My calf muscles burned as my legs relentlessly pushed down on the metal peddles. I lifted my arm and wiped the sweat from my forehead. I was eager to get to the top of the hill to see the fantastic views which lay ahead.
We were in the Peak District cycling up a steep footpath which took us through green, luscious farmland. Signs warned us of the sheep and ewes. Shortly after this notification we were greeted by the pungent smell of sheep manure. Then the fluffy white animals lined the path. The mothers sheltering their young flinched as we rode by.
On reaching the top of the incline, green rolling hills surrounded us. In the near distance we could see the bright blue reservoir which we passed earlier that day.
Catching our breath and munching on peanut butter cookies I gazed towards our surroundings. No one was in sight. The sun glared down on us and lit up the adjacent mountains. Sparse clouds dotted the sky casting shadows on hills in the far distance.
‘Lets climb those rocks,’ my brother exclaimed.
‘Yes!’ I replied already running up the hill.
We left or bikes next to a dry stone wall and clambered over it. I precariously placed my feet over the top and jumped down. We marched up the grassy mound and reached the pile of rocks mysteriously piled on the top of this hill. On reaching the highest point I was faced with a sheer drop down and more spectacular views.
Patches of forest coloured in the hills to the North. While the land was ‘natural’ it was clear that it had been managed and manipulated by man-kind for farming.
We strode down and retrieved out bikes before zooming off down the hills we had just climbed. A cool breeze ran through my hair as I freewheeled towards the reservoir.
The last stretch of the ride was back along the disused railway line (so fairly flat luckily). The path was enclosed in woodland, sheltered from the scorching sun. It was a fantastic day of biking.
How to get to The Peak District:
Exploring the Peak District can be done easily with or without a car. One options is to take the train from London to Sheffield (2.5 hours) and then to Bamford (20 mins). From the station it is a five minute walk to a The Bike Garage where you can hire a bike for £30 for the whole day. The bikes are very nice to ride and the lovely man in the shop will lend you a map and recommend routes of varying difficulties. It is best to drop him an email in advance to reserve a bike your size (follow the size guide on their website).
Where to stay:
The Peak District is between Sheffield and Manchester. You could stay in one of the cities or there are hostels scattered across the Peak District too. Check out the YHA website for available accommodation. Alternatively you could wild camp or bivy bag it. While strictly illegal in the UK wild camping can be done.
If biking doesn’t tickle your fancy there are many other options available. You could go horse riding, gliding, hiking or simply go for a road trip and enjoy the beautiful landscape.
Which places have you visited in the Peaks?