Sunday, April 6 – Flouch Inn

We were up at 5.30 this morning, but owing to various tasks, it got 7.30 when we started.  A dreary run through industrial Manchester followed, and a drearier run along Hyde road, through Denton and Hyde, a long climb, then a drop into Mottram-in Longdendale.  We then took the road to Tintwistle, and after that industrialism and the setts disappeared.  A heavy mist overhung all, and the usual fine views of the huge reservoirs below us and the moors around us, were obliterated.  Climbing through Crowden, we came to Woodhead, where the railway tunnel so named starts on a long journey beneath the moors.  Just beyond, we stopped in a small quarry for a snack.

The rocks here caused us some serious thinking, as they groaned continuously when we were near.  As we could not come to a satisfactory solution of the matter, we had to leave it at that, and ‘get on with the washing’.  We had hardly started, when, with a loud report, my rear tyre expired, causing a hole in it large enough to walk through!  Unluckily, the cut was near another, and after we had repaired it to the best of our ability, we lived in continuous expectation of the two joining together.  This, however, did not deter us from carrying out the full programme.  As we climbed higher, the mist dispersed, although it never cleared sufficiently to allow us full enjoyment of the fine views around.

We were now on the open moorlands, at a height of 1250 feet.  Reaching the road summit, we proceeded along a mile of level, then commenced a long descent, which terminated at the Flouch Inn.  The Inn was badly motorised, so we took the Sheffield road on the right, shortly coming to Langsett, where the Waggon and Horses made us a good lunch.  An hour later we emerged, and after a couple of miles downhill we joined the narrow, stony road marked ‘Bradfield’.

Immediately we started climbing steeply, then a short, steep, dip, and up again.  On the ‘up’ we watched a number of motorcyclists from Wakefield engaged in a trial.  The road wound over the moors aimlessly, with some wonderful scenery, then a terribly dangerous descent to Ewden Beck, a glorious little valley.  Up again, down again, dropping and climbing over range after range.  The route was very severe, but it was a thousand times worth every inch of it.  Then came the last of the bunch, Strines Moor, and soon we emerged on the crowded Ashopton – Sheffield road, eight miles from Sheffield.  This road runs in a beautiful vale that can almost be described as a pass, so steep and rocky and close are the enclosing hills.

Coming to Ladybower Inn, we turned for Bamford, then turned again into the bylanes around Thornhill and Aston, emerging on a main road near Hope.  Passing through the village, we came to Castleton, the ‘showplace’ of the Peak.  On the way through, we caught a glimpse of Peveril Castle.  Now came a stiff climb past the entrance to Speedwell Caverns, into Winnats Pass.  The pass is wonderful.  Our route, a grass-grown track, far too steep or rough for motors, passes between the great, rocky escarpments, lines of broken precipice and bulging rock intersected with numerous caves giving a grand and awful aspect to the scene.

A special visit to this district, in the future, was decided upon.  Reaching the summit of the pass, 1326 ft, we took another long look at the wondrous scene, then plunged along the hilly road through Perryfoot to Sparrowpit, where Mrs Vernon provided the usual excellent tea.  Whiling away the time chatting to two Manchester DA chaps, it got 7pm when we left.  Now my tyre – which owing to the varied scenery, I had forgotten – was bulging ominously.

Through Chapel-en-le-Frith we sped, lighting up, then off again to Whaley Bridge and down the Buxton road to Disley.  Near High Lane, we turned to Middlewood, then Poynton, and we got mixed up around Bramhall for the fourth time.  At last we reached Cheadle, then Kingsway at 10pm, where I left Tom.  At Stretford the two cuts joined forces.  By Barton the tyre was lashing the forks, but I still kept on through Worsley, until at Little Hulton I caught the tube coming out.  I deflated the tyre, and walked the rest of the way – three miles – arriving home at 12.10.  Thus ended a glorious day, one of the best runs I have had.  But they seem to go better every week!                                                  93 miles


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