HarryCrumb’s Peaks Solo Ride
Due to several changes of plans, and the fact I was staying in Stocksbridge Friday night, I decided to get out and tick off one of the routes in my MTB route book I had been given in 1992, just to make it right I used my GT Avalanche, which is the same model I had back in 1992.
I left the centre of Stocksbridge heading out towards Underbank Reservoir via several small lanes climb up onto the top side of Underbank Res’.
Above Stocksbridge on the start of the lane running below Underbank Res’
I carried on past Midhopestones and along Midhope Hall Lane, and Midhope Lane, on my way towards the Langsett Reservoir where I would join the route.
Looking down from Midhope Lane looking onto Midhope Reservoir
Once I’d passed through Upper Midhope I joined the bridleway into Langsett Reservoirs woodland via Thickwoods lane. The trail was like a fire road and took me through the woods and along the outskirts of the reservoir.
Still clean and dry, but not for much longer
10:00 At this point I joint the route found in the “Mountain Bike Guide-Derbyshire and the Peak District” on page 34-39 “Glossop Circle”. This route is described as being 38 miles and the suggested time is 8 hours, the author also writes, “probably toughest route in this book”, “It took us about 8 hours in very dry conditions” and “The route involves roughly 3400 ft. of climbing”. So the gauntlet was down, the time was 10:00 and the ground very wet so it wasn’t looking like an early finish. The bridleway took me up onto Hingcliff Common out across open moorland and headed up onto Mickleden Edge, this was a narrow windy climb with a drop on my right hand side.
Looking up the trail ahead on Mickleden Edge
This track continued to become Cut Gate, the terrain was a mixture of rock bed, sandy soil, peat, and rock slabs. The rain was now setting in and clouds had dropped
The descent from Cut Gate to Howden Reservoir begins
The last bit of the descent was full of rocks and tight turns, and as you can see from the contour lines, if you have the map handy very steep. The Avalanche held out and cleared it all the way down, passing a few MTBers walking up with modern rigs. At the bottom of this descent I was now on the fire road hard pack tracks around Howden Reservoir. I followed this past Derwent Res’ and down to the A57 where it crosses Ladybower Res’
The track down past Howden Reservoir
After going over the A57 Viaduct it was a right turn and a climb up a road, before a left turn onto a tarmac bridleway leading up to the National Trust Crookhill Farm. This was very steep and a bit of a slog. Past the farm through a gate and onto a grassy bridleway climbing up away from the reservoirs
Looking back onto Crook Hill
This track crossed Bridge end Pasture, and then skirted a woodland along a rutted LandRover track, this was down hill and gave me a chance to get some speed up, at the end of this the was a hardpack surface which soon got more interesting with sharp switch backs and a rock bed descent leading onto the A57. It was now time for the hard slog climbing up the A57 along the Snake Pass. I arrived at the Snake Pass Inn and took in a quick Mars bar whilst checking the map and guide book so that I didn’t miss my next turning. After more climbing up the Snake I turned off right and began my journey across Doctors Gate
First signs of how this section was going to go were not looking good.
As the weather conditions got worse with visibility low the first part of the Doctors Gate route wasn’t really rideable. Things changed as the route became rock slabs, but due to the rain is was like a river and my tyres had a few problems griping. These slabs became roman road type stones and they were even worse. This part was full of walking and riding but on looking back it was quite good, it just didn’t feel it at the time
Another hairy descent
Wrong, this resulted in me laid out in the mud
Eventually the track ran along side the river and came out onto a smooth track leading into Glossop, a quick map check and I joined the B6105. I left this and joined the Trans Pennine Trail, as this was safer than the road in these conditions, with the fog now quite thick, plus I think the author of the route would have chosen this option if it was available in 1992. I took the opportunity to get my baguette down my neck as it was now 15:30, my plan of getting back for 16:00 was now just a dream Following a quick glove change I crossed the A628 and continued along the Longdendale Trail via a very steep climb up from the road, this track was pretty easy going LandRover trail, and a welcomed tail wind helped me out. I crossed the A628 in deep fog and onto a minor road, which was still part of the Trans Pennine trail. This was a nice fast descent and was only broken by having to turn off right onto the bridleway along Woodland Clough, this tuned into the Snow Road leading me back to Langsett Reservoir. The time was 16:49.which meant I had at least got round the book route in 6 hours 49 mins in the wet. I followed the Swinden Lane track across the top of Langsett Reservoir and decided to join the A616 for a fast road descent back to Stocksbridge for a hot shower.
So stats are:
38 miles route in 6 hours 49mins, plus a few miles each way from Stocksbridge in rain and fog
10 photo stops, 1 piss stop, 1 Mars bar stop, and a quick baguette stop, and about 6 map checks.