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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 108 > DOWN THE SANDSTONE WAY

DOWN THE SANDSTONE WAY

OLLY TOWNSEND CHASES SOME KEEN FRIENDS OVER TWO DAYS AND 120 MILES OF THE SANDSTONE WAY, THE NEWEST LONG-DISTANCE TRAIL IN THE UK.

“Just leave your bikes in the courtyard, next to the cannon,” said the man at the desk near the entrance. He hadn’t batted an eyelid when a group of six, slightly bedraggled-looking, mountain bikers clambered up the steps to the front entrance of his castle, demanding to be fed and watered. We didn’t appear to be their ‘typical’ customers, but the staff couldn’t have been more welcoming.

Three of my group had done a huge off-road ride the day before and were in definite calorie deficit, so they came up with the genius plan of ordering (and eating) pudding before the savoury course arrived. So there we sat, in the depths of a 12th century castle (complete with minstrel’s gallery, roaring log fire (in May!) and the biggest set of antlers on the wall that we had ever seen), eating slabs of cake and thinking that life was pretty cool really.

Sandstone Waymarking.

Things hadn’t looked quite so rosy when the alarm had started screeching at 5.30am that morning, but an early start was needed if we were to make it to our overnight accommodation before dark (or more importantly, before the local curry house stopped serving dinner). We had a big ride to do before we were allowed dinner – not an insurmountable challenge, but one which meant that faffage had to be kept to a minimum and café stops kept as short as our stomachs (and legs) could cope with.

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About Singletrack

UK Adventure: A Dead Good Day Out Pete Scullion follows one of the Lake District’s coffin trails, from graveyard to pub. UK Adventure: Down The Sandstone Way Oli Townsend checks out England’s newest long distance trail. International Adventure: Rumble in the Jungle Jason Miles races across Sri Lanka, fuelled by tea, coffee, and a fear of elephants. Trail Hunter: Through the Bogs of Time Tom Fenton revisits the remote, and rather wet, Doethie Valley. Is it as good as he remembers? Singletrack Room 101 Resident Grumpy Mark presides over your submissions to Room 101. Classic Ride: Avebury, Wiltshire Tom Hutton explores the rolling hills and standing stones, while testing Murphy’s First Law of Mountain Biking. Grouptest: Waterproof Shorts We’ve ground our gussets, soaked our seams, and wet our waistbands in search of shorts to keep our derrières dry. Bike Test: Living the Ti-Life Jason Miles stops stroking and staring at three polished 29er lovelies from J Guillem, Kona and Stanton and takes them out to see whether they ride as well as the look. Through the Grinder An array of goods sprinkled with summer rain, ground in summer mud, and very occasionally exposed to actual direct sunlight. Grinder Bike: Scott Scale 710+ Scott’s plus size hardtail put through mile after mile of testing. International Adventure: Murky Morzine Our Rob heads off on his summer holidays, which prove somewhat damp, but nonetheless fun. International Adventure: Blackburn Rangers Chipps goes riding in the wilderness with the varied characters who will be promoting the Blackburn brand this year.
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