We were due to ride from Roscoff in France to Amsterdam and then get the train back from Hull. Covid meant that this trip could not happen this year, so we decided to do a little local tour following the Pennine Bridleway and Sustrans routes 62 and 68.
We got the train to Buxton from Sowerby Bridge. Very easy to do with Northern Trains as you don’t need to pre book bikes. We took the 40 minute train to Manchester Victoria had about 30 minutes to kill before we got the hour train from Manchester Piccadilly to Buxton.
The Pennine Bridleway starts in Middleton in the Peak District and goes through Calderdale before stopping in Cumbria at Kirby Stephen. We have done most of the route, we have completed Kirby Stephen to Hebden Bridge, We have done the Mary Townley Loop in both directions, so now it was time to take a look at the bottom half. Cycling UK have recently extended to route so now you can cycle all the way to John O Groats. This is called the Great North Trail. You can find details of it here. There is a desire to plan an off road section from Lands End to Middleton, making a full end to end mountain bike route.
We had a couple of drinks before heading back to our hotel for the evening, The Palace Hotel. Although it looks very grand, it was very dated and could do with some investment in the rooms.
In the morning we rode into Buxton to get breakfast and buy a sandwich for our lunch. We then had a bit of ride to the start of our route on A roads which was not great. The noise of cars really, really frustrates me. But once we were on nice B roads I started to relax and enjoy the ride. Where we joined the route we started on some tame tarmac and traditional bridleway. What I mean by traditional is probably what you expect bridleway to look like. There were sections of single track and there was a section that dropped down in to Castleton which was dangerous to ride for us as it was raining and the limestone boulders and rocks were slippy like glass.
Our digs for the night was the Sycamore Inn at Birch Vale. A nice little spot where we got some well earned drinks and food. You can see the route details below:
The next day we went from Birch Vale to a pub near Holmefirth called the Huntsman Inn. It was very nice. Route details below:
Today we did a bit of the Pennie Bridleway as when we looked on the map the Sustrans route 62/68 looked very interesting, very hilly but looked a nice route and we were not disappointed. Lovely B roads, bridleways and cycle ways. One of the cycles we we have ridden a few times, the Longdendale Trail. From there the route went up over the moors but you only had to push a small segment. We had our lunch stop at the end of the trail before we started climbing again. It was a hard ride in the afternoon as the wind had picked up and was blowing head on for the final few miles. The Huntsman Inn was just what was needed at the end of the day, the shower was amazing and it was only my desire for food and wine that made me get out and get dry.
Our final day took us from Holmefirth to home in Sowerby. We mainly followed the Sustrans route and again we were not let down. The riding was again very hilly. But you have got to expect that when you are riding through the Peak District to Calderdale!