Reaching Peak Fitness in Derbyshire

Soz, that’s a complete pun.

Since the 10k race a couple of weeks ago I’ve barely trained.  My Achilles has been aching since the race and work & studying has been mental.  So I’m nowhere near peak fitness. But I’ve had a cracking few days in the Peak District where I’ve managed to get training again.

A view of the Manifold Trail

A view of the Manifold Trail

Staying in a cottage at Hulme End on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border has provided a stunning location for getting out on the roads and trails.  Every first morning needs a scouting mission.  So heading out on my old commuter hybrid bike (now with the bike seat bracket attached) I set off down the Manifold Trail.

The trail runs down the side of the Manifold river so it’s fast and flat but surrounded with stunning scenery. After a mile in the open, the river drops down whilst the trail stays high and the hillside provides shelter from the outside world. The leaf covered path winds parallel to the river, passes under an old railway tunnel and over the occasional tributary whilst constantly flanked by sheep grazing on steep hills.

After 4 brisk miles my scouting destination arrives in to view. Thors Cave looms directly in front of the path, 75 metres up in the rocky hillside on the opposite bank of the river.  It’s an impressive sight, by no means the only cave overlooking the trail, but the only one with some kind of path to aid the ascent.  Pretty quickly I was able to tell that this was going to be a great destination for the kids and a good target for my eldest to ride to on her own.

Me and Thor's Cave

Me and Thor’s Cave

The return journey is moderately more challenging than the outward leg with a slight incline most of the way.  Passing just a few other casual cyclists and the odd dog walker, the ride takes no time at all.

That is a different story when we do the ride with the girls the next day. The round trip takes us two hours.  But this time the adventure included a walk up to Thors Cave, a celebratory photo shoot to mark the achievement of a 2 & 6 year old both scaling the rocky path unassisted, and a game of eye-spy all the way back!!

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