Although the snow and ice from the previous week had cleared, a dozen of us met on a cold, windy morning at Ball Grove Park for Deborah & Simon's ride. The cafe was still closed from its Christmas break, so Deb & simon brought all the mugs from their cupboards, lit up the trangia and brewed up for everyone. Deb had also baked some flapjack & cake for us.
Simon started the lead out of the park towards the top of Colne and on to Carry Lane. Everyone then realised just how much chill the wind was bringing with it. But the bottom of Carry Lane and the top of it are at quite different elevations and we started the climb with just one mishap with some wheels interlocking - at least we were going so slow the fall was ok.
We then followed the old tram tracks that lead towards Dark Lane and the climb to Beaver Farm and the Pennine Bridleway. The wind behind us, but not helping much - the track has so many ruts, muddy pudles & boulders that you need more nerve than many of us showed to ride the lot of it. I tried a sneaky cut across the tops where I'd noticed some quad wheel tracks last time I was up - it was rideable apart from the last steep descent to the bridge. The bridge offered some welcome shelter from the wind whilst we regrouped. Then on to the delightful descent to Wycoller which is always a treat as you follow the riverside path to the hall ruins.
From here it was a short tarmac ride to the lunchstop at The Rock where everyone was glad to warm up.
After lunch the group depleted but a smaller group were treated to a ride up to a farm that had agreed to let us take our bikes through although it's a footpath. The lane leading to it was lovely with the flank of Boulsworth infront of us. We finished the ride up a deadend farm track to enjoy some extra climbing. A terrifying pug barked us all away from the last farm.
We split again with some taking a final tea & cake stop with the last of us heading back to the car park.
I was grateful for a lift part way home from Sol - it saved me a couple of uphill miles into a hefty cold wind.
Thanks to Deborah & Simon for organising a lovely ride.