Sunday, 9 March 2014

First really nice day of the year

Brilliant weather today; warm, sunny, little wind. A real taste of summer and so different to what we've endured so far this year. The jet stream has at last moved north and high pressure dominates in place of the succession of Atlantic lows we have suffered for many months.

Ivan couldn't join us on manoeuvres today (funny handshakes or some such in Fleetwood on the distaff side, apparently) so Malc and I took the big bikes out for a change, he on his 650 Suzuki Freewind, me on my 1200 Moto Guzzi Griso. Peak Rail preserved railway at Rowsley, near Matlock, Derbyshire was our goal, and I led on the outward journey through Macclesfield, over the Cat & Fiddle, Harpur Hill, all blighted by slow Sunday drivers attracted out by the superb weather. The delightfully sweeping A5270 across to the A6 from Briarlow Bar was thankfully traffic free so we could enjoy it to the full. The Griso's big V twin engine with its Termignoni exhaust sounds amazing when you 'give it the beans', its howling bark echoing off passing walls; it even crackles and pops on the over-run like a Rolls Royce Merlin! It has oodles of character and is immensely powerful with enormous torque, which makes it a delight to ride; but you do have to be careful where you use all that power. A bit different to the little C90 where the throttle is always either fully open or closed!

If you click on any image below, you'll get an enlarged picture showing more detail:

Malc on the left with his Freewind this morning at his house, my Griso to the right

Lots of Sunday drivers notwithstanding, it was a great day for a ride. Here are the bikes at our destination; Peak Rail, Rowsley South

Industrial Hunslet 0-6-0 steam loco 'Lord Phil' at Rowesley South. This engine was apparently overhauled by Hunslets, but 'not too well' according to a railwayman I was talking too. It was subsequently completely overhauled in the Rowsley workshops and looks very smart.

Another view of the Hunslet

On the rear of the seven coach train is 'Penyghent', a 'Peak' class diesel locomotive. These engines used to be the mainstay of traction on the Midland main line before the Inter City 125s took over. Rowsley South is on the former main line from Manchester Central to London St Pancras referred to a couple of entries back in this blog (click here to go there), so 'Penyghent' is on home territory.

We crossed the tracks to the sheds for a look at the many diesel shunters stabled there, and I got a view of 'Lord Phil' from the other side

Looking north up the Derwent valley, with the 'Peak' on the rear of the train

A closer look at 'Penyghent' as the train leaves for Matlock at the other end of the line

Malc had programmed an interesting route home into his sat nav, a route which thankfully was more traffic free than this morning's; hardly surprising as at least one of these roads in the Gratton area was little more than a stony track with a stream running down it! The route left the A6 at Darley Dale and headed west to Winster, Gratton, and Long Rake past Arbour Low. Crossing the A515 Buxton - Ashbourne road and passing under the former Buxton to Ashbourne railway (now the Tissington Trail) near Parsley Hay just across the ridge from Pilsbury Castle on the Dove, brought us to Crowdicote. Crossing the Dove with lovely views to the north of the Dragon's back hills (Parkhouse and Chrome hills, once part of a coral reef!) we soon passed through Longnor, and on to cross the A53 Buxton - Leek road near The Roaches. From there our route home was the same as two weeks ago - Gradbach, Allgreave, Cleulow Cross, Bosley, and Chelford to the Bird in Hand at Knolls Green for a pint of their excellent beer, sitting outside with many others enjoying the last of the day's sunshine

Bird in Hand, Knolls Green

The 'Bird' was busy as well, also because of the super weather.

Just have to clean the bike now, after those 'lanes' in the Gratton area.


No comments:

Post a Comment