Withington, Cheshire.

This is an adults-only site which began as a 5-pitch C&MC Certified Location and has been extended to provide more pitches, all fully serviced and refreshingly spacious with hardstanding and a grassy area.  Some have wooden boundaries.  There are also grass pitches and a camping pod.

The original 5 pitches have the most impressive views across open countryside, although all have open views.   However, we found a cosy corner pitch (no 13) which was located by a small pond and trees.  It provided plenty of quiet and privacy.  Although most pitches are level, pitches 10-13 definitely need levelling blocks.  We were at the top of our ramps and still slightly sloping although this was no issue to us.

Facilities provided:- elsan chemical toilet disposal point, 2 portaloo-style toilets, showers (and one for doggies), washer/dryer, information hut, a farm walk and also a well signed walk through 2 fields to the local Red Lion Pub in the village of Lower Withington, about half a mile away.

We visited the Red Lion on our first evening for a chilled couple of drinks & game of cards in the bar area before moving into the dining area to eat later.  It was lovely food.  Would definitely recommend 😊

On site, our pitch provided a clear view of the impressive local landmark that is the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank.  This is just 2.7 miles from site.

Lovell Telescope in distance

We visited Jodrell Bank the next day while out and about exploring the area on our bikes.  We spent a pleasant 1-2 hours there which was plenty of time for what we wanted to see.  It was a perfect winter’s day with sunshine but VERY cold.  It was pleasant walking around outside and seeing the Lovell Telescope up close.  We also caught a film (on continuous play) in the film pod indoors.  This gave an interesting, detailed insight into the history and current role of the telescope in space research. There are several other interactive and informative displays inside and a couple of cafes.  It’s definitely a worthwhile visit if in the area.

Tickets were £8 per adult (£7.30 without gift aid) but we saved 10% booking online in advance.  It’s also worth noting there’s work ongoing on the car park at present.  This didn’t affect us being on bikes but car parking spaces were reduced.

Other villages we cycled through during our day out included the old farming village of Goostrey, Twemlow Green and Swettenham.  We had planned on calling into The Yellow Broom for refreshments but it was closed when we arrived so we headed another 3 miles or so through Kermincham and into Swettenham.  It was worth the often-uphill effort because we found a fine country inn, purportedly haunted, called The Swettenham Arms.   It’s easy to cycle past as it’s tucked away to the rear of St Peter’s Church.

After re-fuelling with well-earned fodder, we headed back by just the lights on our bikes to site.

A great day and top weekend.   Roll on the next one!

Chatty Chappy

A chatty blue tit chirped “Cheerio!” as we left

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

An Autumnal Coniston, Lake District

This month we returned to Coniston in the Lake District.  It’s definitely one of our favourites, not only because of the beauty of the area but because it was the destination for our maiden Jolly adventure back in March, 2014.   We’ve been here three times now in Jolly – see previous blog posts by searching ‘Coniston’.

As per previous visits, we pitched up at Coniston Park Coppice Caravan Club Site

Jolly doing his best Elvis impression – I’m all hooked up ooh hoo hoo, ooh hoo, yeah yeahhhh …

It’s a huge site of 228 touring pitches, some tent pitches and there are now some camping pods named after Coniston’s famous speedster son, Donald Campbell, and a few luxury chalets.  The site’s open all year round but out of season only the top end remains open.  During our visit the whole site was still open, a first for us and we really got a feel of the size of the site.  There are pitches to suit everyone, well spaced too.

We find this site ideally located between Coniston itself and the small village of Torver which we like to visit on our first evening there.  We’ve had some good times at the Wilsons Arms  with its warm open fire, friendly welcome, good beer, great food and relaxing ambience.  Perfect.

 

There’s another pub in Torver, the Church House Inn which is equally nice and also has a 5-pitch caravan/motorhome site to the rear.  Facilities provided are: a toilet and shower block and water supply.  Prices for Caravan Club members start at £10 per night. We didn’t call in this time though as it was shut on the Friday night which was unusual.  Maybe they’d heard we were coming?

This was our first visit to Coniston in Autumn and what a stunning show of autumnal hues we were treated to.  The weather was wet and there was already quite a lot of surface water before we arrived.  Never ones to allow a bit of rain and mud to stop us though, we had a great time … and plenty of mud-caked laundry on our return.

 

A great weekend.  Not sure where we’re off to next just yet.

Oh, nearly forgot, Ed Sheeran works at The Ship Inn, Coniston where we ate on our last evening following a day out on the bikes around the local area …

Cheeky little photo with Ed!

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri

Chirk, North Wales

Last weekend Jolly took us to Chirk, a small town in North Wales between Wrexham and Oswestry.

