A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Over the top

Posted by Alan on May 2, 2011

Looking towards Manchester from Blackstone Edge

Looking towards Manchester

I spent the short week away from work in Manchester notching up some more cycle miles before c2c. On Tuesday, possibly the worst day weather-wise, I chose to go ‘over the top’, passing over Blackstone Edge into Yorkshire and down Cragg Vale. For me it was a really slow ascent into to the wind on the moors. The grey weather doesn’t help it look any less bleak, though it can be nice on a sunny day, honest.

Looking towards Yorkshire

Looking towards Yorkshire

From Blackstone Edge, the road down through Cragg Vale is the longest continuous gradient in England. It wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped having battled to the top the ‘short’ way, the wind rustling up the valley meant I couldn’t freewheel down the hill into Mytholmroyd. Sad times. But I am already planning the reverse climb!

At the bottom

At the bottom

From here the target was Sowerby Bridge to meet Mr C for a ride down the canal towards Manchester. Rather than take the canal towards Sowerby I picked up Sustrans ‘Route 66’. It doesn’t have the romance of the US road, but is probably one of the better ‘new build’ (i.e. not ex-railway) Sustrans paths I’ve used. Fairly direct with a minimum of fuss, I can’t remember any ‘kissing gates’ or major obstacles which is nice for a change.



The weather had deteriorated rather by the edge of Sowerby Bridge so I called into the first pub I saw that looked interesting once I knew I was close. The Puzzle Hall In – a strange building and interesting pub. Apparently a Tim Taylor’s house, hoping for some of the Taylor’s beer that doesn’t reach London I found only *6* local guest beers. What a shame! (not). I also met an Italian heavy metal band which was nice though I never asked for their band name, probably should have…they had a CD too. Oh well.

The Puzzle Hall Inn

The Puzzle Hall Inn

Apparently the Works just up the road into Sowerby Bridge is also excellent so somewhere I will make a note of for next time! The trip back along the canal was much easier…


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