Friday, 2 January 2009

My challenge has begun

300 mile in a month challenge - 9% complete

I was brave (like Jon) as it was bloody freezing and went for a ride on New Year's Day, while Amy chose to stay in and eat chocolate.

Seeing as it looked beautiful outside with all the frost, I chose to head out to Dovestone reservoir - the hillier route out. Well, I did say I need to improve my hill climbing!
I set off using one of my usual rides up to Hurst and out onto Mossley rd. Here, I would normally turn right and head back into Ashton and home. Today I turned left and continued climbing to Lydgate (A669) and turned right to head towards Uppermill, another favourite location of mine. I continued slightly through Uppermill before taking a right and getting onto some country lanes along the edge of the Peak District National Park and down Tunstead Rd turning right then left onto a private lane just before the Chew Valley roundabout. This road is quite confusing if you've never been on it before - it forks off in two directions: one will head over Chew Brook to a business premises, the other will take you through large gateposts with Private No Entry signs on them.

The first time I came this way with Amy after my bro Paul told me about this lane, we saw the signs so took the right fork across the little bridge and came to a halt at the business, more than a little confused about why Paul told us this lane existed. We saw a dirt track alongside the brook but thought better of it, so turned back.

I've been through these gates so many times now that I now know that it's just private for vehicles further down it - there're a few houses down here along with tennis courts (over-run with weeds now though). I'm pretty sure the mountain rescue teams use this bit of land as a training spot for their rescue dogs too.

Had to turn my lights on down this lane as it was rather dark with the trees on either side meeting overhead and being in a valley there's little natural light at times. It's rather desolate down here too. Eventually I came out over another little bridge made of railway sleepers over the brook (this one is a little more rickety than the first bridge) and joined the main Bank Lane to the main car park for the reservoir.

Quick rest and pit stop to peruse the map on the wall of the toilet block/boot wash area, then I was back off for a ride along the frosty tracks watching the sheep munch on grass popsicles and being followed by one in particular, until he got bored and wandered off! Total winter wonderland up here - only me, Everest, the sheep and the birds of prey that live up by the crags and Indian Head. Pretty soon I was by the Yeoman Hey dam and thinking about coming home as I was really beginning to feel the cold - my fingertips were getting extremely painful, so thought better of riding alongside Yeoman Hey reservoir and made my way along to another private road and the climb up to Holmforth Rd not too far from Bill 'O' Jacks Plantation car park; excellent decision, as I got the brill downhill to Chew Valley roundabout all to myself.

Took a dinky detour on the way home, so I could ride along Huddersfield Rd for yet more undulations to get over. This brought me out in Stalybridge. 5 minutes later I was back on Mossley Rd and heading home.

Annoyingly, the camera on my phone stubbornly refused to work, so alas no pictures. It was a wonderful ride and a fab way to start off my challenge.

View Interactive Map on

Boring bits -
Very cold (-7), clear, frosty but beautiful
Maximum mph: 24.1
Average mph: 14.4
Distance: 27.77 miles
1401 ft climbed


  1. I can't belive any one else was brave enough to have ridden yesterday. It was FREEZING!

    It was nice though, riding on traffic free A roads. I wish it could be like that all the time.

    The best of luck with your 300 mile challange. I'm sure you'll easily manage it this time.

  2. Cameras don't like the cold, even Jumbly's posh waterproof, shockproof etc camera didn't like it on NYE!