Easter 2017 Mary Towneley Loop Watergrove to Waterfoot

I'm walking the MTL clockwise and so the section entries are in the clockwise order not the date order.
Tuesday 18th April Watergrove to Broadley

Met up with my pal Babs and we did the car thing where we both drove to the end point, then one car to the start point which for some reason I find makes my head hurt to think about.

It was a gorgeous afternoon and the route was a delight, and made up for the 2 other days I’d had this long weekend on the MTL which were both hard slogs and not particularly nice.

I guess when Chris and I were thinking about doing the MTL on our bikes in 2 days, we were both a lot fitter, now it seems completely impossible.

We set off from Watergrove and took a route that kept the reservoir in sight for quite a long while. It was only 4 miles but seemed a lot longer, I blame Babs!! Only joking!!


Showing off the Map and Compass hat
Is it a llama?
Friday 14th April Broadley to Top of Leach

After some time away from the MTL I wanted to crack on with the western side. I knew this section would not be madly exciting on foot because it involves a long lonely stretch across the moor along Rooley Lane which is an old road.

So in the true spirit of the Loop I got the bike out and into the car. This is the first time the bike has been in the Yeti and it fits phew (with the front wheel off). I thought it would but nice that it actually does.

The first section from Broadley goes through the end of Healey Dell across the river and then through a mix of littered woodland, des res hamlet, water board land, grubby old farms until it reaches the bottom of Rooley Lane.

The entire ride to Top of Leach was uphill which was quite tough for my first outing in a very long time plus the wind was against me. The surface on Rooley Lane was either big lumpy stones or stone setts. I pushed the bike on the truly awful bits and got an all over bone shake on the setts.

It would have been easier to walk but also I would probably have despaired even more on foot as it was so bleak. I stopped at Top of Leach which at 474m is the highest point of the lane and of the MTL.

The ride down was a breeze even with the shaking, almost half as long.

Stone setts on Rooley Lane

Monday 17th April Top of Leach to Waterfoot

This was another back to front section. I parked up in Waterfoot and basically pushed the bike about 3/4 of the way to Top of Leach. It was less cold and less windy which was nice but it was very steep and very rough under wheel. I did ride the part on the flat through a large extinct quarry area. I felt a bit vulnerable there and there were a couple of dodgy looking men so I was worried about having to return the same way. At the moment it takes very little to make me anxious. I got to Top of Leach, ate my emergency supplies and then rolled back down. The quarry was fine and there were a few more people about with maps and rucksacks which made me feel more secure. I still had to walk the bike down the very steep parts but it took about a third of the time to get back down that it did to get up.

I’m glad most of this part is over as I haven’t really enjoyed it that much. Cycling the parts I’m not happy about is a good strategy as I always think I could put the speed on if I needed to, not entirely sure that is true as I was extremely slow on the ups today.

Cairns near the quarry
Scout moor
Cowpe reservoir
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


Canal, Pennine Bridleway and Roman Road bike ride 13th July 2013

Bit late writing this but have been preoccupied with kidneys and life.
Chris and I started at her house using the canal path to get to Littleborough. It’s a well made path so a pleasure to ride on. Chris then guided me through Eelees woods which was a footpath so we walked across to Hollingworth Lake visitor centre via multiple kissing gates which was quite a challenge.
Got onto the bridleway to commence the big ascent we sensibly planned for a very hot day! This was a bit of pushing so we stopped for lunch and to gird our loins for what was to come.
A short flat stretch then we were at the base of the big hill going up to Blackstone Edge. We wanted to stay off the road but this meant footpath and Roman Road. A stiff climb indeed which was all push with frequent stops. Totally lathered when we got to the top.
Across to the White House pub which we’d held out as a carrot to reach the top. Imagine our disappointment to find it shut! Just like the last time when we were frozen and needed hot choc. They are missing a trick that’s for sure.
So onwards passing 3 reservoirs along the bridleway, destination Gaddings Dam. To reach it there is a paving stone footpath which we only sometimes managed to stay on. Extreme cyclists we are not! See video. Once at the dam Chris parked me in a quiet spot, got into her swimsuit and into the water. She only did a short swim but said it was lovely. I thought I was filming her but had pressed the wrong button so just a still.
After Chris had changed we got back on the bikes to some quite hard paths but then soon to the road and a lovely whizz down to Chris’ house.
She came over later to our house and we had barbecued chicken and mini burgers with salad We sat out by the new shed!








