Twigs crackle and dirt splatters as I weave and bounce by means of the woods, however my sleeping bag stays firmly fastened to my handlebars. When the GPS factors to a hidden path, we take it and uncover our lamp-lit bell tent sheltered by a sycamore tree. There’s a flickering fireplace, a hamper of goodies and two chairs awaiting our weary limbs. It’s a magical sight, particularly after 45km of mountain biking by means of the Peak District. “Glass of wine?” asks my boyfriend Tom.
I really like the concept of exploring the UK countryside by bike, carrying my tenting gear and sleeping beneath the celebs. However in actuality “bikepacking” generally is a trouble: there’s all of the equipment to purchase (to not point out carry), routes to plan, climate to fret about and wild tenting spots to suss out. Fortunately, there’s additionally a neater choice.
This spring, Pete McNeil, founding father of Journey Pedlars, is launching in a single day biking journeys for softies like us – the truth is we’re the primary to attempt one out. Pete gives the equipment, plans the route and units up camp in a non-public woodland that belongs to his father-in-law. “You continue to have to hold your sleeping equipment, and also you’ll be using independently,” he says, “however there’s a snug mattress, and different luxuries to stay up for.”
Our journey begins at Hope station – with the Sheffield-to-Manchester line working by means of the Hope Valley, the Peak District is well accessible. We arrive on a Friday night after a 2½-hour journey from London, and Pete greets us with high-spec Sonder mountain bikes and lights for the brief cycle to the Journey Pedlars bunkhouse on the sting of Hope village. Our delayed practice meant we missed final orders at The Previous Corridor Resort, so Pete kindly stepped in and cooked us pizza at his home.
Equipped … Using with sleeping bag on Peak District tracks
The subsequent morning, we pack our bikes and head off, with our 90km, two-day route pre-loaded on a GPS machine, all we have to do is “comply with the purple line”. Pete additionally offers us a paper map, marked with pubs and landmarks, similar to historic Caudwell’s Mill and the brand new Peak Ales microbrewery (the place we cease to pattern some ale on day two). He can tailor routes by means of the Peak District to swimsuit, adapting the size and problem to match your skill – something from a 10km family-friendly path to 200km of technical terrain. You could possibly even enterprise past the Peak District and add additional days, staying at different campsites and B&Bs.
“I’ve included my favorite bits of the Peak District,” says Pete, who moved right here two years in the past however has biked right here for a lot of his life, “so take your time, and benefit from the journey.”
We trip by means of fairly Castleton village because the solar beams down on Peveril Fortress. Quickly, we’re panting uphill to the summit of Mam Tor (517 metres), surrounded by sheep-speckled valleys and drystone partitions. We’re within the nationwide park’s White Peak space, the place the limestone bedrock creates rolling hills and deep river gorges that spawned the primary mills of the Industrial Revolution.
And breathe … taking a break on day one
Descending to Millers Dale, we hardly discover the light-weight gear strapped to our bikes any extra. On the Monsal Path – a former railway line with lengthy, darkish tunnels – we munch up the miles on the flat monitor to Bakewell, the place we cease for an compulsory slice of pudding on the Previous Unique Bakewell Pudding Store. With round 20km to go, we’re over half-way now.
Using out of Bakewell, we comply with a meandering stretch of the River Wye earlier than rolling throughout open moorland and pedalling by means of fairly villages to achieve our woodland camp.
That night time, we sip wine by the hearth whereas potatoes bake within the embers, a beef stew bubbles on the range, and tawny owls hoot at nighttime. Our hamper additionally comprises Swiss chocolate, marshmallows, and breakfast provides of native eggs, bread, jam and recent espresso. We’ve arrived right here underneath our personal steam, and it feels implausible.
With our bell tent warmed by a wood-burner, we sleep like logs till awoken by the daybreak refrain. Once we step exterior to repack our bikes, the forest is laced with morning dew and a woodpecker is drumming overhead.
Morning glory … getting breakfast going within the bell tent
Our route for the second day takes us by means of the Chatsworth Property, the place deer stare as we freewheel previous. Persevering with to the moors and dramatic cliff edges of the Darkish Peak space, the geology modifications from limestone to gritstone, and we comply with chocolate-brown paths that glitter with minerals.
Once we cease at Curbar Edge to admire the view, our bikes appeal to consideration. “Nice weekend for bivvying,” one man says, giving a nod to our professional-looking gear. “We’re dishonest,” Tom admits, explaining our night time underneath canvas. “Even higher,” says the person.
His phrases echo as we trip on, and we discuss planning our personal journey. We may simply match a range and bivvy luggage in our rucksacks, however planning a route like this might take effort and time, and our personal bikes again residence aren’t appropriate.
After virtually 30km, we arrive on the Fox Home pub. From right here, we may descend into the Hope Valley and take the practice residence from any station alongside the road. Pete had given us two choices: proceed to Hope and full our loop, or have lunch on the pub and take the shorter path to Hathersage station.
Two roast dinners later and we’re whizzing downhill to Hathersage, whooping out loud with the Hope Valley stretching out under us. We depart feeling impressed and liberated. I resolve I like this model of bikepacking: all the enjoyable and not one of the trouble.
• The journey was offered by Journey Pedlars. Journeys are tailormade; this two-night bike-glamping choice, together with lodging, meals, bike rent and gear, begins at £250pp; two-day/one-night bike-packing journeys begin at £60pp
In search of a vacation with a distinction? Browse Guardian Holidays to discover a vary of implausible journeys
This text comprises affiliate hyperlinks, which suggests we could earn a small fee if a reader clicks by means of and makes a purchase order. All our journalism is unbiased and is on no account influenced by any advertiser or industrial initiative. By clicking on an affiliate hyperlink, you settle for that third-party cookies will likely be set. Extra data.