25 Nov 2011

“the picture of Sam Jones in mid-crash tells the story of his broken pride, far better than I can”

This weekend, the group was made up of Sam Bennett, Sam Jones, John Summerton and John Eaton from RAF Coningsby, with Andy Harrison from RAF Scampton. The drive over was concerning to say the least. We forged our way through thick fog which showed no chance of clearing. Parking up in Hope, we set off for the first climb of the day. Passing through Castleton, we climbed up the old A625. This piece of road is famous for scaling the flanks of Mam Tor "The Shivering Mountain" which is prone to landslip especially after periods of heavy rain. The road previously wound its way up the south face of the hill but was in constant need of repair due to landslide damage. This makes for some interesting little obstacles that break up the climb. A steady slog eventually put us off-road onto Rushup Edge where we were afforded superb views into the Edale and Hope Valleys, looking down onto the rolling mist below it reminded me of a massive layer of cotton wool.

We then proceeded to descend down past Lords Seat onto nice ‘techy’ double-track before heading north onto the Mount Famine track. This classic route roller-coasters in-and-out of cloughs which have suffered from varying degrees of erosion from 4x4 vehicles and motor-cross bikes. This makes for a better ride, placing challenges in the way both on climbs and descents. The steep grassy drop slithered its way down to the foot of Coldwell Clough. A long steep climb, initially on tarmac then led to a technical rocky ascent all the way to Edale Cross. We took a breather here, again taking in the amazing view into Edale valley, still lined with a fluffy white bank of mist.

We battled our way against the flow of ramblers walking up Jacobs Ladder where we bounced a way through drainage bars that threatened us with snake-bite punctures. After a regroup at the foot of Jacobs Ladder, we rolled along the Pennine Way towards Edale. The long road slog back up to the top of Mam Tor gave us a sweet piece of single-track that led us to Hollins Cross. Here we dropped again, taking the opportunity to session a drop-off. It was all going well until John got his camera out. The picture of Sam Jones in mid-crash tells the story of his broken pride, far better than I can. A bonus climb put us back onto Mam Tor, where we then dropped down Windy Knoll, past Rowter Farm over the Limestone Way. It was then a very fast and loose drop on Dirtlow Rake before popping into Pindale. This particular gorge has an interesting mix of rocks, the size of babies’ heads – just the right size for putting you over the bars.

Finishing in a disused quarry, John had an opportunity to take part in his other favorite pastime of photographing abandoned shoes – don’t ask!

A great days riding with another new face - Cheers all.