Monday, 23 July 2012

Riding in Memory of my Dad

Yesterday was the 7th anniversary of my Dad's death. His ashes were scattered at Widdop Reservoir - a place he used to cycle to to go climbing up the rocks when he was younger and a place where he used to drag me to over the moors, by foot in all weathers when I was growing up.
In memory of him S & I planned our weekend cycling adventure. I knew it would be a toughy.
Old packhorse trails and bridleways over the exposed moorland for the first half of the route. Thigh muscles pushing up over rocky ground, the wind helping push us up. Finally after 7 gruelling miles, a fast, amazing downhill to the reservoir.

Looking back down the track already ridden. Still a long way ahead


Fun downhill!!! S zooming off, fearless


The next bridleway took us up the other side of the valley skirting the top of my favourite National Trust area, Hardcaslte Craggs. Another lovely downhill took us to a beer stop and the pub in the woods, The Blue Pig. I've walked past here loads in the last few years & never seen it open, so was happily surprised to get a drink there. I'd heard that the welcome could be something akin to League of Gentlemen... not far off. But it was a bargain and we got to sup our drinks in the beautiful sunshine.


note to self, Hawaiian shirt is not flattering

Straight down an almost verticle hill into lovely Hebden Bridge. We had a quick nosey in the town in some shops in the centre and a curious building on the canal where bicycles get recycled, you can buy jewellery made from old coins or buy a handmade besum.

The 4 miles along the Rochdale Canal were thankfully passable. This area has suffered badly from floods over the last month and there was still evidence to be seen. Stretches of the canal bank were still cordoned off where the waters had destabilised the edges, some places were lined with sandbags and the cobbled overflow on the tow path were like cycling through little rivers.

We parked the bikes up in Todmorden and got tea at Hanuman Thai. Bargain food. The cocktail menu looked amazing, but I reisited - we were only 2/3rds into the ride and I didn't fancy being sozzled riding on the main road.  However, I did have a really good beer called 400 pound monkey with my food. Will be looking out for that one in the shops :-)

Then The Killer Hill. I hadnt quite expected it to be as killer as it was. 690feet of ascent in a little under 2 miles from the very bottom of the valley to the top. Calderdale Hills are probably the hardest hills in the world!

looking straight across the valley

up up up...  Stoodley Pike in the background

up up up... When you think the worst it over...

this has to be the last hill right?  (this bit was considerably easier than the first part)

me trying to make light of the hill.  I was somewhat afraid S was about to dump me there and then for dragging him up here.

What a view and where the road drops off... you can imagine how good the descent was!!

After this a mere 6.5 miles of a steady incline back to base.

29 miles door to door,  2225feet of ascent and the same amount of descent.
Here's the route starting and finishing at Todmorden Train station (but it's a loop so any start points good - Towneley Park or Hebden Bridge) for those of you fancying a challenge!


  1. Hello Georgie, just found your blog and really enjoyed reading it. You would find my part of the world (South Cheshire) very flat! Please have a look at my blog A Bikeride a Day at Thanks
    Nathan Townshend

    1. Thanks Nathan. I like cycling on flatter terrain too! I'm not a total glutten for hill punishment. I've had some lovely rides down in Cheshire and hope to be doing the Manchester 100 round the county in September.

  2. Hi Georgie,

    Some nice photos on your blog and have now bookmark it! Its also good to come cross fellow RSF member blog and I will add link to it from South Lakes Group website at Do think about turning some of your posts into articles for Rough-Stuff Journal. I hope to see you on South Lakes Group ride in the near future.

    with regards

    1. Hello fellow Orm :-)
      Your pictures are great too and your rides look brilliant fun. You're quite a way out from where I am, but someday I'll get up there to join you on one of your treks out.

      I keep meaning to do an article or two for the journal. I keep thinking of doing something from fresh, but it would probably easier just tweaking one of my blog posts (sometimes the most obvious answers are right infront of you, it just takes a fresh set of eyes to point it out - so thank you).

      Take care & hope to meet you soon

  3. Hi
    Just found yerBlog via Simeon's Where's the Cafe EMail. Just a word of appreciation really, nice read, keep it up!
    I don't manage many RSF rides due to other committments (mainly son's bike racing at present - 4 days per week) and having crossed to the wrong side of the tracks (road riding on skinny tyres I'm afraid) but the Rough haunts.
    Anyhow, great Blog! Keep going.
    Arthur F

  4. Hi Arthur,
    Thanks for your compliments on my blog - always nice to hear :-)
    I sometimes go to the other side too - I do have a road bike (an old 60s beaut), but I prefer rides with a mix of rough & smooth so usually use my hybrid. Plus there's no way that Stephen could keep up with me on his mtb if I'm on my mixte!! And he struggles keeping up now haha,
    Sounds like your son's a serious competitor, good luck to him. All the best, George