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The eastern fringes of the Dark Peak see fewer tyre tracks than the more central honeypots, yet there’s still some excellent mtb’ing to be had here, most of it within a gritstone’s throw of Sheffield and, of course, the M1.
This ride is a good example, and although it’s quite short, it’s a fine sampler of all that’s good about the riding in this part of the world.
It starts easily with a fine doubletrack that cuts a die-straight line across the classic Peak scenery of Totley Moor, passing close to an interesting airshaft in Totley Tunnel along the way. It then dips to a gate where singletrack takes over, and if the outing has a crux, this has to be it.
Slipping precariously around the steep flanks of Wimble Holme Hill then dipping steeply — with a gaping void to the right waiting to punish even the tiniest error — it just doesn’t last long enough. These trails seldom do. But there’s only a short field-crossing interlude before the fun starts again, this time with an excellent descent that ends with a big splash in Blacka Dike.
After some traction-friendly tarmac climbing it’s onto Houndkirk Moor, where it becomes a tad more technical for a short distance — easing at a crossroads with the main trunk road that tracks across the moor.
Compacted sand and crumbling red rock provide easy progress from here onwards, and the views back over Sheffield are absolutely superb. Then it’s down one last time, starting sweetly and ending in a technically trying rubble field that’ll do its best to trip you at the very last.