I am what many people describe as ‘grumpy’. I don’t celebrate christmas. I don’t make a big deal about birthdays. I don’t share anything about my private life with anyone I don’t want to. Hell, I don’t even write this blog in my real name. As a rule, I don’t much like to be around other people and the few I choose to have in my life respect that and don’t question me on it too much.
Perhaps this goes some way to explaining why, given the opportunity to go for a recreational ride, I will normally seek out roads / trails where other people are not; this so called festive period has been no exception.
I am blessed to have some very dramatic scenery on my doorstep and even more so to have my ever patient girlfriend to explore it with; here’s the view over Ashworth Reservoir in the howling wind on new year’s day. I’m sorry to say a great many others had also descended on one of my favourite spots to walk off the excessive eating and drinking they were brashly bragging about to each other at high volume as they slopped about the trails in highly inappropriate footwear, pausing only to yell at their fat children / dogs or drop some litter. [insert disgruntled expletive here].
And so, after my traditional xmas day cycle up the affectionately named hill of death (also known as the Ashworth Road, Rochdale), I turned off the A680 and onto the innocuous looking Bamford Road.
At first, it starts out much like any other country lane lined with pretty dry stone walls and sporting a freshly laid layer of smooth, smooth tarmac. Before long however, as is often the way with small rural roads in these parts, the tarmac starts to fall into disrepair before petering out completely and giving way to whatever hardcore the local farmers have decided to spread on the surface.
A little further along and even the hardcore disappears; the surface eventually ends up consisting of the sandstone bedrock, loose rocks that have been worked loose by the rivers running across the ‘road’ and the residual sand left behind. Thanks to the relatively low rate amount of traffic seen by this road, even nature has managed to reclaim a little bit back here and there with well stocked hedgerows and even a stubborn central strip of grass. Other than me, my riding buddy, 2 Surlys and a few friendly wagtails, I didn’t see another soul for ages.
This. This is Troll country. This is somewhere I belong.