Decided to do something a bit different on Saturday and joined in a group bike ride organised by YACF. The route was a circular one starting and finishing at Cromford (handy for the remaining railway, and not too far a bike ride from Nottingham or Derby). As is my wont I decided to cycle over, and made good time thanks to joining up with a couple of fast roadies in Ripley and having a group effort along the A6.
The route sets off along the A6 before a little bridlewaying onto the trackbed. Then the Monsal Trail is followed through a serious of impressive tunnels and over some high viaducts to Chee Dale. Here there’s a climb up to the High Peak trail which leads back to the start. The tunnels are quite long, and while they have basic electric lighting a good front light will make things more pleasant.
As it follows an old railway line, and then an old cartway the route is pretty flat. Though there is a pretty hilly bit that joins the two together. To get back to Cromford I decided to shoot down Wirksworth hill from Middleton Top which is good fun (43mph until I got stuck behing a slow car), though there is also an off road route down which bring you back to Cromford Canal for an off road route back to the start. Though this descent is quite steep and has some nasty drainage ditches which may catch the unwary.
The surfaces of the trails are pretty firm. I did this on a road bike with almost slick 25mm tyres without any problems. Though if it’s wet it may be a little slippy in places. The trails are shared with walkers and equestrians, so please be careful and considerate.
Our ride around took about 6.5 hours for ~40 miles, but that included a long lunch at the Royal Oak, cake stops, loitering for photos and stops to regroup.
The route below may jump about a bit as I’d set the Garmin to Smart logging rather than my normal 1 second rate, and it looks like it’s cut some corners in places. (It also means I’ve worked out how to get a gpx plotted onto an Ordnance Survey map :)).