Mountain Biking Highlight
Mountain Biking Highlight (Segment)
The Outdoor City Sheffield planned a mountain bike ride.
March 29, 2019
So, so many rides in the Dark Peak can be considered classics - but in the minds of many, this is the one that immediately springs forth. It encapsulates so much that's fantastic about riding in the area - great views; long, grinding climbs; short sharp shocks; technical descents - and all on the Millstone Grit geology that eats drivetrains and brake blocks for breakfast.The initial spin from Hope doesn't last long; you're soon hauling your way up some very steep slabs as you climb up towards Hope Cross. It’s a swift climb along the road before the route joins the Thornhill Trail and climbs up to Hope Brink, drop down to the Roman Road and heads to Hope Cross. Here's where the first descent takes hold, and it's something of a famous one. The Beast, as it’s known, is perhaps not the dread-fest it was 20 years ago (thanks to modern mountain bike design) but it's still a hugely stiff challenge. Wide, for sure - but hugely rocky, and very, very thrutchy. It eases off at the bottom a little, but it's still up there as one of the gnarliest descents in the Peaks. Of course, after all that down, there's a need to go up again. The Hagg Farm trail is also a lot of fun ridden as a descent, but here it's a serviceable climb - just keep an eye out for people hurtling down. It's possible to detour up the road to a slightly more forgiving climb at Rowlee Farm instead, but it adds little to the experience - and you have to ride along the road for half a mile or so.The next descent down from Lockerbrook Heights is also a lot of fun, and will leave you refreshed and invigorated for the spin along Derwent Reservoir and a mid-ride snack at the Derwent Visitors Centre.We’re not finished with the climbing yet, though. After a flat spin along the reservoir for a bit the paved climb up Grindle Clough is a sharp awakening. It doesn't last forever (although it may seem like it) as things get a bit less steep up Grainfoot Clough, and top out as you approach Whinstone Lee Tor.And yes, it's all downhill from here - for a bit, at least. Lots of rocks, the odd ford, more rocks, and as much speed as you can muster. The descent doesn't disappoint. A swift blat along the road before the route joins the Thornhill Trail and drops back along the road to Hope.The trains from Sheffield to the heart of the Peak District run regularly, and it’s a short hop from the city centre to some of the finest riding the country has to offer. This Tour starts in Hope, but it’d be just as easy to modify it to start at Bamford if you so desire - they’re both easily accessible, and offer opportunities for refreshments.For information on train times, check out thetrainline.com