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Pennine Cycle Way



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 3rd 05, 10:42 PM
vernon levy
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Default Pennine Cycle Way

I'm girding my loins for the first spell of cycle camping this year and am
considering doing some of the Pennine Cycleway at the end of May start of
June. I am considering the North section from Appleby to Berwick or The
South Pennine section from Holmfirth to Appleby. Has anyone ridden all or
part of the routes? Any observations about their nature in therms of
enjoyment and scenery not to mention arduousness.

Cheers

Vernon
in Leeds


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  #2  
Old May 4th 05, 08:14 AM
RG
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"vernon levy" wrote in message
...
I'm girding my loins for the first spell of cycle camping this year and am
considering doing some of the Pennine Cycleway at the end of May start of
June. I am considering the North section from Appleby to Berwick or The
South Pennine section from Holmfirth to Appleby. Has anyone ridden all or
part of the routes? Any observations about their nature in therms of
enjoyment and scenery not to mention arduousness.

Cheers

Vernon
in Leeds



Yes - did the whole lot from Derby to Berwick in May 2004 - a great ride!
Below is the text of a message I sent to David Gray of Sustrans - contents
are pretty self-explanatory. Overall observation - tough going from
Hadfield to Colne in the south section - after that nothing too daunting
other than the odd places detailed in the message. Go for it !

Rob

extract of message to David Gray

Knowing that you are leading the Berwick to Derby ride in July and having
just ridden the complete route from Derby to Berwick (7-13 May 2004) it
seemed useful to advise you of a few issues with the route - in the
interests of being positive rather than critical!

Our overnight stops were B&Bs or pubs at : Whaley Bridge, Foulridge,
Sedbergh, Alston, Elsdon (Otterburn village) & Wooler - the Whaley Bridge to
Foulridge day turned out to be very challenging with a late finish although
all other days were reasonable.

Two (of the three) of us were "Sustrans veterans" having ridden the C2C and
TPT and whilst we enjoyed the ride immensely we felt that some sections
should carry more of a "health warning" on the maps - some sections (see
below) would have been impossible for a less experienced or less strong (or
perhaps, female) cyclist.

We felt that the severity of some of the route, especially in the Peak
District and up to about Hebden Bridge could frighten people off if they
tried to ride the routes - more published information on the climbs (and
steep descents) etc would be a good idea.

Points :

1 Signage in parts of Derby had been rotated or otherwise vandalised and
at the hospital area near the A38/Mickleover was missing (or we missed it!)
.. On the plus side, once into the country beyond Derby the signing was
superb all the way to Ashbourne.

2 Signage in Buxton was misleading with a strange detour down one hill
and up another for no apparent reason - and then unclear (or appeared to be
missing)

3 The off-road section (Midshires Way) shortly after leaving Buxton was
badly eroded and very severe - barely passable on foot and very hard with a
bike.

4 Fencing and signage at Woolly Bridge/Brookfield, just before Hadfield,
had been vandalised (set on fire)
[We did the TPT in May last year and saw the same issues at the same places,
although it looked as though signage had been replace and vandalised again]

5 Signage at Hadfield changed to the TPT without any obvious link that it
was also Route 68

6 Signage in Holmfirth was confusing - made even more difficult by the
change in orientation of the map (see below).

7 The climb from Slaithwaite to Pole Moor was extreme and should carry a
warning!

8 Access to the Scammonden reservoir and crossing the M62 was confusing
with variable signage - the route I used was to pass under the motorway
through the tunnel on the eastern side of the reservoir dam, turn right up
the tarmac road and then ride parallel to the motorway (actually just below
the hard shoulder) on the tarmac track above the tunnel level, crossing to
the western side of the reservoir dam, on the northern side of the motorway,
then joining the road. Looking back down from the B road than runs to
Sowerby Bridge we could see where the signed route probably was, but our
route seemed simpler and safer.

9 Signage, almost without exception, from the M62 crossing all the way to
Berwick was excellent.

10 Many of the facilities marked on the maps no longer existed - for
example, several pubs had become private houses (we were told) and the cafe
marked in Harbottle had closed ten years ago!

11 After the wonderful and remote 20 miles or so from Once Brewed to
Bellingham the superb "Rod's Snack Bar" in Bellingham deserves a special
mention - a large slice of quiche, a slice of carrot cake and coffee for 3
quid!

