Five gentlemen attempt some hilly country

Golcar, once a weaving village now the outer suburb of Huddersfield, was our starting point. The only way in or out of Golcar is a hill, so we were soon climbing quite steeply, out onto the moorland within 3 miles, joining the A640 which has little traffic. We stopped at Buckstone to admire the misty view, on a clear day with the right wind condition, this is a favourite spot for paragliding - but not today.

Over Saddleworth Moor and the long descent down to Denshaw. A short dogleg got us onto Wham Road and narrow lanes, known as Heights, for obvious reasons. Our destination was the 250 year old stone pub Th’Heights, the quintessential moorland pub, hard of access, next to the church which, as it is Heritage day, was miraculously open.
Suitably fortified we descended the precipitously steep road to the edge of Delph. So in one mile we were sitting for our next beer, thirsty work is cycling in t’hills. A rather slow lunch, speedy service is not a speciality of The White Lion.
Round the other side of the pub we found another climb which took us up onto the A62. For us locals it’s Yorkshire flat, for the offcumdons from the East it’s another hill. By now the mist had burnt off.
At the top, where the Pennine way crosses, we were all assured that from now until near the end neither hills nor Yorkshire flat will be found. We sped down hill and took a very sharp left to Standedge and Tunnel End where the Huddersfield canal goes under, for 3-4 miles, the hill we just descended.
After a general look around, we set off along the canal on what must be the prettiest canal path in UK.
With its countless locks, the descent is quite steep for 5 miles. We stopped in Slaithwaite for the Handmade Bakery, surely England’s best, where they are running a course on bread made with wild yeast. Back along the towpath.

We took the decision to take the optional route, carrying then pushing the bikes up through the steep woods and Ginnels, a precipitous ascent in a very short distance to be back in Golcar for tea, coffee and cakes.

In total we climbed 2660 feet in a 26 mile ride

An anti-clockwise circumnavigation of Manchester

We four intrepid riders met up in Chorlton and rode off up the Fallowfield loop line (ex-railway track), along the Ashton canal to the National Cycling centre for a cup of coffee in the café. We can highly recommend the grey comfy seats; it’s where the teams & their management eat, the food is good!


After a brief rest we set of again along some minor roads to join the Rochdale canal and followed it until forced to leave by the M60. To cross the M60 motorway there is a tunnel for the boats & a bridge for the pedestrians, cyclists etc, we re-joined the canal and carried on up to Middleton Junction where we transferred to the roads again.

Passing the JW Lees brewery we pedalled on to the centre of Middleton and then up the steep hill at Langley, pausing to re-group outside the church at the top of the hill. We spotted a spelling mistake, see photo. Passing this "chuirch" we knew the rest of the day was going to be a lot easier as we were at the highest point of the ride so everything else would be down hill for the rest of the day.


Rolling down the hill we passed through the Langley housing estate, a loose stone path down the side of the golf driving range and along a deeply pot holed lane into the village of Simister for lunch. We stopped in the Same Yet Inn, a JW Lees pub; an odd name caused by a miss heard comment to a sign writer some decades ago and has been re-iterated ever since. After our re-hydration and carvery meal we pedalled through the village before revelling in almost 3 miles of decent through an ever-decreasing urban landscapes, farm land and finally into woodlands in the Irwell valley.

We had joined National Route 6 and headed south through the woods to Agecroft; where there was once a coal pit, power station and block works all next to each other – how sensible, but sadly no more. Back on the roads heading towards Manchester city centre following NR6 we were diverted due to re-construction works on the banks of the Irwell so we went into the Castlefield basin an old canal junction & goods interchange – coal from the west along the Bridgewater canal, woollen goods from the east along the Rochdale canal and cotton from the ships in the Manchester ship canal.

We travelled along the Bridgewater canal for a mile then got back onto the river Irwell, passed the re-construction works, at the point where the river becomes the Manchester ship canal. Passing along the graffiti wall (a council approved site for artists to spray their work) and onwards into Media City. We all paid our respect to the Blue Peter Garden, reliving our respective childhoods with this re-located, shrunken gem.


