Si was up for a weekend ride, Ryan injured, Johnnie unavailable, we figured we hadn't done the peaks for a while, but we've done hayfield and Edale valley lots so fancied a change, google to the rescue and found a route around the Goyt valley. I thought I'd run it passed STW first, nbt said yeah that's ok, but you could change it here and here or, tell you what, just come with us instead, so we did. Met up in marple, nbt his better half, Ian and Steve (I think), we dropped down to roman lakes and started the first climb, Steve on a pretty sprightly looking canondale was off like a shot, speedy. Rode through the golf course and down a bit of dirt road where one of steves spokes went ping, fortunately he had another 27 so removed it and on we went. Up passed mellor hall, across a field, tarmac climb then down Gird lane, fun! Started unassuming rocky dirt road then went round a corner and turned a bit more slabby with extra rocks and ping went another of Steve's spokes, oops. Climb back up to the hall and some more tarmac and dirt road got us to broadhurst edge or "zigzags" Steve rocketed off again seemingly unconcerned about his below par spoke count, dunno if reality hit soon after but I passed him halfway down, he then left us and rode home before any more damage was done. Quick snack stop (fig rolls for me) then a bit of road and a short climb got us to the bottom half of the lantern pike descent, nbt obliged by going on ahead to open the gate and we all pinged down to sett valley, was busy on the valley trail but soon got on to the hard 23 trees climb up to middle moor, tough start which I only just cleaned (and thankfully got to rest on gate duty) it eased off after that, Si broke out the jelly babies halfway and we slowly winched our way to the top. Stunning views at the top as we girded our various loins for the descent ahead, heather edged rocky sandy moorland singletrack that flows just right. Different lines to choose from, following nbt but often taking a different line, great fun and I was told in no uncertain terms to do the water splash at the end and not the bridge, yes boss :-)
I regroup on the grass soaking up the weather and atmosphere then a tough pull up out of brookhouse farm, scooted around the other side of lantern pike then dropped into rowarth, another nice rocky slabby downhill I started out first but nbt took me on a flat pedally section, I've gotten lazy recently, pedal more dammit! Bunnyhop had a bit of trouble, one of those stall n fall spd moments and ended up tangled in her bike but unscathed. We then climbed up hollinsmoor and back onto the top road again, whilst saying au revoir to Ian nbt spotted a tube bulging out of a slash in Si's tyre, sit down for a faff, I then noticed a link on my chain very close to falling apart, oops, more faff. Next was a fantastic bit of trail, started with a choice of singletrack or rocky double track, me and nbt went for the former but Si came passed us on the rocks, as ever soaking up the fast big hits with aplomb - all that practice kicking my arse on the ICR. Still not finished we rolled onto the fox inn, reminded me of a uk version of back of bar in Spain, starting from a pub, a lovely bit of track, not as twisty steep or tech as the Spanish version but on the plus side not as dangerous and no razor wire vegetation hanging from the trees. Just a really good track wending its way down to the railway bridge, proper floated my boat that one. A couple of climbs and some more swoopy riverside tracks brought us back to the roman lakes, just a steepish climb between us and the car (and some pub based refreshments)
Not our usual peak ride in that it was all rideable (!), with slightly more civilised gradients than Edale offers, a different side of the Peak District. I like it.