Travellers' tales: Over the Pennines

Woodhead Reservoir in north Derbyshire
With sun forecast, David Gladman took an impromptu tour of the Trans Pennine Trail

One of the benefits of being retired is the ability to do things at the drop of a hat. In 2019, seeing an Indian summer forecast for late September, my friend and I decided to go for a short, easy-to-organise tour. After a full five minutes of discussion, we settled on five days riding the Trans Pennine Trail from Southport to Hornsea.

Our only plan was to get a train to Southport, then work it out as we went. It worked brilliantly. We spent gloriously sunny days crossing the country on mostly flat, traffic-free tracks, trails, and back roads. Our nights were spent in a collection of budget hotels, all within a mile or so of the signed route, and spaced fewer than 50 miles apart. That was the range of the pedelec that one of us was riding. 

The Trail itself took us through or close by Liverpool, Widnes, Stockport, Penistone, Doncaster, Selby, and Hull. More important than the towns was the fantastic countryside; Longdendale Trail must take first prize for scenery. The terrain was mostly flat, although the Woodhead Pass felt 'hors categorie' to this 70-year-old!

We navigated mainly using a Garmin Tour, but the signage was clear. On the downside, we did find a couple of places where bikes had to be cajoled up steps using grooved ramps.

The moral of the story? Never miss an opportunity to get out and ride!