Monday, 23 May 2011

A little ride up to Sowerby Bridge

I'm miles behind with posts, but here's a little collection of photos from my solo trip up to Sowerby Bridge a few weeks back to join Mr.C's night time canal ride back to Manchester. I had planned to make my way there mostly by road with the main aim being to cycle up the A58 to the Whitehouse pub beside Blackstone Edge reservoir and back down the otherside through Cragg down Blackstone Edge Rd which is the longest continual slope in the country to reach Mytholmroyd. 

On the way up there though I found by chance that a bit of disused old railway has been surfaced since the last time I was up here (probably 7/8 years ago), so I took that and headed towards Oldham.
Oldham is signposted but it doesn't actually get you there. I would probably make for a nice days riding to explore this valley but I didn't have the time so after a look at the supposedly closed bridge I headed up to Lees New Rd and back onto the roads to vaguely head towards Shaw on the North side of Oldham.

Before getting to Lees New Rd I went up Alt Hill Rd which is Tameside's 'Quiet Rd'. All seems a bit odd to me. This area is quiet anyway, since there is nothing around. Plus the idea of having a 'quiet' road then posting it as 30mph is...well... basically stupid. - aha! a new slogan for Tameside Council - 'Basically Stupid'
Fast forward through the boring typical north british streets of Oldham, Shaw, Milnrow, Hollingworth (Nice lake) & Smithybridge and we get to the base of what I presume is Blackstone Edge Hill and the A58 that climbs it. It's about 1000ft of climb and the red arrow is pointing at the pub!.

View from outside the Whitehouse pub looking back down the hill.
After a bit of recovery I carried on down Blackstone Edge Rd, which although downhill now it's such a wet & windy bit of moorland that the pedalling is almost as much hardwork as the ascent up here. Only once you've dropped a couple of hundred feet does it become a fast and fun descent, winding all the way down to Mytholmroyd.
Once in Mytholmroyd I tried to start follwing the National cycle route signs, which is easier said than done at some points. i.e. three signs pointing in all directions for the same route. But eventually found my way up the train station ramp to get to a path which runs alongside the railway line for a few miles until crossing over and joining the canal up to Sowerby Bridge.

Novelty wooden signs

The signage along this bit is all pretty good and I found my way quite easily. Eventually crossing on this bridge to get to the canal.
Of course now canal trip in spring is complete without seeing lots of baby ducks!


  1. I remember the long pull up Blackstone Edge last year when training for the Pennine Cycleway. Looks like I had the same weather as I had to cycle down the first half of the decent as well. Must try it on a non loaded bike one day!

    How was the night ride along Rochdale canal?

  2. Was a good ride, in the dark though you've got to be extra wary of some of the collapsed edges and the cobbled wiers. Apart form that its plain sailing and not another soul using the towpaths.