Thursday, 10 October 2019
Saturday, 11 August 2018
In preparation for another trip, a bit of bike fitness has been deemed appropriate.
1. So on Monday I enjoyed a routine hour long 19 km circuit - along the canal to Stretford, then along the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) to re-join the canal at the site of the now sadly defunct Bay Malton pub, where the bridge (see here) is still being repaired, before returning home on the towpath.
I checked out the underpass at SJ 787 936 that Conrad struggled through last week. It's down a narrow unmarked footpath that leaves the TPT, re-joining that trail shortly after exiting the mud. Here’s the entry to the underpass.
And the view through the mud…
I suppose a warning sign would be helpful, but I imagine most people would be less brave than Conrad, take one look at the mud and return to the TPT, which crosses all ten lanes of the M60 motorway via a smart footbridge just a little further along the trail at SJ 784 936.
Personally, I'd prefer any funds to be spent on the maintenance of the TPT rather than on the futile maintenance of an easily avoided underpass path.
Here’s the route that I regularly cycle for a bit of exercise. It’s flat, 19 km, and generally takes me rather less than an hour.
2. Tuesday saw me taking the Bridgewater Canal towpath past Waters Meet all the way to the Throstles Nest Bridge. The area around there is full of construction work - the Wharfside area of the tramline extension to the Trafford Centre.
My route follows the Ship Canal as closely as possible along cycle lanes past the BBC studios to Eccles, then down to the Barton Swing Bridge before returning to Waters Meet along the Bridgewater Canal towpath past the Trafford Centre. The last 7 km is the reverse of the first 7 km - the stick of this 'lollipop' route. 26 km with about 40 metres of ascent, generally taking about an hour and 20 minutes.
3. I enjoyed a longer ride on Wednesday, picking up the TPT at Stretford and following it through Stockport to join the Peak Forest Canal beyond Haughton Green and return via the canals of the Cheshire Ring through Manchester city centre. 60 km in a shade over four hours, and back home in plenty of time for lunch. I wrote about this route in more detail here, and elsewhere.
The sad ruins of the Tatton Arms in Northenden continue to be a Blot on the Landscape.
Some bridge works have led to a diversion that didn’t affect me, as I got a bit misplaced in Northenden.
The closed path is on the right in the next picture, taken from the footbridge pictured below.
About half way round this circuit is an elevenses bench where there used to be a picnic table. Never mind, I rested in the company of a dog walker with a view of rampant ragwort and rosebay willowherb.
Looking back over previous trips, it’s interesting to note that I always seem to take photos from the same spots, as in the next two pictures, taken where the Peak Forest Canal meets the Ashton Canal. One day I’ll stop and visit the Portland Basin Museum and enjoy some refreshments at the café next door.
A little further on, Guidebridge Mill, built in 1884, was the second mill built at the this site - the first, built in 1876 was demolished around 1938. Later mills such as this one were built with flat roofs, which could be used as reservoirs for the sprinkler systems. The mill building now houses various diverse businesses.
The northern stretch of the Peak Forest Canal was rather evil in odour, with a greasy film on the water, but the Ashton Canal was refreshingly cleaner, providing good reflections of some of the barges that live there.
I managed to find my way through Manchester centre, where you have to leave the towpath for a while. There were lots of people around, making it slow going.
Around Old Trafford, the orchids have died away, to be replaced by the bright yellow flowers of Evening Primrose.
Here’s an overview of the route I took, which varies every time I do this ride. Today it amounted to exactly 60 km, with about 200 metres ascent, taking 4 hours or so including stops.
4. On Thursday I was joined by Richard for a ‘Big Macc Ramble’.
I’ve been cycling this route every now and then since January 1996. Reports since 2008 are here. They include a report on my first outing on ‘Stumpy’ in 2011. The chain broke. Today Stumpy was rather off colour again. The front brake was sticking, making progress rather hard work, but I wouldn’t have been able to go at Richard’s pace anyway, and at the end of the ride the rear suspension decided that it was to be set in the ‘on’ position all the time – a bit tedious as that suspension is only needed on bumpy downhill sections of track.
We took three and a half hours over the 23 km route, but that included lots of stops. My moving time was about an hour less than that, and Richard’s would have been a lot less, given the number of ‘waits’ he needed for me to catch up.
Notwithstanding all this, and the road closure that blocked the usual route to Langley, and the road closure on the A54 that blocked just the short section we needed along there, and a diversion due to logging in the forest, it was a good ride in fine weather. I was pleased to manage to cycle up the steep section to Nessit Hill, from where the following two pictures were taken before our swift descent to Trentabank that now includes some easy singletrack (bike only) paths.
The header picture was also taken on this ride, on Charity Lane before the rough descent to Macclesfield Forest hamlet and a traditional break on the bench outside the chapel.
Here’s the 23 km route, which includes about 600 metres ascent. A good workout, especially with a sticking front brake, and thanks for your company, Richard.
Sunday, 5 June 2016
I’ve written about this bike ride before, , but I was surprised that my last visit was in 2014, so here’s an annotated pictorial story of today’s route. It’s surprising how at different times of the year, or simply on different visits, the eye is caught by different scenes that are absent from previous reports. Though some, such as landmarks like the Cat & Fiddle, usually feature.
