RSF - The Off Road Cycling Club

The Adventure Starts Here

A very hardy, some might say "fool-hardy", half dozen or so Peakies joined me at Philips Park, Prestwich on a really misty, moisty morning - as Steeleye Span once sang!


Eschewing the delights of the red trails that run from the car park we took the easy route down to the Irwell and with Jackie as guide began to meander up and down the part of the park aptly named Waterdale along some delightful, well maintained and easy single track trails.  The only optional tricky trail we took was a steep cobbled climb to a looping descent which when dry would have been quite good fun but in the mud was decidedly squishy and occasionally squashy!


P1030445Having had a good play about we climbed up to the motorway bridge, amazed as always, after spending a while at cycling speed in the peace of the valley, by the noise and the speed of the traffic beneath us.  Soon we were cocooned in the silence of the old railway line picking its way through the woodland above Ringley before popping up to encounter traffic, and what traffic, along the Ringley Road before, thankfully diverting off to the right along the old track of Prestolee Road which took us down to the northern spur of the disused canal from Manchester which joins the Bury to Bolton canal at the delightfully named Nob End!  There we usually pause to enjoy the aptly named Meccano Bridge.  However the towpath was blocked as volunteers were using diggers and the like to continue the restoration of the canal so we luckily found an easy diversion to get back on the towpath only about 800 yards further on.

 Find out more about the Meccano Bridge and the Bury Bolton Canal here:

Apart from the usual difficulties crossing the A665 under which the canal is culverted in Radcliffe and Simon's mishap on an extremely slippery cobbled section of the towpath, we arrived in Bury in plenty of time top explore the Archimedes Screw hydro-electric station utilising an old weir on the Irwell which only Jackie knew about.  

Find out more about Bury Hydro Scheme here:

Then, seduced by the sights, smells and sounds of a steam train - well at least I was - we headed down to the East Lancs Railway Station Buffet where in times past you could get food and really good ales.  Sadly it has lost its kitchen - the only hope of dining there was on the Santa Special train where the dining cars looked very inviting!  For us though it was Wetherspoons which never fails!


Retuning to our bikes, Eric found he'd got a puncture so we did the usual RAF thing of standing around watching while someone messes about with tyre levers etc offering bits of "useful" advice such as "I've seen that done hundreds of times - but never like that!!!".  Eric amazed us all with his patented bit of kit - a bit of a broom handle - saving his Brooks Saddle from damage when he inverted the bike to take off the wheel!


Back under weigh (Check out that spelling here!) we retraced our steps, not entirely flawlessly, to Elton reservoir where we took a rural farm track which we've never tried before along the southern shore of the reservoir past a couple of intimidating farm yards before rejoining the urban sprawl of northern Radcliffe where we soon picked up the former railway line back down to the canal and then on to Radcliffe Centre where for the first time ever, thanks to Eric and others, we actually followed the "Official" route 6 through the Metro Car Park and down the other side!  A bit of urban cycling got us through the town centre and out past MacDonalds up the incline to the viaduct over the Irwell. Not long after, we left Route 6 to climb up into Outwood Park where Eric was in his element examining and analysing the stone monoliths which form part of the Irwell Sculpture Trail.

A bit more main road saw off the final climbing of the day leaving us with a happy but muddy descent along Old Hall Lane back past the cemetery to Philips Park and home.


Thanks for excellent company everyone,  Have a great Christmas and New Year and see some of you at Sale Water Park on the first Sunday in January!



Roger's photos and videos can be viewed on Flickr here:

And a few of mine here: