Sunday, 22 November 2009


Long wet, cold, muddy, misty ride around the usual haunts, Winter Hill, Walker Fold, Coal Pits, Winter Hill again, Ice Cream Run, Yarrow, Healey Nab and back to Lever Park. Riders, Richard, Dave, Rob and Phil. Missed Dean today, not so well this week, hope he back soon.

Very wet and muddy, slippy everywhere today, also did I say cold, 6.5 degrees, just like winter!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

North Face Trail

The weather started out very bad when we arrived at the car park, heavy rain and low visibility. After the usual faff of getting ready it was a little better. As usual now Phil shot off and left us, but we picked up another ride, Bob from Tynemouth and he stayed with us for the rest of the ride.

The trail was great, better than I had remembered it in April, though every hollow was filled with muddy water, and there are lots of hollows, so very wet today.

Had some fun on the boardwalks, they were actually treacherous, there is no wire mesh on the boards, just slippy wet wood....

A great day and good ride, not to long, but in the wet long enough.

Had a try at a short video, see it here

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Saturday started off better than I thought with the weather, so although I wasn’t planning a ride, I couldn’t resist the sunshine.
Up from Scout Road to Walker Fold, then took the left hand option uphill, it’s a really technical climb, we only ever came it once before, so first time up. Then up to the mast and down to Two Lads, had a look at “Hole Bottom” on the way, you can see the old brick kilns , or rather where they were, I don’t think many people know where this is and what it was a long time ago. You can fid out a lot more about Winter Hill HERE.
Then down to Georges Lane, from Two lads. Came down the Ice Cream Run at the fastest speed yet, normally ride very slowly and normally fall off, but faster seems better, my GPS said approximately average speed of 10 miles an hour, which if you know the ICR, is not bad.
Back via Lower Barn, full of riders and other day trippers, easy ride home again
21 miles in good weather and warm temperatures.
Sunday’s ride cancelled due to bad weather.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Night Rides

The first week of winter and managed two night rides, the first on Wednesday, perfect weather, still, moonlit and clear. Very dark in Lever Park in the trees, couldn't see the trails as the leaves covered everywhere. The view from the Pike was awesome, stayed there a while, 4 other riders had the same idea, it was like a normal Sunday.

Tried to take some photos of the moon and lights reflecting on the still water, but phone camera not good enough for that.

Friday evening ride not so good weather, very windy on Winter Hill, but still good.

Quite happy with the Cateye front light.

Sunday, 18 October 2009


Long ride today around Rivington, Healey Nab and all the usual places. Met very early at the Jolly Crofters, weather was cold and dull, in fact it lasted all day and never seemed to warm up, in fact it got colder as the day went on. Met quite a few other riders including one gut on a Marin Wolfridge, brand new bike.

Felt a bit ill towards the end, didn't eat anything during the ride except a packet of crisps and a gel sachet, felt faint and sick climbing back to Georges lane from the Top Barn. Had to stop in the fishery cafe for sausage and chips before I could carry on.

On the top of Winter Hill came a across a cloud inversion, not sure if it was a ground inversion or an inversion aloft, anyway it doesn't matter.

Miles 35 for me and about 20 for Phil and Dean

Saturday, 17 October 2009


Took the opportunity after a meeting in Kirkcaldy to do the Red again at Glentress on the way home, which is the best man made trail I have done. The weather was superb, autumn sunshine and warm enough. I have visited Glentress four times this year and this was the busiest I have seen it. The builders were resurfacing the access road and it looks like the new visitor centre will be open soon, it looks good and should be a vast improvement over the portacabins that are there now.

Spooky Wood descent is the best downhill section I have ever done and yesterday on the dry trails it was fantastic.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Marin Trail North Wales

Five of us went to North Wales to ride the Marin Trail. I think it was of the first trails built in the UK. It starts straight out of the car par and the start is very promising, twisting ascending singletrack. But very soon it stops at a fireroad, a trend that was repeated many times on the trail.

The riders were Dean, Rob, Dave, Phil and Richard. Phil had decided that he wanted to get value for money and set off to ride the trail twice! So we didn't see him again till he finished.

