Thursday, 25 February 2016

Hambleton Peninsular

The tiny Rutlandshire village of Upper Hambleton was indeed fortunate when, in the late 1970s, the land to it's North, South and East sides was flooded to form what was then Empingham Reservoir, but we now know as Rutland Water.  Fortunate in that it was a few vital feet above the height of the new dam to the East and the consequent water level. Not only that, but a narrow ridge to the West side meant that, instead of finding itself on an island, the village remained connected to the "mainland" and the nearby town of Oakham.

The Hambleton Peninsular now forms the centrepiece of Rutland Water  and it's 7 mile circumferential path makes a five star bike ride.
Bikes can be taken by train from Derby to Oakham which is well worth a visit in it's own right having some lovely old buildings and lots of places to eat including a Wetherspoons.  Hourly trains from Derby, change at Leicester.  About £12 return with a Rail Card.

       Not many signs on this route but this is the only one that you need. You cannot get lost.  Just keep as close to the water as possible.

 From Oakham on the A606 road, this road leads us onto the peninsular and Hambleton village. It has a good cycle path alongside. Thith ith the Isthmus.

 First view  of the waters of Rutland Water from the North shore of the peninsular with Burghley House visible on the horizon.
Ignore the private road to the left here proceeding to the narrow off road track after the first hill.

 This is as far as cars are allowed, apart from registered angler's cars, so the only hazards for cyclists are the sheep and the inclines....

               ................................ both in evidence here.

      But the sheep are more interested in scoffing this winter feed.

            The undulating path reveals a new view from each apex.

       Several cattle grids keep the sheep from the woodland areas.

              On the horizon is the dam which holds the waters back.

 More views of the water as we  traverse around the South side of the peninsular.

 On reaching this tee junction turn left to access the tip of the peninsular.

 Down to the water's edge ......................................

     ........................where we can see Normanton Church on the far bank.

              Return to the tee junction and follow the path.............

        ..........................along the South side of the peninsular.

The path becomes a traffic free road, eventually returning us to the public road on the isthmus.
A Merry Isthmus to all our readers.

A superb ride with great views.  A few minor gradients but almost entirely traffic free.  Likely to be busy with cyclists and walkers at weekends, Half Term, Bank Holidays etc.
Note that Portaloo toilets are strategically placed around the route and these are for public use to avoid contamination of the reservoirs's store of drinking water, although the sheep do not use them.
Surfaces poor in places but rideable by most types of bike and rider.
Watch out for steep downhill gradients and sheep.

 To see video of parts of the route on YouTube, click HERE
And for The Official Tourist Guide to the County of Rutland video click HERE2

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Best Way to the Shops

Many of our off-road cycle routes are so useful for short journeys, as well as for longer recreational purposes.
Here in Mickleover on the West side of Derby, we have the choice of two routes to the Kingsway Retail Park, wherein lie Sainsburys, Halfords, Argos. Homebase and many other shops which supply our everyday needs.
The main road route is on very busy roads, admittedly with mediocre and intermittent cycle lanes, but not for the faint-hearted  and this may put off many potential cyclists.
The preferred route is across the fields on a well surfaced tarmac path, where there are no motor vehicles and the biggest danger is from pet dogs, who actually outnumber the cyclists.
Most of it is on National Cycle Route 54 which runs from Derby, via Burton-upon-Trent to Lichfield and beyond.
So take a look at my video of the route on YouTube.
Click HERE to connect.