4 ebikers and a “normal” mountain bike set off from Entwistle Reservoir on a cool but pleasant enough day, heading towards Winter Hill and Rivington. The plan was to reach Brinscall chippy by 1.25pm as it stopped cooking at 1.30. Despite the fact that 3 of us had come prepared with butties, the thought of a portion of chips with them was enticing. One of the group wanted his fish and peas.
The ride begins with a brilliant downhill along the Witton Weavers Way, passing Turton Tower, an ancient monument and a grade I listed building 4 miles north of Bolton. It was built in the late Middle Ages as a two-storey stone pele tower which was altered and enlarged mainly in late 16th century. At one point it belonged to the Chetham family, as in the Chetham School of Music in Manchester family.
A short but steep climb up through Turton golf course, dropping down through Egerton and then winding our way up past Dunscar golf course. Although none of us are remotely interested in playing golf, the players on the courses are always friendly and quick to point out they are having a bad day!
Another short but energy-sapping hill took us up to Belmont Road, often taking some time to cross, but at least we don’t have to ride along it. Through the beautiful hamlet of Horrocks Fold and along a series of tracks to Scout Road where we pedal for 200 metres to Coal Pit Lane on the right. A suitably placed bench there meant time for our elevenses.
This tarmacked lane winds gently upwards, becoming a track with a few rocky , short ascents up onto the moors in sight of the Winter Hill mast. Winter hill is infamous for the plane crash in 1958 in bad weather when 35 people died on a flight from the Isle of Man.
Then a fast descent, on the resurfaced service road and unfortunately for some of the more enthusiastic riders, speed bumps have been added along with a metal barrier at the bottom. Past Two Lads cairns, turning right at the bottom onto a track that leads towards Rivington Pike. Not a descent that you would really want to go up, even on an ebike. Continuing downhill round Wilderswood, past Rivington and Blackrod School, towards Liverpool Castle, a replica of Liverpool Castle commissioned by William Lever [Lord Leverhulme] in 1912.
A most pleasant ride along various tracks by Rivington reservoir then up past Yarrow reservoir towards the dreaded Lead Mines Clough [also known as Dead Man’s Clough], a sharp, steep slithery ascent which results in fantastic views at Jepson’s Gate, over Horwich, towards the Welsh hills ……….Just before we came to the dreaded ascent, a group of walkers were looking up and pointing to a bird in the tree. “a Golden Eagle” one lady said, then quickly admitted it to be a joke.
It was a Jay. As one member of the group turned to look up, he lost balance and down he went at the feet of the previously mentioned lady walker, who was quick to comment “he’s fallen for me, oooh that’s made my day”. [Obviously after seeing he wasn’t actually injured]. It was at this point that he realised his jacket pocket was open and his mobile was no longer there. A bag search was made, as we all know how forgetful we can be as to where we put our things, but to no avail. He then looked at the lady and said he’d met her before. Turns out she’s walked up the track by his house and they had chatted! Small world!
The result was we turned back to retrace our 15 mile ride! [This was halfway]. I rang the number several times in case someone heard it or, if they had found the phone, could see the number on it and ring me to say they had found it.
So, no chippy lunch, which was a blow to our member as he had brought no butties. We fed him some bits, and we then had to do the ascent we had screamed down an hour earlier.
After 25 miles my phone rang. Amazingly it was a lady who found the phone whilst dog-walking and saw my number in the notifications. She lived 3 miles further on so it was easy to collect. Lucky man!!
Needless to say a visit to the Strawberry Duck at Entwistle was demanded with drinks on the offending rider!
This route is a brilliant ride [although we didn’t complete it] as there is not really much road riding apart from a few B roads. Well worth giving it a go. The second half of the ride would have returned along the River Goyt, through Brinscall, up to Tockholes and back to Edgworth via Darwen Moor. Still off-road and a fairly tough climb up to the moor if you go the route we often do, Lyon’s Den. There are a couple of easier options if your legs are feeling weary.
I’m doing a check list for our next ride…mobile phone, car keys, pockets all zipped up....... You on the ride know who I’m talking about!!
Gill Corden, Rossendale