A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Posts Tagged ‘Lancashire’

Crap cycling in East Lancashire

Posted by Alan on May 3, 2011

Having tackled the climb and descent into the Calder Valley, in the nicer weather of Thursday I went over another hill into the Irwell Valley. I started by using part of Sustrans (regional) route 92, though Kingsway Business Park, complete with anti-cycling gates.

Anti-cycling gate

Anti-cycling gate at Kingsway Business Park

Not long and I was onto Route 66 again, this time following the Rochdale Canal to skirt around the edges of town before picking up the A680 main road towards Blackburn and tackling the climb to Owd Betts/Ashworth Moor. It’s a longer and shallower climb so I managed it without pushing (unlike Blackstone Edge) though I did have to stop a couple of times, not least because my chain has developed an annoying habit of jumping off when I gear down…

The Windmills of Ashworth Moor

The Windmills of Ashworth Moor

From up here it was down into the Irwell Valley into Rawtenstall where I stopped for a cup of tea before climbing the valley to Bacup and dropping back towards Rochdale. Just north of Whitworth I picked up route 92 again, but only stuck with it for about 1 mile before returning to the road. Too circuitous and far too many obstructions – I think there were 6 kissing gates in 1 mile! For me this is a footpath, not a cycle path – I certainly didn’t get on wheels to stop every few minutes to lift my bike over an obstacle!

The Whitworth cycle track - route 92

The Whitworth cycle track - route 92 at Shore

After another cup of tea and some advice, I went back to route 92. Thankfully on the other side of Whitworth the trail does improve following more closely the ex-railway line over the stunning Healey Dell viaduct and the much less stunning, glass lined, Syke Tunnel. The signs then disappeared for a while whilst I weaved my way through the one-way streets of Hamer back towards the business park.

Access Denied

Access Denied - route 92 is closed

Here I found my earlier route had been a connecting route, with the main route 92 actually blocked through the business park. Shame as from either end it looked like a reasonable (if a little windy) off road route.

Closed

Closed

Notching up a little over 30 miles in one day, including a reasonable hill I’m getting much closer to being confident enough to cycle the c2c in 4 days.  Next challenges are to push the distance out to 40 miles in a day and to start to cycle every day. This will be hard!

Advertisements

Posted in Cycling | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

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.

Permissive

Permissive

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…

Posted in Cycling | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

No swimming

Posted by Alan on January 7, 2011

No swimming

No swimming

Even if you can break the ice…

Posted in Buildings and Places, Photography | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Spring Clean

Posted by Alan on March 28, 2010

Time for a change today – we did a bit of cleaning out the flat. You might notice the theme is different too – I was getting a bit fed up of the narrow layout and wanted to add in a right hand column too…

Back in early March I headed off to Bogle in Manchester, staying with my parents just north of there. This gave me a chance to head off into the hills around the area. Surprisingly there was still snow in places (apparently more due this week!).

Ogden Reservoir, Lancashire

Ogden Reservoir, Lancashire

Ogden Reservoir

Ogden Reservoir

Rochdale

Rochdale - best viewed from afar!

M62

M62, looking westwards above Junction 21

Snow

Look! Some snow

This summer I’m going to make the most of whatever good weather we get.  There’s so much out there to be explored… Full set of pictures is available via flickr.

Posted in Buildings and Places, Photography | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Blackpool Rock

Posted by Alan on October 31, 2009

So, last weekend I also headed out to sunny Blackpool. In fact to start with – it was sunny!

Blackpool Tower

Blackpool Tower

Having taken the train over the hills I could really see the draw back in the days of satanic mills and wakes weeks. I started the in the Calder Valley where all the houses are dark, the light is shaded by the steep sides and the air is always just a bit too moist. Climbing out and into Lancashire the weather did improve as did the terrain – by Blackpool it’s flat, open and relatively light even in the October light.

(I was also recovering slightly from the night before which may have had something to do with it).

South Pier?

South Pier?

Blackpool was still really quite busy during the daytime despite it being out of season. I did see a couple of the ‘notorious’ stag/hen parties out there, mostly from the safety of the tram or the other side of the street though! 🙂

However the weather didn’t hold out for all too long…

The Promenade

The Promenade

Big Wheel

Big Wheel

Just before the lights

Just before the lights

So came the dark. And the lights. This is really why anyone goes to Blackpool in the autumn…

Tower at Night

Tower at Night

This is probably the last real trip out for the Powershot S3 as I’m intending to actually buy that SLR very soon – got a couple in mind so just need to try and buy!

Posted in Culture, Photography | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »