Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Peak District Byways for the Bank Holiday Weekend?

This weekend came together pretty well, even if I do say so myself... we got parking at a mates pub, with excellent food and beer, then two days of some pretty cool lanes in the Peak courtesy of a lot of talking, reading maps & the best day was planned by a mate in the Northumbria TRF, Tony Whitehead.Cheers for that Tony...

Lucy had decided not to ride with us as she is studying for a mountain leading qualification and wanted to get time in the hills practicing navigation, so she came down for the crack in the evenings and some beer too of course... So Geoff, Andy, Lee and I all met up on Sunday morning at the Cheshire Cheese Inn in Hope.

Craig and Laura are the owners of the pub and B+B, I work with Craig these days and we also go back a ways working in the mountains of the world... Laura runs the pub, its a lovely place but book up early as the food has a growing reputation...

 Lee brought his brand new AJP 250, it was very sparkly and white when we set off, he was dancing around on it all over the place, much to the rye amusement of Geoff & Andy on their KTM's... he was also the breakdown recovery and collection service as both the KTM's had bits fall off including tool kits, spare tubes, lights... the list goes on.... I missed a lot of this as I was up front navigating but a lot of laughs were had at everyone's expense, mine mostly for falling off on a flat piece of grass!! YouTube Vid Here

Day 1: Sunday - Breakfast at the Courtyard Cafe in Hope, where you can pull your bike up into their courtyard was the start of the day, it opens at 8, perfect... The riding was pretty relaxed despite there being a 120 mile loop and would suit anybody just getting into laning or just looking for a nice pootle out, there was only one lane that was hard, near Darley Dale, a short steep climb up some gritstone steps, it was a bit of a shock after the easier riding but great fun... Geoff even found it funny despite this lane being the demise of his rear light, it fell apart like a good KTM plastic part seems to!!

The route went from Hope  towards Buxton, then round to Matlock, with a detour to Matlock Bath for a bikers Cafe before heading round to Chatsworth House, Bakewell, Stoney Middleton and back to Hope. There was also a northern loop which we made a start up but the first lane was closed on a TRO for repairs to electrical cables so we heard the pub calling and headed back to Hope.

We had to make a couple of changes to the day as a couple of the lanes had been made Restricted Byways, (Something I've never understood, why not just make it a bridleway & save the confusion?)... One of these being on Shatton Moor above Bamford.

Day 2: Monday - This day started out badly with a muppet moment of navigation by me, but ended as one of the best days riding I've done in awhile, some good longer lanes, plenty of tricky rock steps and steep ups & downs, alongside some fabulous views, all of which is part of the reason the Peak is one of the busiest National Parks in the country.

The route for the day basically headed west towards Macclesfield via Buxton, eventually taking us over the gritstone moors,and bringing us back through Monsal Head.

Geoff's front sprocket had pretty much worn down to nothing by the time we hit Hollingsclough, which also coincided with all of the steep hills of the day!  Geoff's trip record of the only one not to fall off was soon in tatters as he hit the paved section on the ascent out of one of the lanes, seeing him on his arse with a few muffled swear words uttered!

Washgates Ford

Lee made a point of taking the little AJP to the top of the lane with no bother, just to rub it in a bit more!! ;-)

We saw lots of folk out on both days, with only one being truly offensive, a swift 'F' off to each one of us from the guy as we passed by the family group saw us all bristle a bit, but for the most part people were cool, opening gates, chatting nicely and waving us on... lovely to see after all the horror stories that seem to come out from the Peak these days courtesy of a biased set of people and a more realistic story of people's reaction to riders...

Three Shires Head

So a return trip is due, especially as I found a place to take the Sherco for a play too, load up the van and have another weekend in the Peak before heading to Wales for the next session I reckon... Dates to be agreed as yet!

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