Eleven very brave people on nine bikes turned out for my first ever attempt at leading an official Wakefield MAG rideout; a few probably had a road map or sat nav shoved up their jumper just in case! We had a new face joining us for the day, Raf, and a fairly new face, Ron; nice to meet you both!
After the usual breakfasting joy we set off Huddersfield-bound (and back into known territory for me!) to make our way over to Outlane and down to Stainland and Barkisland to pass Baitings Reservoir on the A58 and a quick right turn down Cragg Vale to Mytholmroyd and on to Hebden Bridge (which turned out to be a bit too fast as I made my first rookie error and managed to lose everyone while waiting at the start of Turvin Road! Sorry guys, but at least you all know your ABS is working!)
After passing through Hebby B and navigating the U turn to head back up to skirt the edge of Heptonstall, we all enjoyed the undulations of Slack Bottom (tee hee) ...
... before turning right to pass the Widdop Reservoir.
The weather had looked a bit threatening all morning and it now decided to have a little rain on us so everyone had to wait while I attempted to get my waterproofs on over my boots! The cloud was hanging low in the valleys when we crossed the higher parts and the scenery was looking decidedly Ashley Jackson.
After the moors bit, we worked our way down through Nelson to the Booths at Barrowford for a quick Tea and Wee stop.
Henceforth we continued on through Blacko on the Gisburn road. Unfortunately, the road I had planned to take (Rimington Lane) was completely dug up so thinking fast I 'recalculated' and decided to do the next bit of the route backwards; we headed to the A59 and took a West and turned off at Pendle where we passed through the 'Nick of Pendle' to Sabden then round Pendle Hill to Barley on some narrow, gravelly roads (which weren't to everyones tastes!) and stopped off for a quick bit of cake, happy birthdays and 'He's a jolly good fellow' to Chas who's birthday it was!
We then made our way back to the A59 and crossed it to make our way to Slaidburn and up the very picturesque Lythe fell road/Slaidburn road to Bentham and the A65 at the Clapham Junction.
The weather had by this time decided to be a bit kinder to us and was lovely and sunny. It was then an easy blast down to Settle whereby we refuelled ourselves on jacket spuds (TWO for Raf, big lad) and various other things and allowed our bottoms a bit of recuperation.
We then hit the A65 to make our way to Keighley where we splintered off in our respective directions, and I'm sure I speak for all when I say relieved at the lack of lost-ness! It was a lovely day with some very varied scenery and I hope I'll be allowed to do another route if I promise to get the report done quicker next time!