Friday, 9 October 2009


It's fantastic out right now. Enough recent rain to damp down dried-out loose trails and hold them together but not so much that things are draggy and sludgy. The Shooting Cabin is a primo ribbon of white, quarzite sandpaper dotted with currant bun gritstone boulders and improbably fast and grippy.

Crested the climb last night to see folded alp-style summits layered across the skyline in the last of the evening sun and just stood and gawped. No rushing, no hammering, just a steady, smooth cruise into the light then down the not quite legal narrow singletrack that clings to gorse-smothered hillside above Kinder Reservoir then dives down into William Clough with the light dying all the while.

Then lights on and up behind the quarry and onto Chinley Churn. Tired legs still spinning away with a life of their own. Picking through puddles and rocks, following familiar lines under the water, diving directly over the ever-changing rock step then. Stop. Gawp. Huge hanging moon filling the sky like a cartoon still. Breathtaking.

Chilly now with cold hands, colder for being dunked along with the rest of my body in a Jon-sized puddle on top of Middle Moor. Rail the descent, tip-toe through the walk-through garden, then the dive down Highgate Lane into Hayfield, fly in and don't touch the brakes on the narrow singletrack for rushing gorse-lined speed.

All that's left is the trundle back home, salivating tragically at the thought of fish and chips and tea. And the reality is at least as good as the imagining. Summer? It's over-rated...

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