It’s not often I put a route on here that I’ve failed to ride. However this one is rather special.
Word was out that the local council had re-surfaced Bamford Clough. I remember riding it around 30 years ago on my MTB and new it had been shut on health and safety grounds for several years due to rumours of exposed cables.
Also on this year (2021) the National Hill Climb Championships are heading up Winnats pass. If you’ve ever done it you’ll know that it’s a brute of a climb and heaven knows how I used to tackle it on a bike with 42 x 23 as the lowest gear !
The plan was to tackle Winnats and Bamford Clough and to make a morning of it three lesser known local ascents that are up there on general gnarliness – Sir William Hill, the Beast of Bradwell and the Dale.
Riding out from home (I try to avoid using the car for various reasons) Sir William was first on the list. A tough starts which kind of gets a little easier. Then a cruise along the tops with stunning views from the Barrel at Bretton and a long descent into Bradwell.
The Beast of Bradwell is a thug of a climb. I remeber on one club run nearly getting overtaken on the top section by a woman exercising her dog using her mobility scooter as I was pedalling squares into an immovable headwind.
From the rather barren summit it was down into Castleton avoiding the tourists that wander without looking and onto Winnats.
This is a corker of a climb as the wind usually funnels it’s way down the pass. The climb really gets going once you’ve reached the a grit bin on the left hand side once you’ve turned the corner. From here the road ramps up and it’s an epic battle between you, your bike and the road until the cattle grid at the top.
There’s a little bit of relief then a short effort to the top of Mam Nick where you are rewarded with a cracking descent into the Vale of Edale with Kinder Scout as your backdrop.
The road winds it’s way down the valley towards Hope. From here it’s on to Aston and Thornhill avoiding the main road which can be busy at times.
Next up Bamford Clough. This is where my plans all unravelled. At 35% plus this is a wall of a climb. It didn’t help that there were leaves on the road (sounds a bit like a British Rail excuse) and it was damp. However I’ll hold my hands up and say it beat me. It is however worth a crack for pure type 2 entertainement value.
Then it was onto Hathersage to tackle the Dale. This is a real epic of a climb which seems to go on and on, but you are rewarded with another corker of a descent at the top.
I’ve written the route below so it starts and finishes in Hathersage. That was you can get the train there if you’ve don’t fancy a ride out and also enjoy a celebratory beer in one of the many pubs at the end.