click to see through Dean’s eyes: sight switch 

Bike (GNT) – Rowter Farm to bridge over Monsal Trail, England

May 2023

This was an EXPLORATION of the Great North Trail.
Yes, “EXPLORATION” has a certain ring to it, don’t you think? It conjures up images of 2 intrepid adventurers setting off on their two-wheeled steeds, on an epic exploration of the unknown wilderness on roads less travelled. (As opposed to 2 wallies on their bikes having a “bad map reading day” on a route travelled by thousands of cyclists every year!)
So yes, today was an EXPLORATION!!
After setting off from our base at Rowter Farm campsite, we cycled 1km to join the GNT. From here we headed across a field, past a gate and up a very steep hill. At the top of the hill we stopped to take in the view. (A very important thing to do for a blind guy!?!) Whilst enjoying the vista, Rhona re-read the map and we biked back down the hill to go through the gate we had earlier passed and re-join the GNT.
From here we cycled down into Peak Forest, before climbing up and down some very big hills, both on tarmac, and very much off road.
With a few on and off the route detours, we finally made it to the Monsal Trail, where we had another wee EXPLORE, before turning back and cycling over the bridge on the GNT that we had been looking for. With just a couple of kms to our planned turning point, we had run out of time, and had to turn around and head back.
Again, over hill and dale, we tried to find bits of the GNT that we had missed on our way out, filling in some of the blanks.
Our goal had been to cover just over 32km, (16.2k each way), but ended up covering just over 35k, with ascents and descents of around 650m. Even with those extra kms, we still managed to miss out 5.51k of the official route, (which we hope to come back and EXPLORE further soon).
As if our legs hadn’t already taken a good beating, after a quick shower and with a healthy appetite, we capped this wonderful day off with a 5k walk downhill to the George in Castleton for a tasty pizza, before heading back up hill for another 5k for a well-earned sleep!
As well as being my first time on my bike in 6 months, this was also the first time that Rhona and I got to test out our Milo communications on the bikes. They proved to be fantastic, as Rhona and I no longer had to be within a couple of metres of each other, for me to hear her instructions. I am a stronger cyclist on the up hills, and Rho is the more confident biker on the down hills, so we could now go at our own paces, and still easily keep in touch with one another. A real game-changer!!

GNT (One way) kms: 10.69
TOTAL (actual trip) kms: 34.97


These sponsors have been a tremendous help in supplying kit and support for my challenges.