For the rest of us we continued on and were very surprised at the amount of climbing on the trail, unfortunately the climbs seemed to be all along the fireroads, which made for a very boring time, but we shouldn't be too critical, of course the scenery is fantastic everywhere in the forest, the rocky singletrack sections are brilliant, though if you went over the bars you would know about it!

Its a really tough trail, there does seem to be much more climbing than descending, but I suppose there really can't be. For the four of us once round was enough but for super rider Phil it must have been a major workout.

We finished off at the tea rooms for a snack and a drink, I went to Manchester for the train to London and others had to wait for Phil.............

16 miles (or 32)

Photographs HERE

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Southport Airshow

Managed to combine a bike ride and a trip to the Airshow on Saturday. I drove to Tarleton, found a convenient lay by, parked and then rode to Southport. I found a route along the banks, (this earthwork keeps the water off the farmland) all the way to Marine Drive and then down the cycle track to the show. Its the best way to go the traffic queues were awful, miles and miles. Spent a couple of hours there watching the planes and listening to the excruciatingly bad commentary. took some really bad photos, planes too far away and too small!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Sunday Group Ride

The whole group was back together again for a long local ride, all the usual places. We stated from Georges Lane, up by the quarries, to the mast road, down to Walker Fold, Coal Pit Road, Winter Hill, down the steep end, Leadmines, White Coppice, Healey Nab and back via Rivington and the Pike. A long ride for me, 36 miles, weather absolutely superb, war and sunny. Trails very dry and dusty, makes a change from cleaning the mud off! Riders were me, Dean, Rob, Phil and Dave. We even managed a coffee stop at White Coppice Cricket Ground, where we found the café open!

Lots of people on the pike and even came a group of riders having instruction near the Pigeon Tower.

Photos HERE

Winter Hill Air Crash

I have been reading again “The Devil Casts His Net”, the story of the 1958 Air Crash on Winter Hill. It’s an interesting story of a tragedy that occurred not as a result of a single mistake or action, but a long list of circumstances and mistakes. These were weather, visibility, impatience, bad luck and finally air traffic control and pilot error. 35 were killed that day in February 1958; the plane was on its way from Douglas Isle of Man to Manchester Airport. It hit the highest ground in the region and remains to this day the UK’s worst high level air accident.

I have tried to find evidence on the ground of the exact crash site, but failed to do so, people have said there is a scar on the hillside and even evidence of spilt fuel, but I can’t find it, but it has been a long time. The aircraft hit the north side of the hill a couple of hundred metres from the trig point and near to where the “rocket” shaped antenna is positioned. The photo shows me looking to the direction the aircraft came from, towards Chorley.

Mabie Forest

The Phoenix Trail in Mabie I think is one of the first purpose built trail centres. The Phoenix Trail is 17 km long and traverses the forest; it seems to reach the boundaries and was conceived to have a maximum distance in the space available. From other reports I have seen it doesn’t seem to get an especially good press. It’s basically a ride through the forest on fire roads and single track, nothing spectacular anywhere, no particularly hard climbs and no special downhills, but reasonable distance But the scenery is excellent and if you are in the area worth a visit. It was very quiet when I was there, feels remote somehow. The photo of me was supposed to show me overlooking the loch, but taken too low, so sorry, missed the loch!

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Glentress Black

I was in Edinburgh all day Thursday on business, stayed overnight in Livingston and drove down to Glentess on Friday morning. Last time I was there I did the Red Trail, this time it was to be the Black. The weather had promised to be bad all week, but the overnight rain had cleared and it was just windy. However the trails were very wet with lots of water splashes. As usual the trails are in excellent repair, the Black has a different character to the Red, much more rocky and exposed. The Black is 30 Kms, it took me 3 ½ hours in total with a couple of stops. The climbs are very big, but the trails are so well designed its almost effortless. Some of the downhill are very exposed, a fall from the trail and you wouldn’t stop till the bottom of the valley! I felt a long way from the trailhead when I reached the TV tower, it’s over 600 metres high, Started the return through Deliverance and then Redemption passing through the Ewok Village, minus the boardwalks, they are being replaced. The Black joins the Red towards the end, before arriving back at the trailhead.

A fantastic enjoyable ride, superbly designed trails, may be the best in the UK.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Sunday Group Ride

We met at Wildeswood car park, Dean, Phil, Dave and I. Dean had a plan to ride over to Great Hill and White Coppice. Today was the first outing for Phil's new bike, I know he's pleased with it.

