Tuesday, 28 October 2014

One day one photo - 28

Tuesday 7th October

I must admit, being in Cheshire I feel quite spoiled for choice when it comes to places to ride my bike. From Macclesfield you are right on the edge of the Peak District. It's just a case of me riding down a few streets and then I am on the Cat and Fiddle Climb, which then takes me in to Buxton and all the Peak District.

Even before the Peak District there is Macclesfield Forest, where there are quiet country lanes and hills to climb which are just as challenging as anything in the Peak District.

If you're really not feeling up to doing hills then you can head west, and amble along through the Cheshire plain, taking in villages around Chelford, Alderley Edge, Holmes Chapel and Joddrell Bank. The roads are still fairly quiet and the landscape is just as pretty.

On this particular day I took my bike on a loop over Cat and Fiddle, up Long Hill and then down into the Goyt Valley. If you get the chance to go there it's beautiful. Even if you don't have a bicycle, walking around there is great - and you certainly see lots of folks around there.

My itinerary was on a bike though, which meant that I covered quite a lot of ground in a short space of time and had loads to look at - especially when I was grinding uphill for what seemed like forever! The road from Long Hill down into the Goyt, Goyt Lane is a massively steep, fast descent. Watch out for oncoming traffic and troops of Duke of Edinburgh kids tramping up the road!

On this descent, you get a lovely view of the Goyt Valley with the Erwood Reservoir and the woodland below. (Just like in the photo.) I loved this view.

If you turn left at the end of the road you've got a lovely amble through the valley and the road is just a false flat that climbs very gradually back up to the Cat and Fiddle. If you turn right, which is what I did, you've got a hard 1.5-mile slog back up to the car park at Pym's Chair.

It is a hard slog, and don't feel ashamed to get off and walk. I almost did! The gradient was probably around 20-25% in places and I felt very self conscious riding among walkers who appeared to be travelling quicker on me as they went up on foot! At least people gave me encouragement. Then from Pym's Chair, which is a kind of meeting of the streams of cyclists and walkers from all the different directions, there is then a fast descent and another climb at Jenkin Chapel. Not wanting to go and ride among the motorbikers on Cat and Fiddle (or tackle another horrible climb at Lamaload Reservoir) I took the only slightly less challenging climb back to Rainow.

It was only once I reached the main road through Rainow that I was able to cruise comfortably back in to Macclesfield. It had been a very pleasant ride - especially as the sun was out, making the place look even more beautiful than usual. I look forward to doing this route a few more times, and hopefully not going embarrassingly slowly up the hills!

And that's it for the "One day one photo" series for this year. I hope you enjoyed it!

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