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Pennine Bridleway May 5th 2013

IMG_1294 IMG_1290 IMG_1291 IMG_1292 IMG_1293Chris and I did about 20k from her house. I only started measuring the distance when we’d already gone quite a way.
We went up to Mankinholes on the road and then along the bridleway which at that part is called London Road, decided not to go all the way to London today. It’s been refurbished and is now quite good to cycle on, less boggy but actually everywhere is very dry. We just followed the PB (blue markers) along packhorse roads and then dropped down to Callis Wood. Stopped for a late lunch by the river and then down through the wood to the canal. We took the canal back to Tod as far as Woodhouse Road, watched some men getting a barge through a lock. We had to carry the bikes up some extremely steep steps to get onto Woodhouse Road, they would be hard without a bike. Then up and up what used to be a lovely pretty lane and is now foully marred by the dumping of detritus. Up some more to the Shepherd’s Rest. Then down all the way back to Chris’ house for a welcome cup of tea.
I managed to get oil all over my clothes trying to get the bike back up on the car which was a struggle because it was at a bit of an angle. Then when I got home found I had a four inch scratch down my calf. No idea where that came from.
We were celebrating Karl Marx’ birthday: http://imperialsenate.wordpress.com/tag/karl-marx/

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Cold bike and hot (first ever) jog

Sat 16th March

Chris and I met just below the White House and cycled along the reservoirs to the point where you can see Gaddings reservoir. It was bitterly cold despite all the gear and I had a bad case of white finger which always makes me panic slightly. This was our first bike outing together this year so we kept it short and flat. On the return stretch we were going into the wind and we both felt quite weak with using muscles we’d forgotten existed. By the time we got back I had not only white toe but white foot even though I couldn’t see it, I couldn’t actually feel it either. We tried the White House for a warming cup of hot chocolate or even a snack but to no avail as they were just closing so we whizzed down to the best named Moorcock which I’m sure is some harmless wee birdie from these parts but allows me to indulge in teenage humour. This pub was open and we got hot tomato soup (bit odd) for me and spicy burger for Chris all washed down with a pint of Peroni for her and half of Landlord for me. Then it was suddenly time to go and pick up Carol from the renal unit and to be ribbed by the nurses for boozing whilst she was being a “poor invalid”. Poor invalid, my foot, stuffing herself full of biscuits, sleeping and reading, life of Reilly!!


IMG_1083 IMG_1084 IMG_1085

Sun 17th March

I’ve bitten the bullet and have just returned nice and hot from my first ever jog. This has been a mental leap for me to do, partly I felt it would be bad for my knees, partly I thought I would look a berk, and partly I wasn’t sure I could do it.

I did 28 minutes which got me to our nearest reservoir and back, this was a total of 2 miles. I ran one minute and walked the next so as not to kill myself on the first outing. Now I know what’s possible in half an hour I can build it up. It did take a long time for me to get hot but it was pretty cold out today. I even picked up some litter. Runkeeper tells me I’ve burnt 223 calories. It will take a while for me to be able to run a mile in 12 minutes which is my goal but at least I now know that it’s possible. Hooray.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

First bike ride February 17th 2013

My first bike ride of the year and since the terrible flu. It’s 8 weeks since that started and I’m only now feeling about back to normal but massively unfit.

