Hardest day of cycling ever. Sun really kicked in today, and lots of unrelenting hills, just the right side of too steep so I could cycle up them. I was also knackered from the last 5 days as well.
Headed off from the New Delight Inn early. A little footpath meant I didn’t have to cycle over any hills, but just coasted down. As I had no breakfast I headed straight in to Hebden Bridge and picked it up from the Co-op. Toasted cheese sandwich and some pastries. Nice. Then onto the canal tow path ’til Sowerby Bridge. I’m not sure which the official route doesn’t follow the canal but heads off through lanes. It’s easy to ride and nice and flat. Sowerby Bridge has a nice kick in the teeth though, one right turn and I was presented with a cliff. Pushing the bike up probably the steepest hill of the day in the boiling sunshine was not fun. Then a nice ride through some country lanes and under the M62. I’m guessing an old road that got cut in half by the motorway meant there was basically no traffic though. Final little climb and a long decent into Slaithwaite (Slew-It I was informed is the correct pronunciation) where I just had to stop. Big piece of cake and a coffee set me up for the next bit.
The next bit was 2 climbs and 2 descents into first Meltham, then Holmfirth. Both climbs hard enough to be knackering but not steep enough to require walking. I’m not sure if that made them easier or worse. I blame the heat and my tiredness, but then I took a wrong turn. Pushing the bike up the hill out of Holmfirth and I missed my right turning. I’d gone too far when I noticed and didn’t want to turn back down the hill I’d just spent ages climbing up, so I consulted the map. Looked like the next turn would bring me back to the route I want. Looked good so went along. The first sign this was not going to be an easy route was actually a sign “Don’t follow Sat-Nav. Not suitable for cars or Taxis”. I think they should have put road bikes on the end of that as well. Nice sandy/rocky lane. Enjoyable walk though.
Finally got to the top and over the Winscar dam. It was boiling hot and after the nice people at the sailing club there allowed me to refill my water bottles I decided to find a nice bit of shade and hole up for half an hour. Then final part of the climb and onto a downhill part of the A628. Not a pretty road, but as I was going down it not much bother. Would hate to do this bit the other way though as the off road alternative is a rock garden.
Anyway, onto a shared section with the Trans Pennine Trail. Little bit of off road trail. Rather nice ride down into Hadfield. Even had a slight rain shower to cool me down. As is inevitable though the route went up afterwards. Back up to the tops of the hills heading to New Mills. Quiet lanes and beautiful countryside. Then a quick drop down to New Mills and onto another canal footpath. Again for some reason the official route doesn’t use this but it’s tarmac’d and quiet. Was rather lovely. You also get to ride through Bugsworth Basin which is slowly being restored. Its a fascinating bit of canal and worth going through if you can.
Final ride over to my stop that evening at Combs Valley Campsite. This cost me an astronomical 12 quid to stay at, but the brand new toilet block made up for it 😉