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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Sims Sycles Staffordshire

Retired Ranger Rides Rather Rough Railway Route at Rudyard, Rushton Spencer and The Roaches.
 
Rudyard Lake, a few miles NW of Leek in Staffordshire was my primary objective on this ride, the lake having been having built  as one of  the means of supplying water to the embryonic Trent and Mersey Canal.  This was in 1798, but I cannot recall hearing about it at the time.
 
Alongside the lake there once was (until Dr.Beeching came along), a railway joining Uttoxeter to Macclesfield, and part of this has subsequently become a cycle path, albeit with a rather poor surface in places, but all is not lost since there is now a narrow gauge  railway with some delightful little engines, which carry steam enthusiasts, the disabled, and those too lazy to walk or cycle, a mile or so alongside the lake.



Almost ready for the off.  All we need is a driver.  This is Rudyard Station where there is a small café. Not recommended however, as they do not allow bikes and they have no toilets.  There are much better facilities at the café across the dam.

Lots of huffing and puffing as the engine pulls away from an intermediate stop at the dam.
Strange, isn't it, how we wave at people on trains and yet we don't wave at people in cars or in aeroplanes.

Rumour has it that the parents of Rudyard Kipling named their son after the lake where he was conceived. Well not actually in the lake of course.
Also we hear that Florence Nightingale takes her name from the city of Florence where she was conceived, and  (according to comedian Jack Dee) a similar fate befell her brother Bus-shelter Nightingale.
The original name of Rudyard is supposedly derived from that of a guy called Rudd, who must have had a yard hereabouts.  He claimed to have killed Richard 111 at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
The king's remains (less his feet, since he was de-feeted in the battle) were recently exhumed from a car park in Leicester.  The search goes on for his car since Leicester City Council are anxious to recover the parking charges which have racked up over the passing years.
 
 Anyway, here is a picture of the lake.

Rudyard Lake was popular with wealthy Victorians and many of them had boat houses built on the shoreline.  More recently some of the boat houses have been converted into very desirable houses.
Leaving the most Northerly tip of the lake a grassy path takes us to the small village of of Rushton Spencer, where the village pub is called the Knott Inn.  No use knocking, they're not in.

To the North, between here and Buxton lie The Roaches, a series of grit-stone outcrops which are a spectacular sight and a magnet for climbers. A tough ride there for cyclists on the narrow and hilly country lanes, but well worth the effort for the views from high up are superb.

Looking back over Tittesworth Reservoir where sadly there are no cycling facilities.  I shall complain to Severn Trent Water who have spent much of the profit from our water charges on providing good car parks and walking routes around the lake, but all I could find was a solitary "No Cycling" sign.
 It is said that a colony of wallabies, escapees from a local zoo, live on The Roaches, but I have never seen them.  Very visible however, hanging almost motionless on the up-draught from the rocks, birds of prey, buzzards I think, looking for a meal down in the bracken below.



This is Hen Cloud, the largest and most Southerly of the Roaches.  There are five other "Clouds" to the North. The cows seem quite oblivious to their dramatic backdrop, unlike the herd of llamas in the field opposite who just might think that they are in the Andes, where they really belong.
And finally a shot of the climbers, just about visible on the left of this picture. Rather them than me!
I get enough thrills riding a bike in Derby's traffic.



4 comments:

Trexrider said...

It is reported that the Buzzards are on the lookout for passing cyclists. They can strip a bike of its parts in less then ten minutes. Riders are safe though as most are old and tough.

Anonymous said...

Methinks we have a fan of ISIHAC writing here.

Well done Les

Will your next missive be a plethora of "P" words then?

Geoff

Les Sims said...

Perhaps.

John SWAN said...

Noted the little 'quips' here and there Les. Had to sort out the fact from the fiction!