Wow it has been a long while since we last posted anything on here. I have been busy with the shop and not out on the bike that much. But Thursday seams to be the regular riding day with the shop being closed that day. Although I have recently purchased some decent lights for the bike, fairly sure they are brighter than those fitted to my car! So expect some more updates over the coming months.
I remember the first time I ever found out about Ambergate, it was at least 8 years ago. However at that point I didn’t have a means of transport to get there. So quite a few year past by until I was able to drive and we headed down south,to go check it out.
For those who haven’t been I can best describe Ambergate as a flatter less technical version on Wharncliffe. Although the tracks are no where near as steep or as long as Wharncliffe it shares the same wild west approach to trail building. I mean that as a good thing. With the local trail fairies always hard at work, there are a number of trails in the woods. Some old, that have seen large amount of traffic. Some relatively new loamy trails like the one feature at the start of the below video.
“Downhill trails” are something of a sort after items in Derbyshire, yes we are blessed with stacks of natural bridleways covering a huge range of technical difficulties. But something that you don’t often find are corners. I know this sounds daft but think of your local bridleway most of these are purposeful rights of way that you string together together into routes. They are not often designed with mountain biking in mind. After all what we recognise as a mountain bike didn’t even exist when they were first opened. Riding a downhill bike on a bridleway always feels like overkill, and is something that can get bikers into trouble when sharing the route with other user groups. So places like Ambergate and Wharncliffe are great, as you can get loads of time on your bike. Riding a trail that warrants the use of a downhill bike. Anyway random talk over, having visited Ambergate less than 10 times I know the location of most of the trails I still have yet to master them though.
The Video features various trails within the woods all starting from the main pike. They range quite abit in terms of rider experience. The original mainline being the fastest with a couple of jumps and drops along the way. The Loamy track featured at the start of the video despite being the shortest would probably have to be my favorate. The other trail featured is much tighter to the trees with a good number of turns and roots to catch you out.
On Sunday afternoon Irwin and I (Jeff) went to ride Ambergate near Matlock with the MTS lads. I got my frame out of Irwin’s car then asked “Where are my wheels?” – turns out they were still on Irwin’s drive – nuts!
So with no riding to do I had plenty of time for pictures.
So Ambergate is somewhere I have only ever visited once before, back in May with Jeff . Ambergate is often compared to Wharncliffe, but I feel it offers something slightly different. The hill for one is nowhere near as steep or as big as Wharncliffe so the tracks offer a generally less intimidating proposition.
I lost count of just how many riders there were out but at there were at least 15 people i would say, a couple of people i had met before such as the dog man, and Eamon and many new people. Sorry i cant remember many of your names. Anyway this was the first time out with my new Nikon D40 Camera, i bit of a steep learning curve but i am please with quite a few of the shots so something to build on. The Camera itself if awesome.
On the Saturday of most recent May bank holiday weekend James and I made a late start and drove down past Matlock-on-sea to Ambergate, near Derby, to check out some of the semi-unofficial tracks in Shining Cliff Woods.
It seems the tracks have been there a few years and are generally tolerated, with most tracks towards the far end of woods. The first track we directed to was quite good with lots embedded rocks and tight steep sections making it very technical with a flatter fun section towards the bottom. With the heat and humidity it was a sweaty push to the top and we only did a few runs of that track. I got the only pictures of the day there, which I think came out quite well considering they were from one run and I sometimes need to shoot loads of runs to get what I want.
Further across the hill, beyond the footpath, there are more tracks starting from a small hill. There were many lines coming off the start point taking you into a small maze of rocky turns that led to two tracks. One was flatter with jumps and fun corners to slide into due the water still lingering on the track. The other went left and more steeply down the hill with some reasonable sized drops and big technical rock garden. I spent many attempts on this giant pedal and bash ring sander, eventually completing a run on the line I was aiming for, well more or less. For some reason when it came to ride back to the car my front middle ring was bent, hmmm. 😕
You can find more info on Ambergate and directions on Gravity Slaves, here.
09-05-23 Ambergate JI+JK, 5 Pictures by Jeff
So as the weather was great me and Jeff headed out for a couple of yours ride in the evening, as it would have been too hot and really busy with walkers during the day. But even at this time it was still roasting, with some people using the great weather to top up their tan at the top of Hagg Tor. With it being almost bone dry I was really enjoying myself putting in many runs of the top section of Hagg Tor, even trying the inside line 😉 in the lower woods!
After we had got enough shoots we headed over towards Gores to get some more there. In stark contrast to Hagg Tor the upper sections of Gores were much muddier looked like a 4×4 had been up there. Stopping over half way down to unblock a drainage gully. We did a couple of shoots on Gores but I don’t personally think it has the same level of interest as Hagg Tor. A couple more turns would make it alot more interesting. Which starting us thinking how good It would be if we had a transporter, which meant you could do a full run down Gores and then get transported to the top of Hagg Tor 🙂 One for the future maybe. Other highlights of ride must have been Jeff using a branch to hold his chain rings and bash guard to cranks. After completely destroying them at Ambergate isn’t it amazing how the Caveman comes out when required.
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