In efforts to get rid of the Christmas excess, or make room for more on New Year’s Eve, Martyn, Andrew, Darren, Mark, Ginette and Ian, made the trek up the M1 to Ladybower in search some off road fun. With Martyn not sure if he had 3 hours in his legs Darren had chosen the route and lead us round. After a short warm-up on the road we hit our first off-road climb up to Crookhill farm. Martyn and Ginette took a steady pace as the rest of us tried to clean the climb. Once at the top a quick check on Darren’s new MemoryMap GPS unit had us on our way along Open Hagg and down to cross the A57. After a short blast along the valley it was time for a hike a bike sessions to pick up the Roman Road at Hope Cross. This rock strewn track soon claimed its first victim with Ian coming to an abrupt stop, over the handlebars to land on his knee and elbow. From here we came back across the A57 and up through Rowlee Farm and a track across the open land back to Hagg Side. Back at the cross roads we were at about a hour before we headed North to Derwent Reservoir picking up the road round Derwent and Howden reservoirs. Howden reservoir was in full flood with white water cascading down the dam wall. With the cold and damping starting to affect the fingers and toes it was time for a hot chocolate break at the Ladybower cafe. We were soon back on the Eastern side of Ladybower ready for the last climb up and over Whinstone Lee Tor. The slabs did not make the steep climb any easier. Once through the old barns it was back to the deep rutted tracks, where Ian had another lie down thanks to semi-slick tyres – not the best idea. After a quick look at the rain coming in over Ladybower it was all downhill to the Ladybower Inn, where Martyn and Ginette were already enjoying their food and drink.
Thanks to Martyn for putting the idea on the forum and to Darren for leading us up and down for 40km proper off-road biking.