11 An especially bad piece of route was at the ford to the north of
Ingram (Ilderton Moor, the southernmost of the 3 fords) where the steep
descents both sides had been badly cut up by horses and made nearly
impassable (again a lady rider would probably not have managed to get down
and up the slopes to the bridge) I would suggest that the alternative loop
via Roseden is made the signed route and that the ford is signed as the
option.

12 The least obvious refreshment point was the butchers shop in Norham
that sold tea and coffee - and excellent cheese!


Our final comments have to be about the Sustrans PCW maps - conceptually
they are good and we managed to follow the route using just the official
maps BUT the varying orientation (i.e. North not always being at the top)
did make it very confusing, especially where sections with overlaps changed
orientation. I appreciate that the maps are designed to maximise paper
usage etc BUT they are confusing to anyone used to using maps and a compass
for cycling or walking.

The other criticism is about the contour markings and profiles - the shading
gave no sort of reliable indication of the terrain and the profiles were a
bit of a "blunt instrument" - again an experienced map-user can see (and
feel) from the normal contours on the OS maps and get an idea of the ups and
downs (and thus make some sort of estimate of timings etc).

The upside of the maps, although we had no rain, was the durability of the
paper.

Perhaps there is an opportunity for Sustrans to consider collaborating on
production of guide books using OS style mapping (like the many books
written by Nick Cotton) for its showcase routes.

Do please take these comments as being constructive - there's no doubt that
it's a great ride - better than the C2C and the TPT put together. Being
gluttons for punishment we are now considering our boys' outing for 2005 :
the plan is Land's End - John O'Groats ...... unless Sustrans inspires us
with something in the meantime!


  #3  
Old May 4th 05, 08:46 AM
p.k.
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RG wrote:


Yes - did the whole lot from Derby to Berwick in May 2004 -


thanks for posting that - after our c2c our appetite is whetted! Anyone else
with expeeince/comments on the PCW

pk


  #4  
Old May 4th 05, 09:01 AM
Tony Raven
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RG wrote:

We felt that the severity of some of the route, especially in the Peak
District and up to about Hebden Bridge could frighten people off if they
tried to ride the routes - more published information on the climbs (and
steep descents) etc would be a good idea.


The route has been very controversial in mountain biking circles - large
sections of classic routes have been sanitised to make them easy for
leisure cyclists and horses. The Mary Townley loop was a wake up call
which went, for proficient mountain bikers, from an interesting and
technical ride to a boring fire road. I with others and IMBA put a lot
of effort into the Hayfield sections with the Countryside Agency and
Derbyshire Council and ended up with a classic route (the Hayfield Loop)
which while wrecked was at least still interesting to ride. The
contractors and officials had about as much idea as most city cycle
planners seem to have about what is needed and were gayly planning to
set up massive user conflicts by lack of understanding of trail
requirements. However they were at least prepared to discuss, listen
and learn. Our suggestion of signing alternative road routes though
wasn't taken up as far as I know but please don't encourage Sustrans and
others to wreck routes that are much enjoyed by many cyclists to make
them accessible to the lowest common denominator cyclists.


--
Tony

"A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought" Lord
Peter Wimsey (Dorothy L. Sayers)
  #5  
Old May 4th 05, 08:37 PM
vernon levy
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Yes - did the whole lot from Derby to Berwick in May 2004 - a great ride!
Below is the text of a message I sent to David Gray of Sustrans - contents
are pretty self-explanatory. Overall observation - tough going from
Hadfield to Colne in the south section - after that nothing too daunting
other than the odd places detailed in the message. Go for it !



I'm not too phased by the climbs - I have ridden from Land's End to
Penistone and done the C2C and I'm familiar with the energy sapping grinds
through the Peak District..

I hope to slot in the ride at the end of the month, I'd have had a go at the
entire route but I've got several things to do during the week I have off.
I'm favouring the notion of cycling out to Skipton from Leeds and picking up
the trail from there with the idea of completing the ride in 3-4 days.


10 Many of the facilities marked on the maps no longer existed - for
example, several pubs had become private houses (we were told) and the

cafe
marked in Harbottle had closed ten years ago!


