Lost on the Moors.

Today I decided to engage in a mountain bike ride which has become a bit of an annual pilgrimage. I ride to a distant and curiously shape hump called the Egg Hillock. It rises from a wild and desolate area of moorland and makes a very testing, longer ride.

The Egg Hillock from my ride last year.

The problem with the route I’ve often taken is that a previously excellent and long moorland downhill has been ruined by gates. They are not to upset riders but to control sheep. I decided to try an alternative but started with an obvious way from home. I put some effort in from the start, partly because my wife, Ali, had thought my talents could be better engaged in the garden rather than such a hedonistic pursuit. This thought affected my whole ride. I didn’t rest and used what I thought was the shortest and quickest choice of trail.

After an undulating road route I reached the hamlet of Rivington after which I’d be off road for a long time. The real climbing starts here as well but I was feeling energetic. I took a steep trail up the Japanese styled gardens which were laid out in Victorian times. The gradient turns down briefly before climbing again up a steep gradient. At the top I carried on for a while before I started to think that my plan would involve a significant descent before climbing back up. There was a gate and vague track leading across some newly planted woodland, heading in a preferable direction, so I took it. This was a big mistake.

The orange lines show my route whilst the blue lines show the routes of all users of the app. Strava. My upper line strayed from any blue lines for half an hour of yomping across tussocks of grass and standing water of unfathomable depth. I started off on rideable ground but when it turned impassable I thought I’d already come too far to turn back. SUrely I’d eventually meet the gated trail? I looked ahead and couldn’t see any signs of civilisation apart from the occasional ancient pit from mineral extraction. I realised that this was all a big mistake and was mightily relieved when, quite unexpectedly, I saw a a trail crossing my path ahead. I knew I’d now spent too much time lost on the moors to complete my mission but had some good trail riding ahead. Once back to a recognisable trail I quite enjoyed the ride.

It had been hard work to carry and drag the bike for much of my half hour ordeal but I tried to speed home in deference to Ali. I covered 16.66 miles with 1,774 feet of ascent which was a good training ride. I was disappointed not to complete my intended adventure and will try to finish it at the weekend. Next time I’ll start off a little slower to try to maintain a more even pace.

2 Comments

  1. crustytuna says:

    Nothing like an unexpected hike a bike to make for an adventure! I am adding yomping to my vocabulary. What a great description.

    Like

    1. kirkmtb says:

      Yomping was a word invented in the Falklands war of 1981. It described trekking over trackless moorland so exactly fits what I did!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s