A silly, personal pilgrimage


Those red cowslips fascinate me, and have done for years.

Well, summer is beginning now, and that means often the blog will be a bit behind at weekends as I go cycling and get back into long distance rides again – this weekend I began with an early train journey to Congleton, where I commenced a 100 mile plus ride around The Roaches and Staffordshire Moorlands, before returning home via the Weaver Hills, Ashbourne and Tutbury.

It was a beautiful day and a great ride and despite mechanical issues and a pothole that cost me a few lost hours and a new rear wheel,  I realised what I’d been missing.

I went from Congleton, climbed to the top of The Cloud, near Timbersbrook, which is hard work but gives great views over Cheshire, Staffordshire  and the Peak District, including the wonderful Jodrel Bank. Then to Rushton Spencer, onwards to Dane Bridge, Wincle and the north Roaches. Here I called at the highest village in England, Flash. From there, back to Gradbach where I was sad to see Tisha’s Teas – mentioned in one of the earliest posts on the blog – seems to have closed.


It takes about 45 minutes to push the bike up The Cloud – but it’s well worth it.

From Gradbach, over through Royal Cottage to Morridge, at 482m, the highest point on the ride. Down from Morridge to Waterhouses, past the huge cement works at Cauldon Low to Calton and the Weaver Hills. Mechanical issues necessitated a call at Halfords in Ashbourne, then back home via Ednaston, Hatton, Tutbury, Barton and Lichfield. I had a great time despite the troubled steed, I manage 108 miles.

Some of the things I noted were the alpaca with remarkable teeth, the poor shot of a hare was one of a pair, scrapping in the road just outside Flash, and a rare sight indeed. The red cowslips are, I think, a genetic aberration and I try to visit them every year. Like Tisha’s Teas, they have been mentioned several times here and are like a silly, personal spring pilgrimage. But I love them so.

So please excuse the lack of updates this weekend, I was out on my bike.

For more of this sort of thing, the 365daysofbiking journal is still running. This post was mainly for Trev in Oz, who I know loves the cycling travelogues.

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9 Responses to A silly, personal pilgrimage

  1. Fabulous photos of the local scenery that you visited Bob. You have nothing to apologise for, you need to take time out for yourself. You give loads of enjoyment to many people with your blogs and waiting a few hours for updates won’t hurt anybody.

  2. Brian Ansell says:

    What a stupendous ride it must have been. I certainly would have joined you if I had been in your neck of the woods. This part of England is most favoured by me which I am sure is due to our school trips to Dovedale in the late fifties and early sixties. When living in Shelfield before emigrating to Canada there was many an evening that both my wife and I would take on our motorcycle. It was never a planned excursion but just on a whim after a days hard work. Matlock, Ashbourne and Tutbury with a stop for a cuppa beside the river Dove. You definitely open our eyes and our hearts when showing us all your most wonderful pictures. Just as a side note; what camera and lens do you use as the definition is superb and to finish, I think it a good thing if you could possibly show the bicycle that you use on these journeys. Kindest Regards.

  3. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    Totally beautiful photos..can almost hear a curlew calling!
    MAny thanks for taking the time and effort to do this.
    greatly appreciated
    Kind regards

  4. Victoria Owens says:

    Nothing silly about a personal pilgrimage, Bob – it sounds a great idea. Thanks for such a super piece, and the pictures are a delight (special thought for the big furry cat on the wall!)

  5. Trevor says:

    Wow Bob thanks for your story and fantastic photos, The countryside looks so nice and interesting, you can’t beat North Staffs and Derbyshire in spring and Summer, Sorry to admit Bob but I have had to purchase a pedal assist to continue riding myself but my problem hasn’t beat me yet, Thanks Mate

  6. stuart cowley says:

    Evening chap,
    A stunning set of pics,you’ve inspired me to take a drive there sometime.


  7. Pedro says:

    I first came into contact with our Bob through the Photo site Panoramio, just before he started the Blog. I think I can safely say that the Blog has been a great success, and loved by many.

    The thing that has intrigued me, and I also think for Bob, is that we must have stood in the same spot to take numerous pictures. At one time it was difficult to see who was following who.

    Now I definitely know he is following me!

    Here is a photo I took in September of 1999 on the second leg of the Staffordshire Way


    “There are magnificent views from the Cloud (343m) extending from the Cheshire Plain to Shropshire and the Welsh hills, also to Merseyside and the Peak District. Jodrell Bank, Congleton Viaduct, and the Bosley and Rudyard Reservoirs can be seen.

  8. Pingback: A brief glimpse of summer | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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