There had been a closed road cycling event in Manchester that came in handy; we were the last cyclists across some busy roads around the Manchester United football ground just as the cones & diversion signs were being collected by the council workers.

A few more miles on minor roads and we were back at the start.

33 miles, no rain, slight wind, one hill, coffee stop, lunch stop, an afternoon of free wheeling and light pedalling, our tools stayed in their bags, good company and we all enjoyed ourselves.

A loop around South Manchester and North Cheshire

A loop around south Manchester and north Cheshire

A select group (ie there were four of us) of Moultoneers met at Chorlton Water Park in south Manchester, for a pleasant 35 mile circular ride, led by Mark Taylor. Despite being in the middle of the monsoon, the day was dry and bright, and a strange orange orb even appeared occasionally in the sky during the afternoon.
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We started out on a track alongside the Mersey, before joining the Bridgewater Canal towpath, recently resurfaced by Sustrans, and a pleasure to cycle on. A brief stretch on fairly busy roads through Altrincham was followed by minor roads to Dunham Park, a National Trust estate. It’s a lovely spot, deservedly popular on a Sunday morning. The deer population was all present and correct, and seemed happy to be inspected. We visited the cafe, upstairs in an old stable block, for tea and low calorie caramel confections, to set us on.

From Dunham we crossed a narrow bridge over the mighty Bollin , and then the evil A556, to arrive at Tatton Park, another National Trust property. It’s an extensive estate, regularly used for all kinds of events. Preparations were well underway for the Royal Horticultural Flower show which was due to start the following, week, and there was some kind of musical event scheduled for later in the afternoon on the lake shore. We cycled through the park, and then past the Italianate architecture of Knutsford (you could almost imagine you were in Tuscany, apart from the puddles) to arrive in Mobberley and the Railway Inn, our lunch stop. This is a fine pub, clearly favoured by cyclists. The local Dunham ale went down well, as did the food (though the fishcakes were obviously prepared in a different time zone to the other dishes).

Riding along small Cheshire country lanes we rejoined the Bollin valley at the point where it disappears under Manchester Airport’s second runway. The bikes were lifted over a gate (yes, a NS is lighter than a TSR), to get us along side the second runway, giving a close up view of planes taking off and landing, including a giant Airbus A380. The penalty for riding down the rough track was a puncture (though the glass shard that had penetrated the Marathon tyre was probably picked up earlier on Manchester’s streets). A spare tube meant a reasonably quick repair (once we had located a pump that worked properly…)

Then it was a fast run along tarmac back to our starting point - a bit later than planned (the fishcakes, waiting for the A380 to take off, and the puncture…).
A fine day’s excursion, on about the only dry day in this Mancunian “summer”. (Mark: “all down to careful planning”.)

David Butler, 19 July 2012

Blackpool Ride June 2012

Moulton Bicycle Club ride 17th June 2012
Blackpool – Fleetwood – Pilling - Elswick – Blackpool

Seven Moultoneers met up by North Pier in Blackpool, which had inadvertently become a
temporary tram terminus, due to construction of the Elton John’s concert arena at the weekend; the
tramlines were blocked and a number of trams couldn’t make it back to their new depot on south

After the odd coffee & bacon butty were consumed (a bit too chilly for ice cream this morning) we
set off just after 10:30, riding on the coastal paths & promenades north through Bispham, Cleveleys,
passed the golf course and into Fleetwood. There must have been millions spent along this route in
the last few years and is considerably better than when I ride the route some years ago. We were
just in time to see the ferry crossing the River Wyre on the 11:30 scheduled run. We paid up &
queued up and shortly after the ferry’s return we were ushered on so we could store the bikes, or
so we thought, but it was really a ploy to get us to sponsor the skipper in a Lifeboat pull later in the
year! As it was in aid of the RNLI we each gave a little to support the Lifeboats. At 12 noon we set of
for the 3 or 4 minute crossing to Knott End–on-Sea; after disembarkation we had a brief debate as
to where to eat, café or pub and which one – thankfully for us Ken S was with us, who lives locally in
Thornton so his local knowledge was invaluable in this critical matter.

