Saturday, October 17th 2020 – A great ride really that didn’t turn out as planned. I was heading for the Churnet Valley again, and rather than take the boring road up over Willslock and through Uttoxeter to Denstone, I decided to wind may way through villages to the west of there.
I was beset by mechanical problems in the first 20 miles. And it rained that horrid, fine rain that slowly but surely dissolves your determination, by getting into your clothes and just by being no fun at all. But against my better judgment, I pressed on.
And as I neared Alton, the sun started shining weakly, and the rain abated. I found beautiful views and a lovely ford near Hollington, and in the dying hours of daylight the Churnet Valley was as gorgeous as I’d hoped.
I had planned to do a loop up Ousal Dale and Dimmings Dale but it was such tough going up Ousal Dale that I decided to leave the valley via Oldfurnace and Greendale, which were gorgeous in their sunset, with the smoke-wreathed cottaged particularly enchanting.
I headed home to complete the 70 miler though a gorgeous sunset at Crakemarsh and up Buttermilk Hill in the dark, Marchington Woodlands and Hoar Cross, accompanied by a soundtrack of owls.
The windmill at Longdon and Black Swan at Smeltingmill were lovely treats, too.
A ride that started badly but finished rather well.