Day one Peak District bikepacking trip.
This is a route that I've used a few times now to get into the Peak District avoiding busy road's. I started in Stoke and got on the Cauldon canal and followed it to where it terminates at Froghall Wharf. The Churnet Valley is deep, and the road climbs are killer at 16% with ramps of 25% and even have gravel pits at the side for anyone coming down and finding out their vehicle has dodgy brakes. I normally go up one of these roads but this time I stumbled on on a great cheeky trail that was a more gentle climb out of the Churnet. I don't know why this is only a designated footpath as it looked like an old road and even had a couple of small stone bridges over it at the top. Judging by all the tyre tracks it's well used by the locals. After checking the map it's a small old dissused train track to the quarry at Cauldon Low. Once you gain the hight it's a fairly short gradual downhill to the Manifold valley rail trail. The Manifold Valley may seem flat but riding a loaded mtb you feel every rise and I'm sure it's a gradual climb all the way to Hulme End. From here I was heading through Hartington to join the Tissington trail for a short way to where it joins the High Peak trail /Pennine Bridleway . I was now going to be following the Peak District ITT route which is a 200km ultra endurance mtb route that has been set down for anyone to attempt to put down a fastest time using the self supported ethos of bikepacking races like the Tour Divide in the US, if you can do a sub 24 hr then you're hardcore. If you want to find out more about the route and download a gpx go to Self Supported UK. I'm not in the Ultra league so I was just using the route loosely to provide the basis for something a bit more sedate. Once on the the Peak ITT route I was heading to my planned wildcamp for the night somewhere in Long Dale. I had been this way before and knew it was a good place to wildcamp as long as you didn't get in the way of the grazing cattle. My original spot was a bit too close to the said cattle so I moved down into the dale bottom and pitched in the shelter of a wall and over hanging trees, only to look up to where I was going to pitch to see that the cattle had moved in to exactly where I was going to pitch. I had about 20mins daylight left to pitch the tent and sort my crap out. Job done. I took a gamble with my sleep setup and didn't take a sleeping bag as it's the main thing in my kit I'm not happy with at the moment and need to get sorted. The bag I've got is synthetic and a bit heavy & bulky, so I dropped it and took a thermal sleeping bag liner, thermal sheet and wore a down gillet but it was suprisingly cold being how hot it had been during the day. I spoke to other campers who said the same and spoke of there almost being a frost on Sunday night! So I have got to get a decent lightweight sleeping bag/duvet. All in all this a great way in/out of the Peak District if travelling from Stoke. In less than 4hrs you're in the heart of the Peak District and have spent less than an hour of that on the road. The flat nature of the route easys your body into it too because once you're in the Peak District the going is going to get a lot rougher starting from the get go on day two.
The Over 40 Cyclist
Visit http://www.over40cyclist.com/, a website offering the webs best free newsletter for the (slightly) older road cycling enthusiast or want to be. Are you a little older? Are you looking for a new activity that combines exercise, fun and social aspects? If so then road cycling may well be what you're looking for. That's why so many older people are getting into road cycling.
Winter 2013 expected to be worst since 1947 with heavy and persistent sn...
LONG-RANGE weather forecasters have warned that Britain should prepare for heavy and persistent snow for up to THREE MONTHS with winter 2013