Tuesday night I though, balls, chuck the bike in the car, go to work Wednesday and decide where to ride. In the morning I thought I'd have a bash at Lee Quarry, so sent Graham a quick txt, only to get one back saying dont bother, they were on fire. However, I had arranged to go over to Graham's the following Wednesday so he kindly offered to bring it forward a week and go out for a play round his way. He invited Mart and Tony too. All good.
So left work at normal time, but the M66 was fucking rammed so we arrange to meets at the mill near the end of the Motorway. A genius idea as it meant I didnt have the slog back up hill at the end of the night to Grahams house.
We set off along the Irwell and a quick pop up to Edenfield where we met Mart. Next a gravelly blast down to Irwell Vale and what a nice little place that is, very picturesque. The lads confirmed that it was fucking expensive place to live so I fucked that idea off.
Next was a pretty long climb up to the flanks of Bull Hill, long and steady we soon got plenty of altitude and Mart pointed out the memorial to some bird who got murdered up here.....
Pleasent run along to the Pilgrims Cross, the ground was bone dry and it was ace just spinning along with the views over the valley keeping us occupied.
From Pilgrims, I thought we might be going over to Peel, but no, we dropped down the excellent little track to the Horseshoe, nice and rocky and loose was a good blast. Regroup at the bottom and spun along to the start of the Bombhole where we met Tony, coming up from Walshaw. We were now into totally new stuff for me and it was fucking brilliant. Tight twisting singletrack rolling along the top of Redisher Woods before taking a tight turn and plunging into the woods themselves.
Tony was in his element, battering through, looking for the steepest and tighest lines and leading me, unseen into some pretty hairy stuff. I really suffered in here. SPD's and a saddle that only drops 25mm really fucked me up on some of the proper steep stuff. Gonna really have to consider getting a proper dropper post. Had a comedy moment on a steep turn in following Tony, where a branch went through one of my helmet vents and out of one of the rear vents... I was almost hanged by it!!.
Spin out through the woods, followed buy a climb back up to Peel Tower, here Tony took us down some steep tight, twisty singletrack which was fucking ACE! Loved it. Graham made a cracking effort on the last bit too. Back up towards Holcombe moor and then we turned left into Buckden Woods, locally known as "roots". Fucking obvious why too after about 10 yards. Loads of them all over the place. This down though was brilliant and I was in me element. Light fading, rough roots and a big rock garden near the bottom, we blasted through them all at a rate of knots. Fucking buzzing at the bottom.
Light was starting to sink now so we headed up to the Duckworth Arms at Shuttleworth for a couple of pints of Vindehop rounded off a fucking brilliant night ride. I love new trails!
On the way home, coming through Edgeworth, spotted a fresh moors fire taking hold on Turton Heights. Was an amazing sight in the dark. Took a pic but it didn't really come out. Proper ring of fire.