I took my car in for a service and MOT this morning, with my bike on the rack at the back. They hadn’t given me a time slot and so the car was probably going to be with them for most of the day. So I had taken the opportunity to put an impromptu ride on the RSF Website earlier in the week.
Setting off on my bike from the garage in Bredbury, to the east of Stockport. I cycled across the front of the Allied Bakery Factory and took the quiet road steeply down Castle Hill. Carefully looked both ways then check again, to cross straight over Stockport Road at The Arden Arms. Up past the fishery on to the ‘rough stuff’ of Turner Lane. Views through the trees down to the River Tame, steep below you, don’t fall off, to the left ! On down past Arden Bridge and then up by the Mill Dam or do I mean the Dam Mill ! There isn’t a dam there anymore but the mill is, Morrells Wood Finishes. I’d not been this way for quite a while. Through the back of Woodley and onto the Peak Forest tow path heading south. Woodley Tunnel came next (lights are useful here but there is a good hand/guard rail and it is rideable with care, whatever the sign says. Passing Tang and Burymewick (Don’t censor me, that’s what it’s called on the map. Apparently it means ‘bury me alive’ ! Then ‘Over’ Hyde Bank Tunnel, best get a boat to go through it, as this tunnel has no tow path,coming then to the Marple Aqueduct.
Up the flight, to lock 7 where I hung a right over the canal and picked my way through Ley Hey Park, (a nice housing estate) across the single track railway going, only to and from Marple’s Rose Hill Station. Down through the woods behind Marple Hall School, by the side of, and then across the river Goyt onto Vale Road toward Chadkirk Country Estate free car park. Those who know the area or study the map will know that I had done a big loop. Well I would have been far too early to meet Eric Oldham, who drove in from the main road just as I cycled down Vale Road. He gave me a flash ! excellent timing. Eric parked up, put his bike together and now the ride could start, I’d already done over 8 miles.
‘We’ now retraced my route back up Vale Road across the river and back through Ley Hey Park to lock 7. Here we went straight over the canal (using a bridge) and dropped down through Brabyns Park across the fields and over the River Etherow footbridge up the track to come out at Compstall and Etherow Country Park. We sat outside the cafe here and had coffee, Oh and free toast. The lady with her great grandson at the next table had ordered too much by mistake, lucky us. Suitably fortified we continued down the road/track at the side of Etherow Country Park past the ponds to the cross the river just below the weir.
There was obviously a festival on or due to start, lots of tents and camper vans. An Irish Country Festival, it said on the sign. I looked it up later on the Interweb and found it’s called CBTC (Craic By The Creek) I can only hope they all have a good weekend ! As I write this on Saturday 21st July, it’s pouring down and is due to do the same again tomorrow. I think Whitebottom Farm, where it takes place, will have a very ‘Muddy bottom’ by close of play.
We zig and zagged up through Ernocroft Wood (where Eric tells me, every time, well twice at least, that he came a cropper here some years ago) to come out on Glossop Road. We took a left on the road and could just about cycle safely (hedges needed cutting) down the pavement until we could cross and started climbing up Benches, Ernocroft and Sandhills Lane’s until we turned right on to Gun Road. I don’t think I have been on the first three lanes before, maybe I have but going down them instead, the view is different ! The different views opening up as we climbed were wonderful and it wasn’t a clear day. Manchester, Stockport, Alderley Edge, Fiddlers Ferry, Hayfield, New Mills and the Kinder Plateau all visible. On a really clear day the views would be ….. craic-ng.
Along Gun Road we passed the bridleway going up to Robin Hoods Picking Rods and on up to Crown Edge, not for us today though. We continued on passing surprisingly enough, Gun and Pistol Farms. On down Shiloh Road and the brief track of Pole Lane followed by a blast of a descent on Castle Edge Road down into New Mills. Check your brakes first ! Into the Clock Work Cafe in N/mills for lunch.
After lunch we took the main road down over the Torrs, right at the lights and then up onto the Peak Forest tow path this time heading north. A relatively fast and some would say boring, pootle along the tow path, through to Marple over the aqueduct and Hyde Bank tunnel ‘again’ but in the other direction. Just after the tunnel we took the left nip, off the tow path up through Kirk Wood and back down to Chadkirk Chapel, Vale Road and back to Eric’s van, with windows.
Leaving Eric, I took Mill Lane by the Goyt past Thunder and Lightning (Archemidian Screw Hydro Generators) and along the Goyt Way to the new cricket ground by Bredbury Hall Country Club. Here I took the track that is part of the Alan Newton Way (Olympic Cycling Bronze Team Persuit Winner 1952) up into Bredbury, across to Morrisons car park. I stopped briefly here for maintenance. I had developed some ‘back lash’ in my rear brake ? I discovered that the rear centrelock disc was loose ! I managed to tighten it a little but then went, front brake only, very carefully along the pavement, just to the east of the M60 Junction 25 and picked up my car in the industrial estate.
It had passed, I should think so, it’s barely got 20k on the clock. Funny that the manufacturers recommend nearly £200 of extra fluid and gas changes at this age ! Main dealer prices would have be even higher, I am sure. Yes I will may get the brake fluid changed, £55 + vat, a safety item. But empty the AC system and then refill it ? No, it's working just fine.
Just over 30 mile cycled and a productive if mildly expensive day out.