The route took up to the Mast Road via Two Lads, then off Winter Hill by the steep end, down to the road and across to the flagged path to Great Hill, weather was warm but very windy. The descent to White Coppice is brilliant, in spite for the wind trying to blow us off course. A short trip up up Healey Nab and back to Horwich.

Really tired today after yesterdays ride, but managed 30 miles all in, some new trails again today and some nice countryside, interesting to see how some parts of the hills are very wet and muddy and a few metres away dry sandy ground.

Mileage so far this year nearly 2,400, already beat last years modest total by 200 miles and its only August! Lets see what it is at the end of the year.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Early Saturday

The weather wes decidedly cool at 7 am when I left home, the sun wasn't quite up, but it promised to be a good day. Usual route to Horwich, then Lever Park, the Pike, Two Lads, Winter Hill and then down Coalpits and home, a nice 30 miles, became relly warm at the end. Trails very wet and slippery. Lots of other riders around this morning.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Sunday Group Ride

Sunday morning and back to normal after all the holidays etc with the usual group, Richard, Dean, Rob, Dave and Phil. We met at Wildeswood Car park.

The route took us by the iron lamp path towards Two Lads, but we cut off or the mast road before getting to Two Lads. We then went along the edge of the ridge towards Scout Road and Walker Fold, along the road and then up towards Coalpits Road. We diverted off the usual ascent to have a look at the lake (actually a reservoir) that used to supply water to the Barrow Bridge Mill. This lake is not well known and is only really visible as its reached. It’s a nice spot and has fantastic views over Bolton and Manchester. From there up Coalpits to the mast and down the cheeky trail to Belmont. Phil took off down the trail and left us all for dead, arriving a full three minutes before the rest of us!

At the bottom of the cheeky trail we met up with some guys who were out testing Scott carbon bikes, all very impressive, they were with Alan’s Bikes of Wigan.

From Belmont we found a path up by the right hand side of the road, which proved to be a bit wet and muddy, also we had to pass a bull which provided some light relief! Then to the top of the pass, along Belmont Road to Georges Lane, a quick trip up to the Pike and then home.

It was great to be back out with the group after a few solitary rides.

Sports Tracker said 25 miles, see the plot HERE

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Yorkshire Dales

Took a drive up to Askrigg which is in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire. The route is a circular route that I chose to start at Askrigg. There was nowhere to park in the village, so a small layby had o suffice, a few hundred meters from the village centre. Normally I don't like to drive to ride somewhere, I like to ride right from the door, but anyway it's a nice drive up the M6 via Sedburgh. The whole of the route is ridable, the first leg included a long climb on a green road, and I mean green, a carpet of grass for the most of the way. There is a long easy decent from the top to Thoralby, really nice, with a few technical sections is Aysgarth Falls . There is a cafe and tea room at the falls in the National Park Centre, which is where I had lunch, the weather was excellent around 20 degrees and sunshine all day. From Aysgarth there is a climb up to Bolton Castle, another tea room there!. The next section back to Askrigg is via green roads and stone tracks, all dry and as I say ridable, not last weeks sortie to the Lakes.

See the Sports Tracker route and a few photographs HERE

Thursday, 6 August 2009

I knew when I set out that it was going to be a tough day, but I didn't know how tough!

I left Staveley around 09.30 on a figure of eight route. My plan took me from the village, up to the top of Garburn Pass, and down to Kentmere. This first part was fine, good riding, steep ascent, but more or less ridable all the way except for a couple of short pushes. The descent into Kentmere is brilliant, steep and rocky all the way down. Stopped for a sandwich and drink half way down the next section from Kentmere to Sadgill was also fine, a bit muddy and an indistinct trail. The next climb took me up by the side of Buckbarrow Crag, the bridleway is very old and seems to have built by placing massive flat stones on edge, so the effect is really bumpy and where it was very steep not possible to ride. So it was a very long push to the top of the next pass, Gatesgath. From there down to Dudderwick, no respite, the next climb was to the top of Nan Bield Pass, a major undertaking for me, coming after what had come earlier, it ended up a very long push and carry to the top, all 3 miles of it. In some places this trail is almost vertical, climbing up great rock steps. At the top is supposed to be the start of 14 miles of “classic singletrack”, I didn't seem to find it, the first section was very steep, and being so far from the car and on my own I took it very carefully, when it levelled out and it was possible to ride, it seemed that every 20 metres there was a deep stone drain, about 600 mm deep and for me impossible to ride over. The last few miles were easy enough, and through beautiful countryside, but was by now too tired to appreciate it.