Another lovely day so just to get into the swing of it, a very short ride for about 40 minutes or so covering about 8km. There is a stone circle marked on the map near us and we’ve been talking about it checking it out for a while. You can see it from a distance from Ringstone reservoir but to get to it you take a longer track round. However it’s in a cultivated field which had just been sown so it wasn’t possible to go up to it and although the circle is a noticeable shape, it seems what stones are there are very small or flat.

Very glad I managed to get the motivation to go out. It was bitterly cold today so I wore a t shirt, a merino baselayer, a micro fleece and an insulated jacket. On my feet I tested out cycling shoes with neoprene overshoes, these worked very well to keep my feet warm but took forever to get on and made me so hot I had to take my jacket and helmet off during the procedure. On my hands I wore my new Christmas present from Chris cycling gloves which feel hot when you put them on indoors and which did the job brilliantly. At last warm hands on the bike!

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Valley of Lights bike ride 29/11/12

Brass monkeys. So cold I feared for my toes.
The idea of the Valley of Lights, as well as being fun and a nice thing to do before Christmas, is to give support to all the local businesses affected by the terrible amounts of flooding in the summer.
I parked in Mytholmroyd at Russell Dean or Pearl and Dean in my head and then managed to miss the train because I thought it went at 5.35 but actually it was 5.25.
Still the 6.05 turned up on time despite alerts to the contrary and 10 mins later I was in Todmorden. Chris arrived as I came out of the station having had a free ride and we pedalled off to the high school gym where we registered, picked up snacks and drinks and more lights for our bikes which were being dished out by David Dodwell, lovely to see him again, he was a marshall.
This was all a bit rushed and then we went to Bramsche Square to assemble all lit up.
About 100 of us set off with a car and Mountain Rescue in front setting the (very slow) pace.
We stopped at the big lay by for a couple of mins and then went on to the JCB park where we had a long wait. Our feet and hands were alternately freezing. I had a wee behind a JCB and the steam rose up! No time for one before!
It was well below freezing as cars we passed were iced up.
Finally got going to roll down into Hebden. We were cheered all the way by the crowds which was very sweet especially as we didn’t really do much. It brought a smile to my face instead of the cold face of pain! We made as much noise as possible with our bells and whooped too.
Stopped for 5 mins then off to the Dusty Miller in Mytholmroyd. We had some beer and snacks. I could have done with hot soup but the DM not yet ready for business so not an option. Chris chatted to MR friend who was with her teenage son who Chris had delivered.
Then we got the bikes in and on the car reasonably efficiently and I went home via Walsden. After unloading at my end I had hot chocolate with rum in it and went to bed with a hot water bottle.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Tod to Hebden and back by bike 24/11/12

After pimping up our hair, Chris and I cycled along the canal to Hebden. It was really cold and our fingers only got warm when we stopped. I managed to get my wheel stuck in a rut in a very cold run off from the canal. Having just had to have a new wheel after my ridiculous episode with the bike on the roof rack last week, I had to ease the wheel free whilst getting soaked through as I didn’t want to incur any more expense. I’ve been really obsessive about making sure the bike is properly on the rack too. Triple checks. Wearing trainers meant that my foot was cold and wet. Winter cycling is a wholly different game and not something I’ve ever done much.
We have discussed footwear quite a bit. Chris has some overboots but they weren’t with her yesterday.
Arriving at the Alternative Technology Centre, we first got some hot chocolate and a piece of tiffin to share. Then we got stuck in pimping up our now totally filthy bikes with LED wire, I think that’s what it is, it’s basically wire that lights up. We wound the wire onto the frames and then glued it in place with a hot glue gun, that was good fun, I’d never used one before. By the way, don’t stick your finger in the hot glue because it hurts! Sometimes, I think only half a brain is in place.
Nancy came along and had a hot chocolate too and some of the tiffin went her way. She said all the right things about our hair!
Next Chris took me to the bike shop, here I bought waterproof socks and some proper cycle shoes, which were straight on. Chris also got socks and put them on. The man in the shop was a bit of all right which made the shopping a most enjoyable experience.
Then after shoving some food in our faces rather hurriedly, we whizzed back along the canal to Tod with dry and warm feet.
We had a drink in the Bear, mine was hot apple juice with a cinnamon log in it. Lovely. Then Chris went to do her stewarding for the Valley of Lights parade and I cycled back to the car, did my triple checks on the bike and then home to wash it off. All my gear was incredibly filthy so this seemed to take a long time.
The night cycle ride where we get to show off our bikes is on Thursday.
I didn’t take any photos as I was too cold.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Hollingworth bike circuit 18th November 2012

