There were a good few days over the end of last week, so on Saturday I took advantage of the early summer conditions ad took a ride into the Peak District and Staffordshire Moorlands, calling in some familiar haunts I often return to every spring.
I set out just after dawn, riding up over Chasewater in a gorgeous golden mist with the remnants of a ground frost evident; from there I went up to London, Handsacre, Abbots Bromley, Uttoxeter, Rocester and Dentone. Up to Ellastone and over the Weaver Hills, down into the Manifold Valley to to the trail there for the full length through Wetton to Hulme End. Over to Harrington and Moneyash, I came back to Warslow, then up onto Morridge, swinging around by Royal Cottage and the haunting, evocative Mermaid Pool that Lichfield Lore wrote about, Goldsitch Moss and Algreave to skirt the Roaches. From there, through the lovely villages and hamlets of Wincle, Danebridge, Bearda and Rushton Spencer to Congleton, where I got the train back to Lichfield.
I built up my leisure riding distances to the end of last year and hope to push them further on this season, and this was a great opportunity. It’s been eight years since I last rode the Manifold Valley Trail and I must say, it needs some love; the surface, although asphalted is very poor an the toilets at Hulme End were awful.
Highlights though came with setting out in a gorgeous frost-dappled dawn, breakfast at Denstone and seeing the remarkable tree trunk carving of wildlife there; The magic of the Weavers and desolate, gorgeous moors, also the lonely beauty of Mermaid Pool.
I never tire of Staffordshire and Derbyshire.The variety of the landscape, from bleak and wind-blasted to soft and green is stunning.
One surprise was very nearly getting caught out by the Northern Trains strike, which took me totally by surprise!
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.