Back in Staveley I wanted to have a look at the famous Wilf's Cafe, when I got there there was some kind of beer festival going on outside, there were lots of fatties with big bellies hanging out in the sunshine, I just rode past, back to the car and home. Bought a very large cup of tea at Forton, with lots of sugar!

I used my phone with Sports Tracker, unfortunately the battery went flat, but anyway I was quite impressed with the result. You can have a look HERE

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Iron Man

Got up very early, leaving the house at 4.30 to get to the start of the Iron Man Competition at Rivington. The start was 6.00 am, with a 2.4 mile swim, then 112 miles on the bikes and finally a marathon to finish. I think about 1700 took part. At 6.00 am there weren’t very many spectators, a few hundred I suppose. The swimming start was good as it’s a mass start, soon thinned out though, difficult to see much, swimmers too far away.
Rode up to the summit of Belmont Road off road to catch up to the riders as they crested the summit, there were all shapes and sizes and indeed all different ages, there are some over 70’s in the comp. Interesting to see the different bikes, from all carbon to ancient garden shed models!
Watched for a while then got out my stove and pans and cooked my breakfast, it was freezing in the wind at 7.00 am! Rode back along Belmont Road, then to the Pike for a short loop and back home by 10.30.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Ladybower Loop - Again

We tried the Ladybower Loop again today, though in different weather conditions than the last time. Instead of sun and dry trails we had rain and a lot of mud! Just myself and Dean today, parked the car at the Ladybower Visitor Centre and made our way up the trail. Its a great ride no matter what the weather. We had a coffee break at Derwent Visitor Centre before the big forest climb and then decent to the Snake Road. The long downhill into Aston is fantastic, a green path with a few technical bits thrown in. A short stop for a puncture and then back the car, altogether about 18 miles.
Photos show me and Dean crossing the river, which is actually the trail and Dean at the side of Derwent Reservoir.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Sunday 5th July

We arranged to meet later than usual on Sunday, with an idea to ride around Tockholes, though on the way after being caught in a thunderstorm, we decided to stay local around Rivington. After the usual start and riding down to the mast road, Dean hit a water bar on the trail the wrong way, next second he was over the bars and hit the ground just behind me. These water bars are to be treated with respect they are made from granite sets and don’t seem too dangerous, but they are set at an angle to the trail. Anyway that was the end of the ride for Dean, the bike had damaged bars and Dean had multiple minor injuries, so he retired back to Horwich, at least it was downhill!
For the rest of us it was business as usual, around and about Rivington on the trails, up Coalpits,Road down to Belmont Road over the top, across to Leadmines, on to Anglezarke Reservoir, back to Rivington, up the alternative ICR and over to Wallsuches and then home. 30 miles.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Saturday 4th July

Airport Loop
Very early morning start to do a loop around Manchester Airport, not exactly a full loop as to get there and back I have to use the same Route 55 to Monton and back, but at least a circle around the airport, there is an airport orbital loop signposted. Made use of the Bridgewater Canal towpath till Sale Water Park, then part of the Transpennine Trail. The total route is 54 miles, The canal path from Streford to Sale is being upgraded and should be good when it’s finished.
Still experimenting with my semi-camping breakfasts, this time tried macaroni cheese as you can see, still not 100% satisfactory, will try something else next time,
A good ride in great weather and back home by 11.00 am!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Breakfast at Twa' Lads

Got up very early and rode up to Twa' Lads, (Two Lads) on Winter Hill. Set up my stove and cooked my breakfast, great views and great weather. Back down to Horwich, shower, then in work by 8.00 am!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Healey Nab

Had a good mornings ride around our usual area of Winter Hill, Rivington etc.
We decided to have a look at Healey Nab near Adlington. Healey Nab Mountain Bike skills area is an on-going project so as yet is not fully completed. It is short descent, which involves berms, a lot of roots and rocks and winds down a small wooded area. It was well worth visiting. Retuned back to Horwich via a number of trails through to Adlington and then to Horwich. The weather wasn’t promising, but got better as we went along.

