RSF - The Off Road Cycling Club

The Adventure Starts Here

SS 1


The weather looked a little grey and drizzly for the start, but soon bucked up and set fair for the rest of the day.


In true RSF tradition I managed to lose 4 riders, however as this was before we set off, I have apparently beaten all of Rob's records for losing riders!


SS 6The remaining 11 of us set off from the Visitor centre cafe at Hollingworth Lake .  Up the back of the lake and instead of the PBW I took us up a little used or known bridleway past the old Schofield Hall. A brutally steep start to the ride (sorry all!) After the gate this  then becomes a lovely grassy single track which then gets  a fair bit steeper and rougher, before joining the PBW on Whittaker Moor.  The descent down there to Lydgate is guaranteed to put a smile on anyone's face and we then ducked through the back of Littleborough and up to the King Bill.


Up the cobbles which are a bit of a tooth loosener, but worth it as it leads through Higher Shore and up another lovely rocky track before rejoining part of the PBW and along the moor near Dobb Hill. Free wheelwash ( I think of everything!) Evidently no one had spotted I was wearing my Sealskinz.....!!before dropping down to Watergrove .



SS 3The only downside of dropping down all, that way....Got to go back up again! Long climb up the Ramsden Road   (track) and a few confused faces when I didn't follow the usual PBW, but instead turned right and kept on up and up – not quite as far as the windmills!  There is then a concessionary route, again hardly used, but is an absolute joy to ride. It contours around the sides of Hades, Middle Hill and towards Brown Wardle.  Initially a grassy gentle path which then drops down to what can be a quite boggy area, but at this time of year was just a fun, pick your own route through the little paths weaving through the marsh.  Only one of our group decided to try the merits of Bog Snorkelling in that section,which then gets rockier and steeper before meeting the PBW. Oodles more lovely tracks and paths across the lower slopes and a couple of very large deep puddles to navigate – in other areas of the country I believe they may be known as 'lakes'!  The first has to be ridden, there are no ways around it, the second has a walkable bit at the side which I highly recommend – its very deep, muddy and full of large rocks that you can't see!  In the distance we could see our lunch stop so a rapid descent of Dirt Lane which has all but washed away, then a bit of road down to Halifax Road, cross over to Dye House Lane and up to Wildhouse Lane and to the cafe at the back of Hollingworth Lake and so to lunch.  This loop was around 15 miles.

Having successfully lost a few more ( Rob Newton eat yer heart out!!) our merry band of 8 set off for the afternoon loop. Probably a bit more familiar territory to some as I took us under Rakewood (I always want to say under Milkwood!!) Viaduct, then the truly character forming slog up to Four Lane Ends.


We turned left there along the Rochdale Way, which a few weeks ago got completely washed away in some hailstorms. It had certainly made for some interesting riding when I recced it, but has now been sanitised and resurfaced with lots of new stones (ready to wash away again!!)  Easier to ride, but not as much fun.  Thankfully the descent to the waterfall has been left untouched and is still steep, techy, slippery and a nice rock garden to finish!


SS 5We wandered our way back across the damn and back up though the gates (yes, I remembered my horse gate key for those who have bikes that weigh as much as a small country and can't lift them over!)


Back at Four Lane Ends we went left along the Tunshill path and down the (scary!) stone slabs and onto the slippery cobbles, (Mick omitted the magic word 'stopping' and poor Pauline couldn't – oops!) past Tunshill Golf Club then the steep climb to Heights Barn Farm. To finish, one of my favourite descents across the fields, with fabulous views over the Lake looking toward Wardle and our morning ride,  under the most photographed tree ever by RSF members then down the steep track to the back of the lake.


After a tough 10 mile afternoon loop and a total of 2400 feet climbing  for the day, pretty much all off road it would have been rude to waste the sunshine so we piled into the Wine Press for a well earned pint!!


SS 4




Well I think everyone enjoyed it (those that I didn't lose anyway!)


Great company, great day out, thanks everyone for making it such an enjoyable ride.


Sharon Lowe


View the route on Sharon's Strava page here:


View Mick's photos on Flickr here:


Have a look at more photos from the NPSP rides here:

SS 7Thanks Sharon for an absolutely wonderful day out showing me loads of tracks I've never ridden before.










All a bit too much for one of us!