Stroll – Lumb Bank

It was another dreary, drizzly day and I was feeling very lacking in motivation to exercise, even though I badly needed it, but then the phone rang – guess who? Yes – Lisa. She needed to be in Heptonstall for 4:00 pm and did I fancy joining her for a brisk stroll up there via Lumb Bank? You Betcha! It was by then 2:30 so I got ready in a hurry, dashed round to her house, and we set off at about 2:50.

We walked briskly along the busy A646 to the foot of Church Lane, then turned right and headed up to the start of the Colden Clough bridleway. Normally we walk part of the way up that and head off up the hillside to the left, or most of the way up with several options from there. We didn’t have time for a long walk today so we simply turned right where the bridleway forks just before it starts to steepen.

We dropped down to the old bridge and then off up the bridleway which leads to Lumb Bank near Slack Bottom. I haven’t been up there for quite a while and commented on that to Lisa, mentioning that I used to ride up it from time to time with a couple of pals from Heptonstall when we used to do spring/summer post-work MTB rides a few years back.

Murky view of the valley below Lumb Bank
Murky view of the valley below Lumb Bank

We power-walked up the steep bridleway to the road down to Heptonstall. It felt good to be breathing deeply again out in the fresh air.

I was just saying goodbye to Lisa in the village when who should come riding up the hill, but Elise – one half of the couple mentioned above! Husband Graham appeared soon afterwards and we had a quick chat at the roadside. We have decided to start up the evening MTB rides again once the spring finally arrives and the clocks have gone forward. I haven’t been doing much MTB riding the past couple of years so it is good to have that to look forward to again.

I started to get chilled standing around there, so I said goodbye and headed off back into town.

I got to the top of The Buttress and was about to walk down it when I was brought to an instant standstill by the sight of something gobsmackingly stupid!

Now I know that I’ve had several digs on this blog in the past at drivers who slavishly follow their Sat-Navs into ridiculous places but this one takes the biscuit! (I’m hoping that the driver at least had a Sat-Nav to blame!)

Perhaps the “Footpath to Heptonstall” sign at the bottom didn’t bother the driver. (S)He clearly wasn’t put off by the 25+% gradient and the slimy, slippery cobbled surface either.

The narrowness of the path was no problem – after all, who’d be stupid enough to be driving down it!

The No Through Road and Cycleway signs might have been a bit of a clue that this wasn’t a road, surely?

Cycleway, No Through Road
Cycleway, No Through Road

In my opinion though, the strongest hint came from the prominent blue “Unsuitable for motors” sign strategically sited at the entrance to The Idiot Zone

Unsuitable for motors
Unsuitable for motors

No, don’t let a few little details like that put you off – go for it! You may be the first person in over 60 years to attempt to drive up The Buttress but isn’t this exactly the spirit that put the ‘Great’ in ‘United Kingdom’? I have only one thing to say to you Sir/Madam – “You have the brain of a hamster, and would you mind giving it back – he can obviously make better use of it than you!”

Ladies and Gentleman, with enormous pride, your humble blogmeister presents…

Unsuitable for motors
Wassup – it’s a proper road, innit?

Amazingly, the car actually managed to get 3/4 of the way up but could then go no further and the driver had a very tricky and nerve-shredding descent in reverse back down to the road.

Okay it’s not quite in the same league as… Base-jumping without a parachute, Hungry Great White Shark dental inspections or Tightrope walking in strong winds (without a pole or a safety net) but it certainly made me smile in a ‘head-shaking-slowly-from-side-to-side-while-staring-towards-driver’ kind of way! 😉

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2 Responses to “Stroll – Lumb Bank”

  1. But of course (s)he was allowed up there, the signs were for other people 😉

  2. The vehicle was a 4×4 (if it hadn’t been, I’m pretty sure that it wouldn’t have got that far) and it did cross my mind that the driver was only doing it to test the car.

    I’m going to try and ride up The Buttress one day when I am really fit. I tried riding down it once but only made it about 20 yards before deciding that it was too dangerous. I’m amazed that it is considered suitable for a National Cycle Route! 😯

    Oops – Goodspeed has just sent me a text saying he is on his way over for the Cragg Vale ride – I’d better get ready!

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