30 Miles, Horwich Section 21 Miles

Photos HERE

Friday, 19 June 2009

Glentress Forest

Spent a great evening riding the Red Trail at Glentress Forest. The weather was windy and a bit rainy, but lots of protection from the trees. The trails are kept in exceptionally good condition, on the lower sections very smooth. The signage is very good. The descent through Spooky Wood is the best ever descent I have done!

19kms, 2 1/2 hours.

Photos: HERE

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Ladybower Loop

Superb ride today from the Ladybower Car Park, did the look anti-clockwise, 3 really great climbs and descents, lots of very technical sections, specially on the climbs. Excellent views and nice weather, quite exposed on places so its not one for bad weather. Lots of riders doing the loop, in both directions. Went alone as we aren’t riding on Sunday. Definitely recommend the ride, much more technical that I thought.
4 hours, about 20-22 miles, lots of up and down!

Photos HERE

Route HERE

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Sunday 31st May 2009

The Manchester – Liverpool Charity Bike Ride was held on Sunday 31st May. We were a team of 9. We were riding to raise money for Wigan Cancer Care Site Suite. We all wore shirts kindly provided by Halbro, thanks Rob!

The riders were:


The route was 39 miles, on what was the hottest day of the year; it was mostly off road, following loosely the Transpennine Trail.

Everybody completed the ride and it was an excellent day out. Altogether there were 1500 riders!

Click HERE for more photos

Friday 29th May

After an 18 hour work day on the Thursday, a day off on Friday! Arranged to meet Mark at his place, from there up to Georges Lane, up between the quarries and then up to the mast road. From there we took the bridleway to Adam Hill and down to Scout Rood. Then up the bridleway to join Coal Pits lane. We diverted to look at the lake on Smithills Moor, a place not often visited, see the photos. It was beautiful day and the lake looked great. From there up to the top of Winter Hill, then Two Lads, down to the Bottom Barn for a break, back along Georges Lane and Home, excellent mornings ride in great weather. Total 27 miles

Monday, 25 May 2009

25th May Bank Holiday Monday

Probably the best day so far this year for temperature and weather, at least in the morning. Just Dean, Phil and me today. Met at the Jolly Crofters for a change. From there up Georges Lane, past the quarry and to the mast road, back down over the top of Walker Fold and Phil’s favourite climb of the day. Coal Pits up to the mast. Two Lads next, where a couple of Stoats (or weasels) were running together just a few metres away from us! Amazing to see them so close and in bright sunshine. Back down to Georges lane and through Wilderswood, which looked great in the sunshine and new growth. From there a few “Phil” loops around the hillside to the west and east of Chorley Old Road, before the finish at the Jolly Crofters, downwind from the burger van!, but just about resisted!

Next week, charity ride from Manchester to Liverpool.... Team Halbro!

Sunday, 17 May 2009


Four in the group toady, Dean, Robert, Phil and me. As a change we went to Tockholes, it was very windy and we hoped the trees would give us some shelter, however we spent most of the trip on the high moorland. There are countless track and trails through the Tockholes area, there is some singletrack, some forest roods, and bridleways. The Witton Wevers Way threads through the area. From the main Belmont to Abbey Village Road we went in a sort of clockwise direction around the route you can on the map, theres quite a bit of climbing, but Darwin Tower is worth it...The view from there is 360 degrees and on a clear day should be superb.. lots of walkers around so its very popular.

Total distance 36 miles, Tockholes section 12 miles.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Sunday 10th May 2009

Another Sunday morning ride around Rivington and Winter Hill. Started out from Halbro up via Wilderswood and from there a series of loops around Winter Hill, the quarry, through the gardens, a lot of up and down and up again. Only 11 miles for the Horwich leg, but a real stretcher just the same, Phil's knowledge of the paths and trails around Winter Hill is legendary!

The reason why the photos are all from the back is because that's where I was all the time!

Riders, Richard, Dean, Dave, Rob and Phil.