Friday, August 22, 2008

Things I Learnt Last Weekend

  • Printed out Google maps are not really adequate for locating campsites down Peak's country lanes at 12:30 in the morning

  • You can, however, find sneaky spots in the Peak's National Park for doing some wild-camping, if needs must

  • The Goldeneye Map of the Peak District is great for suggesting cycle routes, but you have to be very careful when navigating as the level of detail is a bit lacking (I took at least three wrong turns thanks to the map)

  • If you are going to put your bike in guard's van on a East Midlands train (which has nothing for you to attach it to) don't then sit in the carriage next to it, otherwise you will hear your bike smashing to the floor, the first time the train rounds a bend

  • The Peak District is hugely pretty

Actually I already knew that last one, I'd just forgotten.

So as you can probably tell from the above, the trip turned out to be "eventful". In particular the whole finding-the-campsite/wildcamping incident meant I didn't get to sleep till 1:30-2am (and was then up again at 5:30am taking my tent down, before anyone official found me). This all lead to me being knackered on the Saturday morning and downgrading my cycling plan from the route mentioned here to this one. It was still 50 miles and about as hilly as I was capable of on the day. In particular Winnat's Pass (which has a 20% gradient) utterly defeated me at the end of the day, but was still an impressive geological feature. Coming down the other side towards Edale was lovely though (always enjoyable flying down a hill while others plod up with gritted teeth. On heavy mountain bikes). Other highlights included the Broken Road, the shady, forested hill around Cressbrook and the long, open descent from Wormhill.

The North Lees Campsite (when I finally got there at 6:30 on the Saturday morning) was nice. Just a shower/toilet block and drying room by way of facilities, but pleasant, wooded surroundings and a good, secluded location. Note - if you're walking/pushing a bike to the site, it's *far* quicker to take the footpaths up from Hathersage village centre, rather than walk on the road.

Unfortunately I didn't manage to wangle a diversion to Arbor Low, but did discover Night Watchman beer

Definitely could do with some more hill practice, so off to Leith Hill again, this weekend I think.

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