Week 7 day 49 – Monday 11th May

  • 65 minutes at 120 watts
  • Max heart rate = 125 bpm
  • Calories = 534 (total so far 16774)
  • Distance covered = 23.41 miles
  • Total distance so far = 604.05

I think the cumulative effect of 6 weeks’ training coupled with the enforced absence of the regular treatments that keep my headaches under some level of control, are beginning to take their toll. Added to this, we have the task of dealing with a collection of elderly relatives (including two nonagenarians who are particularly challenging!) so we decided in order to keep going, the only option was to drop the watts a little.

This seemed to do the trick and singing along with Beverley Knight 100%, I kept going and maintained the mileage. I’ll reassess the situation next week!

Leaving Moston, I bypass Chester near the border with Wales. It was founded as a fort by the Romans in AD79 but it is best known now for its beautiful black and white buildings. It is also one of the few cities to retain a town crier who can be seen at noon Tuesday to Saturday, June to September at the High Cross in the city centre.

Continuing south, my resting place for today is Cholmondeley and being so close to the Welsh border, there is no shortage of castles on the way.

Beeston Castle is one of the most dramatic ruins in the English landscape. Built by Ranulf, 6th Earl of Chester, in the 1220s, it was seized by Henry III in 1237 and it remained in royal ownership until the 16th century. Eventually it was surrendered by the Royalists and partially demolished. 

However, it has remained preserved partly because its ruins formed an integral part of the later built Gothic mansion, Peckforton Castle.

They were intended to provide a ‘view’ and a talking point for the owner, Tollemarche and his guests. The castle has been through various incarnations over the years, including a film location, but is now a luxury hotel and wedding and events venue. 

Tollemarche was the largest landowner in Cheshire and considered to be a good estate manager. He was generous to his tenants and advocated improvement of their social conditions. He believed in a self-reliant labouring class and made popular the idea of his tenants having a cottage with sufficient land to keep a few animals. His catch-phrase for this was ‘three acres and a cow’, a policy he carried out in Framsden, the estate village of the magnificent Helmingham Hall, in Suffolk. This is also used for weddings and events, although the gardens are open to the public during the summer months.

The local brewery name Tolly Cobbold, is an amalgamation of two family-run brewers – Tollemarche and Cobbold. In the 1930s the Tollemarche brewery underwent a large expansion, taking over the Cambridge Star Brewery and building a number of mock-baronial pubs, mostly in Ipswich. The ornate style (based on the design of Helmingham Hall) and the scale of the expansion, led to their being known as ‘Tolly Follies’. Many of them still exist including the Golden Hind in Cambridge, although sadly the brewery has now been swallowed up by Greene King.

And finally, at Cholmondeley itself, I find another castle. Sadly, this remains unoccupied as the current Marquess lives in his ‘other’ house – Houghton Hall in Norfolk (East Anglia seems popular with midlands landowners!) The castle isn’t open to the public but the parklands and gardens are in the summer and are used for a variety of outdoor events.

It is worth mentioning The Cholmondeley Arms in case you fancy visiting this neck of the woods. It is set inside a former Victorian Village Schoolhouse, and was restored in 2011. Inside it is furnished with some interesting ‘old school style’ furniture, huge mirrors and church candles. Not only has it won several food awards over the years, it is also famous for offering local ales and well over 300 gins. Now this definitely looks like our kind of resting place!