We stayed at Lady Margaret’s C&M Club Site which is beautifully situated in woodland.  The site offers good sized pitches to suit all preferences, be it the shade and privacy of trees or open grassy areas.  We loved this site and the location, it’s pretty with a sense of space, and the sun shone too which always shows a place at its best.  We had noted some comments on the site reviews about facilities needing upgrading but we can’t comment on the showers because we used Jolly’s onboard shower as we always do. However, we used the toilets which were fine and spotlessly clean.

The wardens were very welcoming, smiling, chatty and laid back despite always being busy with a steady flow of arrivals and departures.

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The site is located beside Chirk Castle, a grade I listed 13th Century fortress built during the reign of Edward I.  It was sold to the Myddelton family at the end of the 16th Century and descendants of this family still live in part of the Castle today.  You can just lose yourself wandering through the grounds, admiring the ornamental statues, or join a guided tour of the state rooms, and visit the tea room and shop.

There’s a striking entrance to the Castle in the form of intricate ornate white wrought iron gates, bearing the Myddelton Coat of Arms.  Dated 1719, they’re the work of local brothers, Robert & John Davies.  We stopped a while at these gates to admire the intricate detail of the work on them.

Ornate gates at Chirk Castle

The gates bear the ‘Red hand of Chirk’.  A tale of how this symbol came about relates to a Lord Myddelton issuing a challenge to his twin sons as he lay on his death bed.  Chirk Castle was to be passed to his eldest child but he was unsure which son had been born first.  The sons had to race on horseback around the estate, the winner being the one who returned first to touch his father’s deathbed, thereby inheriting the estate.

Legend has it that as the feuding sons returned neck-and-neck running towards the chamber, one of the sons tripped.  Fearing he would lose the race and the inheritance, he drew his sword, sliced off his own hand and threw the bloody thing(!) onto his father’s bed thereby claiming his right to the inheritance.

Lucky that he had his sword ‘handy’ wasn’t it …

We noticed this symbol in places throughout Chirk as we wandered around the town on our first afternoon.  It’s about a half hour walk from site but we rode our bikes down.  We ate later on at a café/restaurant on the main street, called ‘The Castle Bistro’.  It’s a delightful, cosy bistro with a friendly atmosphere. We enjoyed some very tasty, well presented food washed down with a cheeky bottle of rosé wine.  Mmmm.

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The Llangollen branch of the Shropshire Union Canal runs through Chirk and we got out on the bikes the next day to enjoy a scenic bike ride and a little photography along the canal towpath from Chirk Railway Station, over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and into Trevor Basin (NCN route 84) where there’s a Visitor Centre.

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The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the tallest aqueduct in the world, with its 18 arches it stands at 38 metres (126 feet high) and was built between 1795-1805.  It’s recognised as being the first great masterpiece of Civil Engineer, Thomas Telford.  We walked our bikes across as you can’t cycle it, and the pathway is quite narrow with just enough room for people to pass by.  It’s quite an experience to cross it, especially if you aren’t too keen on heights.  You can take a narrow-boat ride across if you prefer.

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We stopped for a wander around Trevor Basin, and ate lunch at the Telford Inn there.  This building was initially called Scotch House, and the name is still visible in the glass above the doorway.  The house was used by the Supervisor of the construction of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, and sometimes by Thomas Telford too.  The building was converted into a pub from a private dwelling in 1981.  We had a lunch snack here and a nice pint of Telford Tipple outside in the beer garden overlooking the canal.

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Afterwards we took NCN route 85 along the canal towpath into Llangollen, stopping off briefly for a swift one at The Sun, Trevor .  When we arrived in Llangollen we noticed it was very popular with visitors and no shortage of shops, pubs and restaurants.  It’s definitely somewhere to return to on a future Jolly adventure.  As it was, we had only called in to check it out and didn’t have a great deal of time to explore it much.

We cycled over Llangollen bridge to grab a pint at the Corn Mill an old mill turned modern bar/restaurant which has still managed to maintain a lot of its original features including the water wheel that turns behind the bar.  From the outside decking area, we watched the white waters of the River Dee and were lucky to see a steam engine departing from the station across the water.

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We then re-joined the canal towpath for our return ride back to Chirk.  In all, throughout the day, we probably cycled a leisurely 19-20 miles and had cycled up an appetite so we decided on tea at the Chirk Tandoori in town.  Not before Bri got pooped on by a bird outside the Hand Hotel though *snigger* 😮

Even early evening the Chirk Tandoori was full and clearly a popular place with locals.  The food and service was great and it was like travelling back in time as Indian restaurants go – we even got a carnation on leaving!  Lovely.

With that, another Jolly jaunt came to a close and the following morning the journey home flowed nicely, no hold-ups.  Next adventure will probably be Cumbria way.

In the meantime, I need to get to the gym after all that lovely fodder and before the next adventure! 😊

ONWARD!>>>>

Suzie & Bri