Mountain bike newbie in the peak district

Posted by Paul​ Walton on January 03, 2009 0 comments

4 years ago I went on a trip to the peak district and due to the fact that I had only just started riding, it ended in a disaster for me. This was going to be my first mountain bike adventure and I was going to enjoy every last minute of it, even though I was alone.

I spent several months of what I thought was planning my trip. Reading magazines to find the best places to go in the peaks, booking a b&b close by and buying a map.

Because I wanted to explore the best of the peaks I decided to go to the dark side and booked a b&b close to Hayfield, a place called Spinney Bottom Cottage. A very nice couple owned the b&b and the husband was an avid mtber himself when time allowed!

Because of the location in which the b&b was, I found it very difficult to find my bearings and get any good riding done. I asked for advice at the b&b and was told to stay clear of the Pennine Way as this was for walkers! I read a few bike books that they had, but the route maps in them did not make any sense to me, so I went out by chance.

For some reason I wanted to find 'Kinder Scout', (which I'd read up on in magazines) but found I could only access it via the Pennine Way (with my then limited map reading skills).
I made my way up towards Glossop, and the start of the Pennine Way. It struck me that I had 2 choices once there. 1 go back and 2 climb the peak, like a tit I climbed the peak with the bike on my back. No end of people passed me on their way down and I continued to climb!

Before I knew it I had lost the trail and the people had stopped passing me and all I could see when I looked up was heaps of peat all around me. Panic hit me immediately and I started to run like a headless chicken, to where I had no idea, as I had totally lost my bearings and no matter which way I seemed to turn I just hit a wire fence.
So I got my map out and realized it had no indication of where I was because now I know that it was the wrong bloody map and not an OS map! All I had was my mobile phone and a compass. The mobile was a waste of time to begin with because I could not get a signal! But as luck would have it I got just enough to contact the b&b to tell them I was lost. They told me I needed to head due south to find the nearest road. So out came my compass and headed due south like instructed. I came to a point where I could see a road but found that to get to it I needed to either follow as instructed, due south that led me over the moors or follow the what I now know to be snake pass. Because I was panicked and scared I continued on course, due south. Within seconds I was grabbing hold of my bike for dear life whilst falling down into a peat bog. The bog was big enough for me to fall into but not my bike so I managed get myself out and went back to the pass and headed towards the road.

As I got back to the road and started to ride I realized that I had nothing left in me and all my energy had been sapped from my system. With no reserves left in my backpack, (as I had used it climbing the peak!) I got as far as the Ladybower reservoir and stopped, getting out my mobile and ringing the b&b for some help.
Being a mountain bike newbie in the peaks is bad enough, but being a mountain bike newbie alone and unprepared in the peaks is just plain stupid!

Many thanks to Spinney Bottom cottage for all your help!

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