I have a weekend off, and what do I find when I get back?
It’s gone all cold and muddy!

I don’t know what Nick and Shaman looks so happy about!

We started from Elbut Lane Stables – a handy meeting point if you’re dropping off a cowboy.
The loop round Rooley looks like this (right-click and open in new tab/window to see the full map):

Scotland Lane always seems to be muddy – it’s either beasts in the field or cowboys, or both.
Today is no exception – I can’t imagine why we thought it might be any different.

From the end of the lane we head for Croston Close Road. The first section is normally a rough, narrow track under a foot of water.
Today is no exception. But there are signs of council improvement afoot – maybe it’s going to be dry next time?

It’s pretty damp by the time we reach Cheesden Bridge, and we’re soon off downhill on Bamford Road to Shuttleworth. It’s a cling-on-for-grim-death-hoping-your-eyeballs-don’t-pop-out kind of descent. It’s a relief to have a bit of suspension.

Then it’s a quick drop down to Stubbins and out along Route 6 to Irwell Vale. Over the railway line (making sure Pete Waterman doesn’t run you down in a steam loco) then we head up. The first stage in the three part climb onto Scout Moor. Just a short section up to the M66.

We’re joined on this section by a gaggle of other riders:

Then it’s down the main road to a right turn at The Quarrymen’s Arms. It’s no longer a pub – not for at least ten years. Then the sharp climb up to Valley View Farm.

That’s the second section completed. Now for the third act. We leave the other group behind and head up Sand Beds Lane towards Cowpe Lowe.

It’s only a lane as far Sand Beds Farm, then it’s path.

Then we’re onto the unique tracks of Rooley Moor.
Stone slabs laid parallel, a cart’s-width apart. Smooth to start, but now rutted by the passage of steel rimmed wheels. Great fun to ride.
Then it’s on past the windmills, sprouting all over the moortop.
I think they’re quite attractive.

And back to the stables.
Anyone recognise the location of the next picture, the valley of the purple trees?

Not the best photos, but it was a bit wet and I struggled getting the camera out in fat gloves – getting the lens cap off was a nightmare!
Oh yeah – and shorts in February? I’m lost for words!

Rain’s stopped now and the sun’s come out. Typical!