A Father's Day Adventure
Anyone who is familiar with the Peak District and enjoys mountain biking will know that the routes between Hayfield and Edale offer some great riding. That being said, the idea of bikepacking the 8 miles from Hayfield to Edale for a night seems a little underwhelming. Unless, that is, you happen to be a 6 year old who's just been asked if they'd like to use the Alpkit Tandem, in which case an 8 mile bikepacking trip suddenly seems like an absolutely epic adventure.
Fitting anything into a 6 year old's busy schedule is nigh on impossible with the constant commitment to gymnastics, swimming lessons, and the seemingly never-ending stream of birthday parties. But Father's Day provides us with a convenient gap in the diary which, coupled blue skies, we just can't miss. Upon returning from the customary weekend birthday party, we pack up the tandem and are on our way. Setting off on in the late afternoon sun is an absolute joy and we make the most of the long summer evenings, stopping regularly to rehydrate, snack, and generally enjoy the route.
Parents who ride bikes have a desire for their kids to love bikes. Unfortunately an eagerness for this to happen can often backfire, so as our route is one that I have ridden regularly, I am careful to keep in mind that this is not just a bike ride for Daisy, it’s an adventure.
We arrive at Upper Booth campsite in the early evening. A basic, yet beautiful site with a toilet and shower block and little else, it’s completely full but thankfully we’ve pre-booked. We find a patch of flat grass and set about pitching our tiny backpacking tent before digging out the camping stove for a hot drink and some much needed food.
Within minutes Daisy has made campsite friends and is off exploring the site in search of anything that takes her mind off her aching bum - she’s loving the whole experience which gives me a satisfying glow.
Making the most of the long summer days to stop and take in the views | photo: David Knowles
By 9.30pm a retreat to the tent is the only option as midges are out and biting, and it’s not long before she is flat out in a deep sleep which is, amazingly, unbroken until morning.
After a final play with Daisy’s newly made campsite friends, we pack away the final bits and pieces and set off in search of breakfast. 6 mile's riding to Hope with its array of cafes is swallowed up quickly. The village is waking early to take advantage of the mini heatwave: the Old Hall is busy that so service is slow, but we don’t mind as we bake in the early morning sun and apply yet another coat of sunscreen before 10 o’clock.
The Full Derbyshire Breakfast is served with a smile and washed down with tea served in a china cup, Daisy opts for a huge strawberry ice cream to complete the morning feast.
We can't think of a better spot to wolf down an english breakfast before a day of riding | photo: David Knowles
We decide it’s time to press on: the climb out of the Hope valley awaits us. As we approach the iconic Winnats Pass it is obvious that the road is too busy with traffic to safely attempt the steep climb out and decide the best option is the old Mam Tor, Broken Road. The road was closed to motor vehicles in the 1970’s and, as a result, this route offers a peaceful exit from the valley for walkers and cyclists. Although the gradient is gentler, it offers us a tough enough test in the increasing heat.
We make steady progress and soon enough are peddling happily along Rushop Edge, being steadily overtaken by participants in the Eroica ride, a festival of vintage cycling. We enjoy the long descent into Chapel-en-le-Frith and on to Chinley before returning home to Hayfield just in time for lunch.
What a fantastic introduction for Daisy into the wonders of bikepacking. At 6 years old, I fail to see how this would be possible without a tandem. We covered just 29 miles and were away from home for less than 20 hours, but the whole experience left us both buzzing and eager for our next trip.