Monday 19 October 2020

Photo of the day - 19: Short bike ride along High Peak Trail


As this was my final day in Matlock before returning to London I thought I would have an "easy" day riding along a rail trail. The nearest one to me was the High Peak Trail, which can be joined in the nearby village of Cromford. So I rode three or four miles along the A6 to Cromford where I could pick up the trail. It wasn't that easy to find, and I did a few a couple of unnecessary detours. But eventually I found a back lane which rose up quite steeply to get me onto the trail at Black Rocks. I guess they don't call it "high" peak for nothing! The trail is very pretty, though I found it tough-going at times, especially in the initial part where the trail dragged uphill to Black Rock. It then dropped down, only for me to start climbing again to reach Middleton Top. This trail also doubles as the Pennine Bridleway, a long-distance off-road path with different sections I have ridden in various parts of the Peak District. The path also goes through Yorkshire, and is quite challenging. This may explain why the High Peak Trail felt like harder work compared with the nearby Tissington Trail which I rode a few years ago. It was possible to continue along this trail to Parsley Hay, where I could join Tissington trail and do a big circuit to get back to Cromford and Matlock. However, being stuck for time I left the High Peak Trail and navigated my way along various un-named bridleways to head towards Grangemill Farm, then back to Matlock via Brightgate. This was a fun route, though at one point I made a wrong turn and ended up on the edge of an industrial quarry - which would have been interesting if I had fallen on track! In the end, this "shortened" route still had a riding time of over two hours, and with extra time added on for map-reading and getting lost the total outing was almost three hours! It had been a good day's off-road riding. Now I know why so many people rave about off-road riding in the Peak District. There is so much choice. Also, there's a chance I will be back here again soon as I have signed up for a cyclocross race in Matlock, which will take place very close to Grangemill. At least I will know what to expect.

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