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A national coast to coast route for recreation and transport – for walkers, cyclists and (in parts) horse riders

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A national coast to coast route for recreation and transport – for walkers, cyclists and (in parts) horse riders

TPT in 4 Days for Bliss and Lupus Charities

Nov 8, 2013

(Mark St, Mark H, Mark Su and Dan C)

topimageWell, we decided to bike the Trans Pennine Trail over 4 days, starting at Southport on Saturday 31st March and completed it Tuesday 3rd April at Hornsea at 4pm: 237 miles ridden (allowing for a couple of necessary route changes)! Here’s a brief report of our trip:

Day 1: We met up and left a sunny but windy and cold Southport at 10am and quickly found the trail start. The route was easyish to find and we got off to a good start. I had the first puncture of the trip after 13 miles then Mark Su got one 3 miles later outside Aintree racecourse. After 30ish miles, Mark H has the first accident following a fight with a kerbstone. We patch him back together with the help of my first aid kit and continue, avoiding the broken glass and wandering pedestrians through areas of Liverpool. Despite it being Saturday, we can’t find any pubs that are open at lunchtime for a bite to eat, so are forced to eat crisps and chocolate at the Fiddlers Arms on the banks of the Mersey. We arrive in Altrincham at 5pm having biked 52M and stay in a nice B&B, next to a Chinese restaurant (which unfortunately isn’t open yet). Bizarrely, we find 2 other pubs in the town that don’t serve food on a Saturday night (or so they told us) and have to settle for a greasy Pizza Hut meal.

topimage-1Day 2: We left Altrincham at 9am and followed a lot of the river through Didsbury seeing a plethora of runners, bikers, walkers and horses. Reddish Vale is simply beautiful with the viaduct in the background and we take advantage of the sights for a stop and munch break. The trail takes us around a lake and the gorgeous weather makes biking easier until we hit Hadfield (where they based ‘The League of Gentlemen’) to find that we still have to do 25 hilly miles across the Pennines. I have a brief accident with a parked car as I was going up a steep hill towards Hadfield (I didn’t see it, honest!) but suffer only a bruised thigh and embarrassment for this! Pedalling alongside the reservoirs into a NE energy-sapping wind. Here, we manage to ride around 8mph into the wind, even though we’re going as fast as we can. Mark St starts to suffer but we egg him on and manage to get over the hill to a glorious view of the Pennines. Woodhead flies by and we all enjoy the fast downhill into Dunford Bridge. Eventually, we get to Silkstone and negotiate the familiar and fastest part of the trail, bombing towards Barnsley at up to 20mph! Mark H gets a puncture as 8 hours are done and 60miles biked and we stay at our respective homes in the town.

Day 3: We set off from Barnsley at 9am heading for Howden, but planning to stay at a B&B near Goole. Lovely day but again, much of it was into a NE headwind, slowing our progress on the exposed trails and roads. My bike starts to protest, locking up twice near Dearne Bridge, coupled with a seat that seems to have a mind of its own, constantly dropping down. The chain gets jammed and I get told that I mustn’t go onto the ‘granny cog’ as it’s causing the problem! Braithwaite is lovely alongside the canal, but the exposed stretches make it very difficult for me to keep the pace up and I have to be ‘rescued’ a few times so I can draft off the lead bike to minimize the effort. It takes 32 miles for me to get my legs up to speed(!), whilst the others are continuing to do well. We break for food at Tesco’s and the Mark Su mends his second puncture of the trip, whilst we sit on the grass munching. Mark Su has to go back to work for Tuesday, so we drop him off at Howden station, then go to the Goole B&B. We stagger out for food having biked a shattering 70M!

Day 4: Just 3 musketeers now, once more into the NE wind plus cold winds and bursts of rain – great! Riding through many small hamlets, like Laxton and Elloughton, and the interestingly named Swine a bit later, plus some featureless paths, we are often forced to do 10mph into the wind – legs burning and feet are frozen! My bike is really creaking now and I was hoping that it would stay together for the last push! A nice look at the Humber Bridge, plus a detour around the park at the base of it, as we can’t find the exit! A stop for a delicious sandwich at a Brewer’s Fayre nearby then we negotiate a quick, but concise route through Hull. Leaving Hull, we are onto an old railway track heading for Hornsea, but into the wind again. Our legs are burning now with the effort and although the path is quick, the lack of features make these miles hard to keep going. We manage an average 10 to 12mph on this path and our quads are protesting but we’re all praying they’ll keep the pedals turning. Finally, we arrive in a freezing cold, wind-battered Hornsea for the end of the trip at 4:10pm. 55 miles for the day, and a total mileage of 237 miles! I was half expecting a crowd and fanfare of trumpets to herald our achievement, at the very least a welcoming chip shop, but as ever, no crowds and the chippie is shut!

Thanks for all the trail markings and I can confidently say that we all enjoyed the TPT very much. We have all been raising money for the Lupus and Bliss charities and feel that these deserve a mention too.

LUPUS UK is the only national charity supporting people with the immune system illness Lupus. It also provides funding for medical research into this life threatening and debilitating illness. Charity Registration No 1051610

BLISS campaigns for improvements in neonatal care so that more babies survive and have the best quality of life. BLISS supports the development of innovations in all aspects of caring for premature and sick newborn babies. Charity Registration No 1002973

Thanks again, Mr Dan Cooper

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