Distance: 9368 metres, Ascent: 324 metres, route map
One of the longest rides in the selection, this one takes you from the heart of Ripponden along the A672 to its highest point of Rook Stones Hill up on Saddleworth Moor. It can be hard going not because there’s any venom in its hills but because you’re likely to have a headwind all the way. The other side of that is that if you come back down the same way then you’ll have the wind behind when it’s an absolute blast and you can get back to the start in no time.
On your way up look out for Stott Hall Farm. It’s above the dam wall of the Booth Wood Reservoir and is notable for its idyllic position in the middle of the M62. There are various rumours concerning how such a state of affairs came about but as always reality is a little less exciting.
Another landmark will become more visible ahead of you during the second half of the ride and that’s the communications mast on the top of Rook Stones Hill. Initially it looks like a misplaced Eiffel Tower but you’ll quickly realise that it’s much smaller than that and is therefore not so far away. If you struggle with differentiating between things that are small and things that are far away then this clip should help unravel the mystery for you.
By the time you reach the brow of the hill at the end of the ride you’ll be in need of a breather so it’s a good place to stop and take in the view over Oldham, Rochdale and beyond and to muse upon how out of place a motorway looks in this remote moorland setting.