I parked outside Trentabank Visitors Centre and started by zooming down past the Leathers Smithy pub and into Langley before heading beside Alan Roberts’ old house and up Holehouse Lane to a quiet spot between Teggsnose Reservoir and Bottoms Reservoir. The houses on Clarke Lane are seen the other side of Bottoms Reservoir (top photo).
Teggsnose Wood was delightful, despite the overcast day, with the last of the bluebells lining the path that leads to Clough House.
A steep pull leads to the main A837 road at Walkers Barn, where this ride enters the Peak District National Park, where it remains until exiting the Park at Nessit Hill.
After a few metres of main road a right turn returns the rider or walker to the quiet solitude (on a Wednesday morning in June) of Charity Lane.
Once the tarmac is left behind, the lane becomes a superb mountain bike track that leads to a high point that is one of my favourite places. Today low cloud meant that the summit of Shining Tor and the buildings of the Cat & Fiddle were both hard to discern through the gloom.
Forest Chapel was in use, for a funeral that would be adjourning to the Peak View Tearooms, just visible in the picture below after a tarmac ascent.
If you need sustenance just now, you need the tearooms (only open on certain days) as the Cat & Fiddle…
… is closed, and has been all this year.
Presumably the owners are waiting for someone suitable to contact them.
After that sad sight of the closure of the second highest hostelry in England, the cotton grass lined track past Danebower Hollow was a delight, especially as it brings back dark memories of a horribly boggy route before the path was re-built.
A kilometre or so along the main A54 road passed in just a few seconds as it was downhill with a brisk tailwind. I could nearly keep up with the motorised bikes!
The descent past Sparbent to Cumberland Clough, and onwards to the Wildboarclough road seems to get rockier every time I use it. It’s what some may describe as a ‘technical descent’. Great fun.
Here are two pictures taken near the path junction at SJ 997 699, where I paused to despatch a pint of tea and some chocolate before tackling some of the bigger boulders and a stream crossing further down the clough.
The rocks get bigger. You have to divert your eyes from Shutlingsloe (on the right in the picture below), or risk disaster!
Once in the valley, beside Clough Brook, I was astonished to see how green everything looked today, even under dark clouds.
My usual route up a steep lane was blocked, but the tarmac via Bottom o’th Oven and Forest Lodge was much more gentle on the thighs. I think I’ll use it in future although it does turn the ‘circuit’ into a ‘figure of eight’ shape.
The views within Macclesfield Forest, with Trentabank Reservoir in the picture below, seem to be continually changing as forest management dictates harvesting and replacement of the trees. I’m sure this is much greener than when I’ve been here before.
All too soon the National Park is left behind, Nessit Hill is summited after a sharp ascent, and here there don’t seem to be any regulations preventing the installation of sparkling new benches with fine views towards Tegg’s Nose and away over Greater Manchester.
On this occasion I took a steep descent route marked for bikes – slightly shorter than the old route on which pedestrians may have felt terrorised by fast paced mountain bikes. The path I took was deserted, so no such problem today.
The 23 km with 800 metres ascent took me 2 hours 50 minutes (moving time 2.10). A most enjoyable morning’s outing that substituted for a planned walk for which nobody turned up at the allotted time at the Visitor Centre. Luckily my bike was in the car, or this would have been a (solo) walk report.
Here’s the route.
Saturday, 11 October 2014
I’ve reported on this route and variations to it before – here – so whilst there’s a map below, no detailed description beyond that given is warranted.
I’d been planning a visit to the Cat and Fiddle for some time, the bike ride being a training ride for the Calderdale Mountain Bike Marathon (CMBM). As that takes place tomorrow, I suspect this Big Macc Ramble will have tired me out more than it got me fit!
The day was warm, with sunny periods. I encountered just a handful of pedestrians on the quiet paths. A long ascent to Macclesfield Forest is followed by a gentle descent to the chapel, where I enjoyed some tea and a sandwich on a familiar and much loved bench before tackling the technical descent to Bottom-of-the-Oven – not so easy on the old steel bike that I traditionally take on the CMBM.
Here are views to the Stanley Arms, and to the Cat and Fiddle, from Bottom-of-the-Oven.
It’s a long haul up the road to the tea rooms, especially for one whose cycling these days is mainly along canal towpaths. Above the tea rooms I paused to regain my breath and take snaps towards Shutlingsloe and back to Macclesfield Forest, where my route along Charity Lane follows the edge of the forest on the horizon.
After a productive meeting with Adam, the Cat and Fiddle’s chef, during which the menu for our Christmas lunch on 14 December was finalised – details will be available here shortly – I continued on along Danebower Hollow.
After a short road section, there’s a lovely descent to Cumberland Clough and a final stream crossing over Cumberland Brook after negotiating some increasingly sized rocks.
Then it’s back up to Macc Forest, Nessit Hill, and the final exhilarating descent at over 30 mph on the swooping gravel track above Trentabank. Brilliant!
Here’s today’s route, described basically here, but note that at the end, beyond Nessit Hill, a designated cycle trail now leads steeply and directly to the road junction near Trentabank, slightly shortening the route to 14.2 miles with about 700 metres ascent - allow 2-3 hours.