This conversion is accelerating. There was an excellent pub in Clapham
(Flying Squirrel) that shared a grid reference with a campsite and served
the most amazing rabbit pie....it's gone down the conversion route.
Apparently there simply isn't enough money being spent in the rural pubs to
make them viable when they are not sheltered by the profits of other pubs in
a large chain. I was heartened to see a reversal in Horton in Ribblesdale
where the Red Lion was, for a while, a school hostel.

11 After the wonderful and remote 20 miles or so from Once Brewed to
Bellingham the superb "Rod's Snack Bar" in Bellingham deserves a special
mention - a large slice of quiche, a slice of carrot cake and coffee for 3
quid!

This is the territory that interests me the most....despite being brought up
in the north east this area was the least explored by me when I had a motor
bike

12 The least obvious refreshment point was the butchers shop in Norham
that sold tea and coffee - and excellent cheese!

Can't wait to get there ...

The other criticism is about the contour markings and profiles - the

shading
gave no sort of reliable indication of the terrain and the profiles were a
bit of a "blunt instrument" - again an experienced map-user can see (and
feel) from the normal contours on the OS maps and get an idea of the ups

and
downs (and thus make some sort of estimate of timings etc).


The profiles are at best indicative. Nothing could prepare me for the crawl
up the aptly named Crawleyside Bank at Stanhope on the C2C

I'm getting quite excited by the prospect. I'm already getting my gear
together. My bike's set up. Just need the end of the month :-)


  #6  
Old May 4th 05, 08:44 PM
Clive George
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"vernon levy" wrote in message
...

This conversion is accelerating. There was an excellent pub in Clapham
(Flying Squirrel) that shared a grid reference with a campsite and served
the most amazing rabbit pie....it's gone down the conversion route.
Apparently there simply isn't enough money being spent in the rural pubs

to
make them viable when they are not sheltered by the profits of other pubs

in
a large chain.


Flying Horseshoes. Yes, quite a lot between Ingleton and here are going
(that, Goat Gap, Cross Streets are the three I can think of) - but there are
still quite a few left, and the better ones aren't chain and aren't
suffering. (good beer, good food and a decent passing trade are probably
key. Goat Gap and Flying Horseshoes were both a bit hidden, and the Cross
Streets never looked great.

cheers,
clive


  #7  
Old May 4th 05, 09:10 PM
George Sproat
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I'm done a couple of short stretches of the northern section.

I did the bit between Alston and Haltwistle on Monday which was glorious
after climbing up from Whitfield in a headwind accompanied by the howl of
motorcycles as their riders enjoyed a bank holiday thrash. The views across
the valley bathed in sunshine made up for having to stop occasionally to
open gates. Watch out for the sharp little climb just after Barhaugh Hall,
before Slaggyford, it caught me out and I had to push, just a few yards
though. There was a new surface on the old rail bed between Featherstone and
Haltwistle and the surface between Slaggyford and Lambley was ok but between
Lambley and Featherstone its not so good, being covered in grass with a
narrow muddy track down the middle. Lots of walkers out for a stroll taking
advantage of the good weather. Any way I had an excellent day, the views are
fantastic once I was out of the headwind.

A couple of weeks ago I did the forest section between Twice Brewed and
Whygate. I was abit apprehensive having read reports about the road being
very rough through the forest but I managed OK only having to dismount twice
due to the surface and riding on 23mm tyres. A feeling of loneliness and the
thought of a very long walk back ensured that sufficent care was exercised.
Deer ran across the the track in front of me more than once and there was
numerous rabbits. Although I enjoyed the tranquility I was glad to reach
Whygate with the bike in one piece and then on to home in Hexham.

I would like to do the whole route but this year we intend to do the Coast
and Castles route from Newcastle to Edinburgh in July. So the Pennine
Cycleway will have to wait.

Geo

"vernon levy" wrote in message
...
I'm girding my loins for the first spell of cycle camping this year and am
considering doing some of the Pennine Cycleway at the end of May start of
June. I am considering the North section from Appleby to Berwick or The
South Pennine section from Holmfirth to Appleby. Has anyone ridden all or
part of the routes? Any observations about their nature in therms of
enjoyment and scenery not to mention arduousness.

Cheers

Vernon
in Leeds




 




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