Travellers' Tales: Trans Pennine Trail

A bicycle leans against folded chairs on a train in the bicycle carriage. It's carrying rear and front rack bags
Eddie booked trains not B&Bs
Eddie Miles cycled the 360km Trans Pennine Trail in rail-assisted stages

Living in Sheffield I’ve often seen signs for the Trans Pennine Trail. Curiosity got the better of me and I committed to ride it. Rather than book accommodation, I chose to return home by train each day, picking up the trail again the next morning. This meant breaking my journey at stations with a good connection to Sheffield. I finished day one at Stockport, day two at Goole, and returned from Hull at the end of the ride. Returning home each night meant I could travel light.

The start from Southport was easygoing, although I rode through a short summer downpour. Signage became harder to spot in urban areas and I got lost a couple of times, taking an unofficial route through Sale via the Bridgewater Canal towpath. The train home from Stockport was cancelled so I had to travel on services I didn’t have reservations for. Luckily the train crews were sympathetic.

Day two was the toughest part of the trip: 176km, including the Pennine crossing. An early start meant I enjoyed breakfast in Hadfield before climbing to the highest point of the trail, with the Woodhead Tunnel deep below. I was then in familiar territory as I sped towards East Yorkshire with the wind on my back.

The long day before gifted me a relaxed finale. I enjoyed pleasant backroads along the Ouse and the Humber before the last stretch on the Hull-to-Hornsea Rail Trail.