Friday, February 17, 2006

High Peak Trail

Although old railway tracks would not be my first ride choice, I love Derbyshire so when I heard we were meeting up with a friend in Hartington over half-term I thought I would give the High Peak Trail a try while the rest of the family did the local towns.
So me and the 5-spot were dropped off in Cromford. I did consider riding up the road to Middleton Top, but suspected the railway took a less steep approach, so I headed off down the valley to the start of the trail.
Farqui had warned me that the climb was hard, it did seem endless, but I made it and what a relief to spin along on the level! What he did not tell me was that there was a second climb of similar proportions! This part of the trail was damp so I was glad to have knobblies on. I remember before buying the Turner worrying about its climbing ability with all that travel, but it just gets on with the job.
The climb continued, but at a much more gentle rate and, unlike many of these railway trails, there are twist and turns to add interest. The views were always interesting, many beautiful and open, but also quite a bit of industry in the shape of Quarries.
This trail is about 17 miles long and is now part of the Pennine Bridleway, so you could keep going for quite a way!
Although my eventual destination was Hartington, I had plenty of time and carried on towards the end at Parsley Hay - a sign for refreshments ahead was very welcome at this stage, but proved to be a cruel deceipt as the café was still being built.
Turning to head South I found that a tail wind had been blowing me along and now despite the level trail, it was like doing a serious climb again.
The High Peak Trail Joins the Tissington Trail which starts from Ashbourne and I took this fork for a couple of miles before heading off to Hartington Village and the very posh YHA there - a welcome rest, good company, some home cooked food and local beer, what a perfect end to a ride! Only downside was that the 5-spot had developed a seamingly uncureable ghost shift as I did some of the final road climbs despite new cables, cassette and chain before the ride. More tinkering to be done, advice and offers of help have been plentiful, thanks!

I would recommend this trail, probably at its best in the summer, but fine in good weather all year round. For a family ride you would be best to start from the car park at Middleton Top. There is plenty of riding around this area with the Tissington Trail and Manifold Valley nearby, you can also find some more adventurous riding - by chance my copy of White Peak Mountain Biking arrived before I left and descibes a good variety of off road routes in the area - best to buy the CD version so you can print the maps.
More Picture Here


Farqui said...

Looks like you had good weather, esp considering the time of year.

Oops, yeah I remember that 2nd climb now - quite a good'un too ;-)

I'm sorry that your drivetrain is misbehaving, it really ruins my rides when I've had 'em.

Farqui said...

Beautiful views too.

Rob said...

Nice blogging Geoffster.