Chris and I did a two hour circuit from the visitor centre car park. It was lovely and sunny but chilly. Lots of dogs taking their humans for an airing. We went to lots of reservoirs including Norman Hill and Piethorne and a little one the map just called Resr.
It was my turn to fall off but it was a soft landing in a cold, wet, muddy puddle. I must have been looking especially weedy as 3 kind men helped me get the bike over 3 different gates. This was a permissive route along bridle ways so the huge locked gates were annoying.
We got back to the cars and got the bikes loaded up. At this point I told Chris I’d got the knack of getting the bike on the car!
We had a drink in the visitor centre cafe, very nice espresso. Then we set off, as I drove towards the car park exit the bike fell away from its central strut. We both stopped and I created a nice little traffic jam because those leaving the car park were unable to mount the pavement.
Chris held the bike steady, mainly with her head and another kind man came and yanked the bike out of its stuckness fortunately leaving Chris’ head intact. I was a bit stressed at this point and although I managed to thank him, I was upset because I’d seen the bike’s back wheel bending so it didn’t sound very gracious.
I moved the car and let the traffic jam go. Then we put the bike in the back of the car. I drove home and got the bike washed. The back wheel was badly buckled so I got it back on the roof rack. I know where I went wrong as I’d failed to tighten the central support strut properly.
I later went to collect Carol from Halifax in the car and the bike was fine on top so I have learnt how to do it properly.
Today I took the bike to the shop and it will be ready on Thursday and fortunately not too expensive a repair.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Widdop and Hardcastle Crags

I got the bike on top of the car relatively easily. We parked in the upper car park at Hardcastle Crags and set off along the road turning off before the steep zig zag section.
Went up to the first Gorple reservoir and then to the second. Here we decided to return to the first and fork to get to Widdop.
Then crossed the road and along to Walshaw Dean. Turned right along past some farms and a tiny hamlet. Chris came off her bike as we crossed the path to give way to some cyclists coming up. She hurt her ribs and her hand was sore but she soon got back on. Then we headed down down to Gibson Mill. Here we had to stop to sample Nat Trust cake and tea. It was ok, my first time in the mill. Now need to return to see round it.
Then a short walking section to get back up to the top car park.
Managed to get the bike back on the roof but less gracefully this time.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


Widdop bike ride 9th September 2012

Chris and I met up in the top Hardcastle Crags car park on the Widdop road, both getting our free National Trust parking.
We set off along the road and then did the wiggly and very steep bit up to and past the pub. I pushed my bike up that section but Chris stayed on for quite a while.
Then we tootled along to the further Widdop car park where we struck off to cross the footbridge and then carried the bikes up the steps.
We were able to ride for quite a while until the path got very steep. Went through a ferocious 20 second shower which made me cold in that time. But it really did only last that long.
A bit more pushing and then we sailed along for a quite a bit, the path started to go down and we both decided that we would only have to get back up so we headed back up the path and then tried to strike across country, however this soon got to boggy. And although Chris and I rarely walk or cycle without bog, we actually made a hasty retreat. Instead we headed across to Widdop reservoir alongside the big rocky outcrop. This was only a short bike pushing section and so would be possible to do another time. This takes you to the reservoir from where you are then on a great track which is in good enough condition for a relaxing ride so we whizzed along, passing the old scout hut and were soon back at the road.
A great ride!

Scout hut
That a way
Soaking up the rays as per usual!
Not sure yellow my colour! But good on the road.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.