Friday the 13th; Unlucky for some
I and four friends recently embarked on the challenge of completing the Southport to Hornsea stage of the TPT over five consecutive days by bike. The ride is something that we have had ambitions of doing for a long time to challenge ourselves to achieve something out of the ordinary. After much planning, we started the challenge on Friday 13th August (not the best starting date)!
We set off by car (and van for the bikes) to Southport to begin our challenge, arriving at around 1pm. After advice from a friend who had completed the trail a few months ago, we made the conscious decision of documenting our progress using pictures rather than the stamping system. He had told us of the difficulties that he had encountered in stamping the card at certain locations.
The first leg was from Southport to Runcorn were we stayed at the Hotel Campanile (thank god it wasn’t tents)! After a brief excursion to Halfords for more inner tubes and a gel seat, day 2 entailed the leg from Runcorn to Hyde. After the rain the night before, all of us soon turned a shade of brown with all the mud. Day 3 was the dreaded Hyde to Doncaster leg with the small matter of the Pennines separating us. After much deliberation (and drinking) worrying about the challenge facing us, this was by far the most spectacular leg of the journey encountering the many reservoirs and moorland.
Day 4 was far more sedate, and sunny. With the sun beating down on us, we managed the leg from Doncaster to Brough in good time. The route from Brough to Hornsea was pretty much stamping on home turf as we all live locally, but the route certainly allowed us all to look at our local area from a different vantage point. We arrived (with time to spare for fish and chips) in Hornsea on Tuesday 17th feeling very tired but elated that we had completed the challenge together.
We all found the challenge difficult at times, but the massive contrasts over the route from the inner city of Liverpool to the remote barren landscape that is the Pennines kept us all focused on our goal. The route in general is maintained to an excellent standard and is certainly somewhere that we will all recommend to friends and family, even if they wish not to complete it in 5 days!
Pat and Bryan’s story has helped our Partners right across the Trans Pennine Trail network to see how changes can make the route more accessible. Take a look at what they've helped to accomplish.