A Trail riding day in the Peak District
Bright and early, 8.30am Quent and myself met up with the ‘Scunthorpe lads’. Six friends who all share a love of trail riding, and with little knowledge of the legal trails up North, they’ve travelled to the beautiful Peak District for a no hassle guided tour of some of the best legal off road routes available.
Led by myself and with Quent as the ‘Gateman’ or ‘Tail end Charlie’ we operate a system that is designed for maximum enjoyment and removes the need for any customers to open or close gates. Thus we can cover plenty of ground with these 6 experienced riders and have the minimum of hold ups. With our back up trailer this also means that if we have any unplanned incident or breakdown that we can’t sort on route, then Quent drops off the back with the casualty and recovers the bike and rider back to base, while I can continue with the tour and everyone else.
After the briefing, covering: the route, safety and codes of practice while trail riding, we all set off from Rowsley just after 9am.
For three of the guys; Mark (or Jack as they call him XR400), Jonny (XR400) & Rob (WR400) this was a repeat booking having first ridden with us back in October 2007 on some of the trails starting at Ashbourne. This time they requested something slightly more adventurous. Simon (WR450), Adam (Husaberg 450) & Gary (on the obligatory KTM450) were all equally experienced and very much looking forward to the day.
The weather was kind to us, at about 8 deg C, and although the rain threatened mid morning it never materialised.
We’d planned a steady morning covering some 22 lanes, with 1 climb I’d rated as grade 4
(1 being easy – 4 being difficult). I indicated to them all, that at the top of the climb the difficult section was on the left, and anyone unsure about it could carry on straight ahead and would end up at the same road some 50 yards further down. You guessed it, all that testosterone, no one was going to whimp out, and we all made it to the top, some of us more gracefully than others. We pressed on North and completed a loop of Shatton Moor, enjoying the wonderful views over Castleton.
Lunch was at a roadside Café and we arrived some 20 mins ahead of my schedule. Everyone had worked well together and only one small regrouping had been called for, when Mr Nobody wasn’t looking out for the rider behind. Tut Tut!
Off again and the Husaberg was already thinking about fuel, only 65km in to the day. Then on a trail north of Buxton We had a broken XR400 clutch cable to deal with. So with clutch less gear changes both up, and down the box, we continued in to Buxton for fuel. We got split up in the traffic and both the Husaberg and the WR450 (with the big jets fitted!) ran out of juice while separated. Luckily both had a petrol station within 200 yards. With full tanks and a proper old fashioned motorcycle shop located, selling second hand bikes like a sound DR350 for £800, we had the XR400 kitted out with a new, made up clutch cable, soldered nipples and the lot. Such service you would not get at a modern large franchised dealership! Within an hour we were all on our way.
A memorable ride down by Errwood reservoir on a minor road was breathtaking, with a sharp drop off to the rocks and stream below. We made our way to the tough section of the tour, and fully briefed, a rocky climb ensued. No time to admire the view, concentration was the order of the day, negotiating the large loose stone steps. Everyone was jubilant at the summit, and took a brief rest bite before tackling an equally difficult rocky descent.
Off to ‘Washgate lane’, and with the threat of a TRO hanging over it, this may well be one of the last times we can experience this awesome upland highway. With it’s descent into the river Dove, ford crossing, adjacent to the old packhorse bridge and daunting stone climb complete with hairpin bends taking you back up to the heights of the Peak National Park.
A meander through the rugged scenery, with the road negotiating the enormous outcrops of rocky projections, it’s like a miniature mountain range as we descend to the A515. Nearly home now, so a water splash will attempt to clean down the bikes near Bakewell, then back to complete our journey from Rowsley. 5.30pm dusk, perfect timing. We completed every route intended at the beginning of the day, and only fell an hour behind, due to the unforeseen delays. With 52 lanes under our belt, it’s a credit to all the ‘Scunthorpe lads’ who made the day flow, and allowed us to cover the 174km. Still smiling at the end, even if a little weary.
A pint or two should fix that!
Comment from customer..
"Hi its "Jack" to you lads, thanks for a good day out Saturday. A bit
stiff after my fall. Hope to meet up again soon. Have you got any
pictures of the day? ps looking for new clutch cable ha ha"
Quentin has added a few little video clips on to You Tube. Click the link below if you want to view them.