On a cool, dry, calm day, this bike ride was an ideal choice of activity. It’s a shame it was cloudy, but you can’t have everything.
Roman Lakes is a good place to start this activity – a half hour drive finds us in this quiet spot with free parking, a drinks kiosk and toilets. There’s plenty of space to gather the cycling gear from the car boot, and to change into clean clothes afterwards if it’s muddy.
The proprietors have produced a booklet with eleven suggested routes – 4 easy (up to 8 miles), 4 moderate (up to 20 miles), and 3 ‘Xtreme’ (up to 34 miles). There’s also a ‘100 km Challenge’ route.
I’ve produced a summary of the ‘E4’ route in the past, and recorded it here, so there’s no map or route description within this posting.*
Soon after starting out I met a large group of guided walkers, perhaps from some sort of institution, emerging from here:
Perhaps there was light for them at the end of the tunnel!
I would hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel for this sad sight, which should be an attractive project for someone.
Whizzing past huge banks of Himalayan Balsam along the route, near a large dovecote in the centre of an ornamental lake, I soon came to a canal that despite its reddish brown colour is in fine fettle after some renovation work in the late C20 and even as recently as 2003 – the Peak Forest Canal. Pleasure cruisers were phutting up and down the section I rode along today before dropping down into New Mills.
I stopped here, by the River Goyt, surrounded by industrial archaeology, for refreshments.
Returning to the saddle, disorientatation set in and I headed off in the wrong direction. Either I’m very dim, or the geography of New Mills is quite intricate. Possibly both, but I did have a déjà vu feeling from the other day when I thought the Bridgewater Canal should have been in view! After fumbling around for ages, I eventually returned to the picnic benches and set off in the opposite direction, soon reaching the distinctive and attractive Millennium Walkway.
This little diversion perhaps provides the key to my speedo showing that I’d travelled two miles further than expected on this ride!
Some steep but straightforward climbing brought me eventually to The Fox Inn at Brook Bottom. Sadly it was closed, for a new roof and other repairs.
Here’s what it used to look like:
But today….I nearly had to pretend to delete the following image when the workmen and their boss (in the foreground) noticed my high visibility yellow top and thought I was a Health and Safety man checking up on them.
If so, I pleaded, why was I taking pictures like this?
They let me go, satisfied as to my insanity.
It’s a lovely ride back to Roman Lakes from here, high above the valley, with good views towards the skyscrapers of Manchester.
Past the golf course and on down the rough stony track to Roman Lakes, this excellent finish to the ride is over slightly technical ground that’s hard (for me) to descend quickly, but is easy enough at a slow pace.
* One of the most visited outdoor blogs – Alan Sloman’s – comments here on the fact that it only actually describes one route (albeit a long one) in any great detail. That in itself will attract many visits from prospective ‘LEJOGers’, but Alan’s subsequent postings do not make a big deal of describing routes or gear. That’s the beauty of Alan’s postings. You never know what’s coming next. I think he enjoys blogging as a form of therapy, and I’m sure he gains much pleasure from knowing that his writing is enjoyed by many others, including some professional writers.
My own efforts, as previously mentioned, are very much an indulgence, and whilst mainly outdoors related may cover any topic I consider worthy of interest, so it’s a bonus to me that anyone other than my mother and sometimes my trip companions should be inclined to visit this site.
However, I do enjoy detailing the various routes of the trips I describe, and it’s an added pleasure when people discover these for themselves and provide feedback.
So whilst I get far fewer visitors than Alan, like his LEJOG postings my route descriptions have proved to be a useful resource for some visitors.