Showery, windy, visibility fair to good, the weather report would say of today. We started at about 9am on to the Ashton New Road. It needs not a glowing account of that stony, towny, tram-lined route through Ashton-under-Lyne and Stalybridge. Near the latter place the hills of Derbyshire appeared and the long climb to Mottram heralded their nearness. Mottram in Longendale was set behind and a none too good road led us beneath the vast railway viaduct into Glossop, the ‘Town amid the hills’. Just beyond here we started to climb, and walk. The road could be seen for some distance winding its way up the hillside, the famous road, the Snake Pass. As we got higher we had some good views of Glossop below us. The road was mostly too steep to be worth riding, so we walked along until an AA hut proclaimed the summit.
The moors around here are preserved for grouse shooting, and are wild and rugged on Featherbed Top. We were 1,680ft above sea level. Then we dropped easily until we were ‘freeling’ down a narrow valley hemmed in by heathery moors. Here and there we came by a moorland ravine and a stream tumbling down made several cascades and minature falls. On a bridge we stopped awhile watching a dog rounding the sheep up. Soon we reached the Snake Inn for lunch at an altitude of 1,100ft.
Here we discussed the possibility of taking a cycle over the footpath between here and Hayfield. A walker came in and we stormed him with questions concerning the said path. His version was that if we had a love for that particular kind of moorland beauty it might be worth it. Apparently it had been done by others – so we decided to go for it. A notice stated that it was six and three quarter miles over, but afterwards we thought it was about ten! Scaling two walls we carried our machines across about four streams and over a steep rocky pitch. As we were fired with enthusiasm, we did not feel the discomfiture. After the third mile we reached a bog, and for half a mile we were wading in a slimy oozy mixture that clung to us tenaciously. At last we reached the half way post, 1,761ft high.
Leaving our bikes we climbed a spur of Kinder Scout to 2,031ft from where we got some magnificent views. Here our Snake Inn acquaintance met us. We carried the machines for another mile down William’s Clough, a beautiful vale, wooded and with several pretty falls. We reached Hayfield after carrying the bikes for 2 miles and taking four and a half hours to cross. Tea at Hayfield, then home via New Mills and Cheadle.
68 miles, 14 hours
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