Zig zagging through the little lanes passed nice houses and their well-managed gardens on our
way to Pilling. We stopped at the first pub in Pilling that only served full “Sunday roast” lunches so
we carried on another mile or so to Stake Pool and the Elletson Arms for lunch. Good beer & food,
shame about the speed of service but at least we all got a good rest before setting off again. When
we got out we were all bathed in sunshine, most of us removed a layer of clothing before setting off.

Down the long straight road south to the Ecclestons, over the Cartford toll bridge – 20p for bicycles,
pedestrians free (we checked, it’s still 20p if you want to carry your bike so we all elected to ride!).
We ascended the big hill of the day (all 60 feet of it according to the OS map) rode on through Little
& Great Eccleston and on to Elswick.

We then turned west and into the wind, thankfully the Met Office got it right, the intensity of the
wind had dropped over the day but it still wasn’t welcome. On occasions we could see Blackpool
tower on the horizon as we headed towards it, passing through Singleton and then the outskirts
of Poulton-le Fylde. It’s surprising the number of undulations in this leg of the ride; towards the
end of the ride and into the wind it was an unpleasant shock. Back into Blackpool town centre a
short ride through the pedestrian area, there was one of their cycle hire racks in the precinct and
signs indicating buses & cycles were permitted to enter. A short distance on the other side of the
pedestrian area we came back to the tram tracks on the sea front by the North Pier.

Great company & conversation en route, no mechanical or pneumatic issues and as a bonus we
didn’t get wet!

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Mark Taylor

Ride Around The Cotswold Water Park

Moulton Bicycle Club Ride Around The Cotswold Water Park – Sunday the 13th of May 2012

The weather for the previous 3 weeks hadn’t been good so it was a big relief to find the sun shining down on the 11 intrepid Moultoneers (along with two ‘big wheel’ cyclists) who set off on a Sunday morning ride to visit some of the local sites drawn by cycling artist Frank Patterson. Riders came from far and wide to take part, including a contingent from the South Bucks CTC who happened to be on holiday in the area. Most models of Moulton were represented, from a lovely F frame painted with the Union flag through to Am’s, Land Rovers, Bridgestones, Pylons, Speeds and TSR’s.

We left the start to ride to our first stop in South Cerney - this Patterson drawing caused some debate as the artist states that the scene is in Sommerford Keynes (a village some 2 or 3 miles away). We then rode via Fridays Ham Lane (I guess there was a pig farm in the area once) to a lovely view in Ashton Keynes that has remained virtually unchanged since the time of the drawing. On the way out of the village we passed two of the four stone crosses in the village that were pushed over (but since have been rebuilt) by Cromwell’s men! We carried on visiting two more ‘sites’ including one in Latton and another in Marston Meysey.

Riding on to the dinner stop past RAF Fairford caused some riders to ‘fly’ like that had a jet engine on board! We stopped for lunch in Fairford, with some opting for The Bull, whilst the teetotalers sat in the local bus shelter to eat their sandwiches (only the finest dining places will do for riders of such high class machines). The bikes attracted a lot of attention outside the pub.

After lunch it was only a short ride to another of the Patterson sites at Fairford Watermill, and with the river now in full flow after the recent rain it was a truly picturesque sight. On the way to the next stop a rumour went around that we were going to go by a fantastic micro brewery / real ale pub and when I confirmed that this was the case, the pace seemed to speed up! Unfortunately by the time we got to the pub it

had run out of beer, which was maybe just as well as we needed to push on. With the last Patterson stop out of the way (in a lovely Cotswold churchyard), we cycled to the village of Down Ampney to visit the birth place of composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. It was such a nice day that the party decided to carry on to see a local war memorial dedicated to the men and women that took off from the Down Ampney airfield in World War 2. We then rode on to the local church were there is a small display to Vaughn Williams. Unfortunately I was unable to arrange for a lark to ascend which would have finished off an excellent day’s ride!

Thank you to everybody who came along and see you at BOA?

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Roger Osborn