Sheffield FridayNightRide

we have nothing to lose but our chains

2009/09/04 Hidden Hillsborough

Next Sheffield FridayNightRide

Fri Sep 4 2009

Hidden Hillsborough

Meet Kelham Island Tavern

6-6.30 for a 6.45 start

 A ride out to see some of the sights of Hillsborough and some viewpoints in the hills behind Hillsborough with fine views over the Don and Loxley valleys – we take in the outlying villages of Oughtibridge, Worral and Loxley as well as we cross the Don Valley to get to the Loxley Valley – there are some steep gradients so push your bike along some of the way with Mick. About 13 miles

 I chose this theme after the positive feedback on the terrain and views when we did the Sheffield Flood 1864 ride.

 Bring lights and locks!

 Heads up!  Should suit most types of bike – may be some rough patches on Club Mill Rd, I am doing a final recce Aug 18 to check and will get back to you.

 Map and sights (I’ve hotlinked the placemarks to relevant websites) at,-1.50208&spn=0.071419,0.222301&z=13

 Route: Start at the Kelham Island Tavern and ride out through Shalesmoor and Neepsend and up Club Mill Rd to cross the new bridge at Owlerton into Hillsborough. We take in Hillsborough College, the Owlerton Stadium, Hillsborough Park and then go behind the Hillsborough Stadium to reach Clay Wheel Lane where we follow the Don and then climb up towards an old standing stone- the Birley Stone. As far as I can work out it is Saxon but I am not sure what meaning it had – placemark? signpost? spiritual significance?

 From there we zoom down into the Saxon village of Oughtibridge, cross the Don (at Oughti’s bridge – get it?) and test our muscles and after holiday fitness with a climb (or walk some of the way) up into the next village of Worral, check out the sights and then head down for Loxley Edge to take in the view across the Loxley Valley, down Long Lane and pits stop at the Admiral Rodney and past Loxley Village Greeen down back into Hillsbrough to take in the sites of the old tramsheds, the barracks, and Burton St School a major external and internal location for the Full Monty and the we take one of the most hazardous cycle paths in the world back to the Kelham Island Tavern for a drink and a chat.

 Ride Report.

In the eighteenth century a group of like-minded savants and intellectuals, among them Erasmus Darwin and Joseph Priestley, who all lived in the Midlands around Birmingham, used to meet every month in each others’ houses for dinner and conversation on a date near the full moon. The light of the moon provided extra illumination for them to make their travels to and fro and so they appropriated the name The Lunar Society and light heartedly called themselves ‘lunaticks’.

In a similar vein, 16 lunatics gathered at the Kelham Island Tavern for the first ride of a new season on the Friday closest to the full moon in September. It was challenging but rewarding but enough of the management speak!

16 Sheffield FridayNightRiders, 6 of whom were new to the FNR, gathered just after a light shower of drizzle by 6.30. This, the largest bevvy of riders ever on an FNR, set off through Shalesmoor and into Neepsend as the sun kept making brief flickering appearances. It had been raining during the week and Club Mill Rd, after the metalled bit, turned into a thick, viscous slurry of khaki mud but all who went up it managed to negotiate a path through it and all stayed on their bikes.

The rider on the swish road bike, having gone on the main road, was waiting on the bridge over the Don joining Club Mill Rd to Livesey St. as the rest of us cycled past the local youths shooting rats on the river bank. We all gathered on the bridge and then realised that we were one down already but even when one of us searched halfway back down Club Mill Rd we couldn’t find her.

Lesson: pls take the ride leader’s mobile number and if you are accompanying other rider(s) on an FNR make sure you don’t ride off unless you either make sure they know where they are going or ensure they join the main group. (The good news is we got a txt message later and the missing rider thoughtfully phoned the last pub to reassure us that she was OK)

So onwards between the Owlerton Stadium and the Hillsborough Campus of Sheffield College, across Penistone Rd and into and across Hillsborough Park to the top end of Leppings Lane, behind Hillsborough Stadium. Down Leppings Lane, briefly out back onto Penistone Rd for about 20 yds and left into Clay Wheel Lane.and through the industrial estate to turn right and up a steep incline onto Fox Hill for our first panorama of Sheffield. Then Mick led the group astray with Richard putting us right as the leg muscles tightened and the chains strained as we climbed up onto the aptly named Edge Lane. Then a lovely ride down and up to Whalejawbone Hill below Grenoside as the sun set amongst pink clouds over the Don Valley. As dusk started to creep in we had got to the Birley Stone and the second spectacular panorama of Sheffield from a very different angle, with the Arts Tower wrapped in white like some Christo sculpture and the Royal Hallamshire looking like a redoubt not a hospital.

Once we had worked out where and what everything was., lights on, back on the bikes and the reward of coasting down the hill into Oughtibridge to view the geese and where the Sustrans path will emerge from along the Don Valley. Now the full moon was out and it kept up with us as we pedalled out of Oughtibridge and up into Worrall …. and up into Worrall … and up into Worrall. Whatever, it was a long way up, but we got, I thought some friendly beeps and encouraging shouts from the cars with people on the way out for the night, and the ped I passed was amazed that we had enough puff to be chatting as we went.

And so we waited at the top edge of Worrrall as we all gathered together again and by now it was proper dark with the moon dimly lighting our efforts which were few from now on as it was more or less downhill all the way, we sped down Long Lane into Loxley, turn left towards Mailn Bridge and left at Loxley Green to get to Wisewood School where we turned left to climb and find Stour Lane and the Rose and Crown pub at the side of Wadsley Common.

Top pub, draught Tetleys, pleasant staff, friendly locals. First pint outside to cool off and then half the group went back to the Kelham Island Tavern and the other half had one more inside before pelting off down through Malin Bridge past the sights and onto the Penistone Rd cycle path back to the Kelham Island Tavern to join the vanguard for drink(s) and chat.

And that big fat full moon followed me all the way home to Manor Castle.

As somebody said a great way to spend a Friday evening, get the week’s stress out of your system and start the weekend with an invigorating activity.

Its like Ready, Steady, Go! – the weekend starts here. Thanks to all

Next Ride: Friday Oct 2 2009 Gennels, Snickets and Trammelings – more details in a week or two.

“We have nothing to lose but our chains!”
tw: @sheffieldfnr
t: 079 49 59 67 02