First ride of 2009, Cave Dale & Hollins Cross

The weather looked best for Friday, being that it was above zero, sunny and not too windy. Matt A and I (Jeff) headed out to ride down Cave Dale and one of the bridleways off of Hollins Cross into the Vale of Edale. We proved Christmas hadn’t taken it’s toll too much by making it to the bottom of Black Rabbit (Pindale) without collapsing. Above Black Rabbit we pushed up Dirtlow Rake, which has improved since I last rode down it, most of the treacherous gullies have been filled in. With all the stopping to take pictures of paragliders and scenery we missed the turning to Cave Dale, instead ending up on a footpath that is also sign posted to Castleton. After a good field section that was kind of like a downhill pumptrack I realised we were on the wrong path, fortunately the bridleway was easy to get back to with a quick shortcut.

OS Grid Reference at cursor: Open OS Get-a-map 1:25,000 from centre Grid Ref.
The map of the route, without the accidental footpath detour

Matt had never been down Cave Dale and before the ride I had hoped it wouldn’t be icy, but when we got onto the bridleway we met two riders who had been warned by walkers that it was icy. Undeterred we rode on, down the rocky, lumpy, gently sloped section until we reached the wall at the top of the main part. Upon looking over the wall we were met with the scene below:
Ice Cave Dale
After adding extra layers of protective equipment, mainly fleece, I had look at the lines and had a go. I usually struggle with the top section as it’s hard to go slow and keep momentum on the steep slope. With two attempts and some dabs I got through the first section. Matt then had a go, making a good attempt for a first time on Cave Dale, until he put his foot in the soggy bank.
Matt Cave Dale
It was then my turn to carry on, starting on the section before the first tight bit where the walls seem to come in at you. I cleared the limestone cobbled stream before entering the mech-hanger eating boulder field where my front wheel caught a rock, turned and I rolled out to the side. Fortunately I’d didn’t get too wet. My next failure came when I went over some ice on a flat rock and the back wheel slid out landing me on my ass on the rock.

Jeff Cave Dale Jeff Cave Dale Jeff Cave Dale

After Cave Dale we pushed up to Hollins Cross, reaching the top as the sun set behind Mam Tor, we then rode down the bridleway that goes to Backtor Bridge on the Edale side of the ridge. It was quite rutty on the first section before becoming one rock shoot into corner that has an inner and outer line.
 Jeff Hollins Cross

[Gallery Link] 09-01-02 CaveDale+HollinsCross MA+JK, 14 Pictures by Matt & Jeff


  1. Martin Kershaw said,

    Wrote on September 22, 2010 @ 4:08 pm

    Don’t know if you’ll ever see this but thought I’d mention I rode down Cavedale today. Mental. As it’s the end of the ride I was doing, the last few times I’ve taken the scenic road back down into Castleton, thought I’d give CD a go today as it was nice weather. Almost had a few falls, I managed to escape with one jump off into a nettle bush and a near over handlebars stop. Crucially made it past a huge group of school kids without falling off. My chain had come off when I got to the bottom so I’m calling it a draw. Cheers

  2. Jeff R King said,

    Wrote on September 22, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

    Cool. It’s quite a challenge. I didn’t do it very well last time I rode it – must try harder.
    If you want to see someone riding it well check out this video, and it’s actually dry!

  3. Martin Kershaw said,

    Wrote on September 23, 2010 @ 10:03 am

    Cheers, excellent that. The more I think about yesterday, the more I want to do it again. Looking at thses guys though, I think a bit more protection than just a helmet might be in order for me.