Travellers' Tales: The great outdoors

Curbar Edge is a hill climb course. Hence the breather
When lockdown lifted, Lucy Coyne and two friends took a short tour of the Peak District

It’s our first group ride post-lockdown and the world has changed. There’s a lot of catching up to do.

Heading up out of Sheffield into the Peak District, hills slow the flow of words. It’s bright, windy and dramatic as the view opens out. Huge billowing clouds scud across the hills. Racing shadows are dark against the sunlit fields. The city slowly disappears behind us into the haze.

The threat of rain pushes us into a beech glade at Ringinglow, where we maintain our social distance with the cyclists on the other bench, swapping route info across the intervening space. After more climbing to Stanage Edge, passing other riders brewing up in the back of a car, we whizz down into Hathersage where we stop for our second coffee in nine miles.

Cyclists are out in force. In fact, people are in general. The roads are busy. We’re all enjoying the newly legislated freedoms.

Alongside the River Derwent en route to Grindleford, we ride through a cool, green tunnel of trees, wet with a fine mizzle. We’re heading for Stoney Middleton and our B&B. We arrive in the afternoon sunshine and it’s bustling at the Moon Inn.

Next morning, on the A623 for the first few hundred metres, we ride amid a car rally. It’s unnerving. Dozens of souped-up, loud, fast cars roar past us, racing towards Chapelen- le-Frith. Thankfully the Eyam turning takes us up and away. We regroup over coffee and cake before the long climb up from Calver to Curbar Gap.

Curbar Edge, towering stacks of monolithic gritstone high above us, is dramatic against the blue sky. We creep slowly up the lane to find scores of walkers, cars and cyclists at the top. Everyone’s enjoying the sunshine and the fabulous views across the Peaks.

It’s time to head back towards Sheffield, our annual tour reduced to a weekend. As always, though, we have shared a mini-adventure.