Yes, its time to admit it, I am over the Hill. At 50+ years I can safely say I am over the Hill.
I am of course referring to the Pennines and in particular The Woodhead Pass.
Saturday’s bike ride was supposed to be a shirt but hilly 30 miles from Mottram in Hyde to Barnsley. It turned out to be a lot longer ride than that for reasons I will explain below.
So after leaving outer hotel we rapidly picked up the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) and almost immef5lost it because of turns not being signposted ( a common problem). We took the Road towards Glossop instead. And found the TPT again and started climbing up towards Woodhead Pass, firstly passing up and over a reservoir at Hadfield ( the first of many). It was spectacular by the amount of water flowing off the hills, causing a large fountain effect.
More climbing on rough surfaces led us to the main trail up to Woodhead. It was in the region of 8 miles of solid climbing to Woodhead Tunns. It was a steady gentle climb, but a climb all the same. Two noticeable things on reoute were the number of families out walking & riding together and the number of twichers ( bird watchers) we saw.
When we reached the remains of the old Woodhead Railway Station at the entrance to the sealed Woodhead Tunnels we were chatting to a couple of dog walkers who advised us the twitchers were hoping to see a rare vulture with a 9″ wingspan that had apparently been seen locally
Because the three tunnels are sealed off, it is necessary to go over the top of Woodhead Pass. Helpfully, there is a sign at the end of the railway platform directing you up a hill for the route. Once we had reached the top of the hill, we were on the busy A628 road. This was not the TPT. We knew it was about 2 miles on the road to where the TPT crosses the road, so like fools, we rode on the main road, which turned out to be not too busy or too steep and took us over the top.
We continued from there to Dunsford Bridge and found the old railway line which took us the last few miles into Penistone where we had lunch with my parents.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I was able to chat via text whilst having lunch, with my friends in Ohio who celebrated their 28th Wedding Anniversary that day. An Great achievement given the started married life with me as Best Man.
Back on the bike. It was only a short ride from Penistone to our hotel in Wombwell. An early finish beckoned.
The rain began to pour as we took the TPT along the railway tracks and through woods along great forest trails following the TPT trail signs until I stopped to check where we were and discovered had gone a long way south and were neatly in Sheffield not Barnsley! So much for the TPT signs!
We joined the Main Road at this point and found ourselves on the Cotè d Oughtibridge which is a hill that hits a 20% gradient and is said to be one of the top ten climbs in Britain! Several other sheepish hills later and we found ourselves back on the TPT trail again for the last 2 miles to the hotel, but struggled to find our way because of missing or inaccurate signing.
Event we arrived at the hotel about 2 hours later than planned and soaking wet having done an extra 12 or so miles owing to our detour. Still it was nice to tick off another of the top climbs in the UK.
After checking g into the hotel, I met my mother who game me a bag and we walked to our rooms. They were opposite each other. We were in 107 and my parents were in room 106, so my mother said, and as I went into our room, my mother was swiping her card to go into 106. After a shower etc. we headed out for dinner. I knocked on 106 to get my parents. A young lady answered the door and said I was the 2nd person to mistakenly call there. The other was a lady.. yes, my mother had got the wrong room! The occupant said we were welcome.eto koin her, but she was heading out to a party with a bottle of champagne in her bag! An interesting proposition, but food appealed more.
After dinner in the hotel pub/ restaurant we were joined by my friends from Barnsley for a convivial evening of alcohol. So much for a quiet early night.
A long day beckons again today as we continue towards Hornsea. Also my parents are heading home today, so its just the 2 of us for the next two days