Monday, 1 January – Goyt Valley

We’re off!  Well, I am anyway, and you can tell by the date that it is New Year’s Day.  A sharp frost has set in during the night, and the air is crisp and very foggy and there is not a breath of wind.  Starting at 10.45am, I push along to Barton Bridge.  Taking the short cut I was joined by an old chap on a ladies bike, and he immediately started putting down cycling as hard work.  I didn’t blame him with a bike like that, and he wouldn’t listen to my little sermon on unsuitable mounts, so after airing his views on everything he left me.  At East Didsbury I turned left for Heaton Mersey and Stockport, and after making myself known to the latter strange town I travelled on to Hazel Grove.  Now came a wearisome uphill journey of three miles through High Lane and Disley, a good stretch with fine views via Furness Vale and Whaley Bridge, and I was climbing slowly along a heavy-going road.  As I was feeling very peckish, I adjourned for lunch, afterwards feeling much refreshed.

The iron gateway to the Goyt Valley hove in sight, and soon I was coasting down a well tended bridle track to Goyt Bridge.  I couldn’t see anything to shout about in the bridge, to me it seemed like any other stone bridge, besides, I had eyes for other things.  There was an unusual beauty about this valley, perhaps it was the delightful blending of wood and rock, or the tumultuous babbling of the river Goyt with its innumerable cascades, and the many waterfalls that fed it.  But the best was yet to come.  After a fine run along a good (?) road – or path, I came to the end of the valley at the junction of the Buxton – Macclesfield byways.  There were three roads, but one was converted into a rare old stream which boiled and foamed across it.  For a moment I was at a loss as to which was the correct way, but I took one, trusting it was the Macclesfield road.  Happily, I was right.

Now came the best of all in winter.  I climbed upwards for several miles – walking – and  the Goyt which was notably lessening, kept me close company.  Snow appeared, and before long I was crunching through a foot of the whitest.  It was totally unrideable, but what did that matter?  I was climbing over open moorlands, the path rounding one tor after another, and in one place I crossed that famous Roman road, ‘The Street’.  Now I turned the last bend and suddenly the whole scene opened out behind me.  It was perfect.  The rolling moss covered moorland tor’s peeped out, with the uncountable valleys well defined by snow bound ridges, and to the left a round tower became visible behind the main road to Buxton.  All was perfect peace, and I looked back many times, unwilling to miss this rare and precious sight.

Soon I was running on to the main road, by the famous Cat and Fiddle Inn, and my delightful trudge through miles of snow, and on an unrideable road was over, and I was really sorry.  Yet the views were good, and the near seven miles downhill to Macclesfield were excellent.  On to the Stockport road to the bylane to Handforth I sped, then home via Cheadle, Didsbury etc for 7pm.  At Barton I spent 30 minutes mending a puncture.  This run has so impressed me that I have devoted the whole page to it, and now I will become a faithful upholder of the Derbyshire Moorlands.

74 miles, 8 hours