The SCCC Weekend in Leicester was about the same time as Andy’s Birthday. As soon as he had completed the SCCC Club Weekend – Leicester Long Ride, it was time to climb into the car and head off for Andy’s Birthday trip. He wanted North Wales, so off we went to Llandudno.
Monday was actually Andy’s birthday and he wanted to visit the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay. He even said that he wanted to cycle there and back, so that is what we did! We set off along the coastline, taking in the sea views.
It was then time to turn away from the sea and start climbing up to the Welsh Mountain Zoo, which is at the top of a rather steep hill.
When we asked about cycle parking, they said that no one ever cycles there! However, they were able to recommend a suitable place where we could lock them up safely.
Our first stop was at the cafe for a cuppa – unfortunately, they had no gluten-free cake. Then it was time to go and have a look around.
We were able to get really close to the penguin pool. Andy really likes penguins and so was pleased that we had the pool to ourselves and spent ages watching them swimming around.
Being at the top of a steep hill did mean that there were some great views. On the day we were there it was also really windy!
As well as the animals there were lots of nice flowers around.
When we first found the bears, they were hiding in the back but we did eventually get to see them.
The highlight of the day, and the main reason that Andy wanted to go, was to see the penguin parade.
Once the parade was over, we continued looking around.
After a late lunch, which was a very limited option for something both veggie and gluten free, we set off and cycled back to Llandudno. Generally following the same round that we had gone earlier.
Having put the bikes back in the car, we found a great cafe for tea and cake, called Love to Eat @OneTwoOne.
We hadn’t realised how late in the day it was.
After a bit of a walk around, it was time to go for Andy’s birthday tea. We found an Italian Restaurant called Romeo in Llandudno. It is now our favourite place to eat there! The food was great and the staff were all helpful and friendly.
The following day started out with a long run for me. Andy did the first half with me and we ran around the Great Orme on the toll road.
As we reached the Great Orme Tramway station back in Llandudno, Andy’s run came to an end and I continued on as the training plan said I needed an extra 50 minutes.
I ran along the bay and then back again.
I then ran across to the other shore and as I was heading back again, Andy came past on his bike. Apparently, he had got his bike out of the car and then cycled around the toll road again whilst I was finishing my run.
At the end, we just had time for a shower and change before we had to check out of the Travelodge where we had been staying. We went to a cafe called the Lemon Tree Tearooms where we had a great breakfast! They had plenty of gluten-free options.
After some shopping and some wandering around in Llandudno, it was time for a late lunch before heading back home. We managed to find yet another place that we had not been to before – The Cottage Loaf pub. It was another nice place to eat.
All in all, it had been a great few days away. Unfortunately, we had to head back home ready for work the following day but we will certainly be back again soon!
Our route to the zoo was:
It was a cool, but thankfully pleasant morning when twenty-two Stockport Community Cycling Club riders set off on the Leicester Long ride from Leicester University’s John Foster Halls of Residence. I was back-leading this ride, while Sarah was leading the Leicester Short ride.
Similar to the Leicester Short ride we set off by cycling through Stoughton where we picked up NCN Route 63.
And then past Leicester Airport.
The first few miles of the route were quite hilly.
Continuing on, we cycled through Kings Norton and Gaulby.
We climbed up to Illston on the Hill.
There were some great views out over Leicestershire.
The stiffest climbs of the day were around Goadby.
Here, we picked up NCN Route 64.
Our route gave us some respite and now flattened out a little as we headed for Market Harborough.
We skirted the edge of Market Harborough.
And joined NCN Route 6 when we dropped on to the Market Harborough arm of the Grand Union Canal.
We followed this to Foxton Locks, home of the longest set of staircase locks in the UK.
Here we stopped for lunch. We decided to split up and eat the various cafe’s, including the Foxton Locks Inn. We would meet up again in an hour.
Unfortunately, a couple of the riders missed that ‘meet up in an hour’ bit and when we arrived at the top of the locks they weren’t there!
A phone call later and they were on the way up … walking up … as we had also had to do by over-zealous canal volunteers.
Leaving the canal we made our way towards Gumley.
And on past Saddington Reservoir.
We continued to follow NCN Route 6 through little villages such as Arnesby, Peatling Magna and Willowby Waterleys.
And then the larger town of Countesthorpe.
Upon reaching Blaby we entering the outskirts of Leicester.
We turned onto the Great Central Way, previously a railway track of the former Great Central Railway.
This took us into the centre of Leicester.
We passed through de Montfort University.
And by Leicester Prison. Graham was suspiciously quiet around here.
Finally, we cycled through Victoria Park.
When we arrived back at the Halls of Residence we had completed 44 miles. This had given us an excellent taste of Leicestershire countryside. It is a great place to cycle.
There were 36 of us attending the club weekend, so we decided to split into two groups. I would lead the first group, and Sarah the second. The photos in this blog are taken from both rides.
When my group arrived at the main Rutland car park at Whitwell we found that there was a triathlon taking place. The original idea had been to have lunch here but plans quickly had to change.
The weather forecast had been for rain, and soon after we started it duly began to drizzle.
At the second car park – Sykes Lane – we stopped for a break. The food was more basic here, but it did the job (though not for Sarah when her group arrived – they had nothing in the way of gluten-free fare).
Continuing round we passed Normanton church.
For a while, the weather brightened up – though Leslie was taking no chances.
The dark clouds, however, were suggesting more rain was imminent.
And it duly arrived.
The rain came down heavy, just as my group was tackling the main climb on the route. We decided to keep going through the rain. We were after all, already wet!
Sarah’s group instead tried to take shelter.
Thankfully, the rain storm was brief, and we were all soon back cycling again.
Unfortunately, one of our group picked up a puncture.
Thankfully, we were soon on our way again and cycling through Egleton.
And finally, with the steam rising from the road as it dried, we arrived back at the car park.
Sarah’s group were still cycling around Rutland Water … and occasionally stopping to have their picture taken.
A little later they arrived back at the car park too.
We had all cycled just over 15 miles. In spite of the inclement weather, this had been an enjoyable ride around a route with some lovely scenery. A great start for our club weekend. And well worth a visit if you have some free time.
You can view our SCCC club weekend Rutland Water route below: