July 2012 Southport – Hornsea
Think it probably started one drunken night when we were deciding what mad idea we could come up with for the summer, myself ( Simon ) and my best mate Paul, with being avid mountain bikers since our teens, came up with the idea of riding the Trans Pennine Trail.
After completing this amazing experience I promised myself that I would write an account to help others planning the ride as I found the blogs on here very helpful when we were planning stop overs, distances etc.
I will write about what we did and hopefully it will give you some help if you are planning on riding the trail at sometime.
For a start we are both 37, quite fit and active ( which you will need to be ) and have mountain biked, mainly in the peak District, for the last 20 years. We live in Doncaster and the Trans Pennine Trail runs about a mile behind where i live so thought it would be a fitting ride.
Fortunately after all the rain we had through June & July, the Gods were looking down on us and gave the perfect weather forecast for the days ahead – cloud & sun, no rain due and winds to a minimum.
Packing was selective, as I had never really rode with a large rucksack on before for some distance, keeping clothing to a minimum, bike tools & innertubes, small sizes of all the toiletries etc. We had booked into B&B’s for the each of the nights so we were all set.
YS – Simon at Southport
Paul’s wife Liz kindly drove us over to Southport on the Friday evening, we stopped at the Birkdale Guest House on Liverpool Road in Southport which is highly recommended. An immaculate guest house, £75 for a twin room, lovely couple who run it, securing bikes away was not a problem and about a 10 minutes ride to the start point on the sea front.
Saturday morning we started out from Southport, we had decided the first day to really go for it and had booked into a B&B at Hadfield, which would give us approx 80 miles riding, would have started to tackle a few hills already before we got to the Woodhead Pass on Sunday and would hopefully leave Sunday’s ride going over the Pennines that bit easier.
I was pleasantly surprised at the beautiful scenery as we rode, Leeds Liverpool canal section is nice in particular. The signage is excellent for most of the way, a few missing signs or hidden by tree branches etc but on the whole they are pretty good.
Would definitely recommend buying the Trans Pennine Trail maps ( you only need the two that cover West – East and not the one that covers the North – South section ). Stockport does get very busy and the signage is confusing in places but we managed to get through the centre with just a couple of small wrong turns.
We arrived at Hadfield just after 7pm after setting off at 8am from Southport and 84 miles later, a very tiring day but fortunately the many months of 6am jogs and covering between 50 – 80 miles most weeks riding to work had paid off !
We had booked into a guest room over the cafe in Hadfield ( www.hikers-and-bikers.co.uk ) which was £60 for a twin room. Great little guest house, again securing the bikes was not a problem and the landlord is a proper character ! Would recommend stopping here, good few pubs in Hadfield and a few places to eat.
Sunday morning we set off to tackle the Pennines at 8am, before we knew it we were at the Woodhead Tunnels and ready to start the ascent. It was actually not too bad a climb ( again, its going to help if your fitness levels are good ) and before we knew it we were at the highest point and then started a great mile or two downhill on the road
Onwards then towards Penistone, Worsbrough and Harlington before following the River Don to Sprotbrough ( which is only a mile from where I live ).
It was here we had arranged to meet my wife Jo-Ann and my 3 kids which was such a welcoming sight and we stopped for a hour at the Boat Inn at Sprotbrough by the river for a bowl of chips and a well deserved pint of Guinness !!
YS – Paul at SouthportWe had booked into a pub/guesthouse at Hirst Courtney not too far from Selby, so left Sprotbrough to continue the last 30 miles or so. At Braithwaite ( not far after Bentley ) we came across a great little cafe, Threeways Cafe, which is run from someones back garden – definitely suggest stopping here for a drink and snack.
We arrived at the Royal Oak Inn at Hirst Courtney after riding for 66 miles. ( £60 for twin room ) Again tired but no real problems throughout the day and another great place to stop.
Monday was scorching hot, setting off at 8.30am knowing every pedal was taking us closer to the end.
Again, some great scenery and tracks. Hull gets a little trickery to navigate but generally well sign posted again.
Thankfully after passing the Humber Bridge we knew it was the last leg of the journey and arrived in Hornsea at 4.15pm where my wife and father were waiting to take us home after 64 miles on the bike.
Total journey was 214 miles, a couple of wrong turns here and there but nothing major, no punctures, no bike problems, no injuries and an amazing experience.
A few recommendations –
Definitely train before you do it. I run regularly about 20 miles a week and was cycling between 50 – 80 miles a week for 4 months before the ride. You wont need to do this much but the more you train the more you will enjoy the whole experience.
Seems obvious but I regularly talk to people on the trail and you will be surprised how many who attempt it in groups who are annoyed with a couple of members who are slowing the pace as they have not trained enough.
Pack light, you wont need half the gear ( hopefully ) and you will be thankful halfway into the day that you did not bring all that extra stuff !
Buy the Trans Pennine maps or similar as you cannot rely just on the signage all the time.
I personally would recommend a mountain bike, especially if the ground is wet and muddy. Hybrid bikes would get you through the day but you may find the ground hard going especially if it has been raining.
Written by Simon Auty
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.