Distance: 4990 metres, Ascent: 282 metres, route map
This a long steady pull from the southern edge of Todmorden to the top of the moor on the fringes of Lancashire. The ride takes you from a once industrial townscape where road, canal, river and railway all battle for space in a narrow steep-sided valley up through a wooded gorge and onto bleak moorland overlooking the once industrial countryside of Lancashire.
It can be wild up here with no shelter from the wind and in winter the snow likes to stick around.
Start under the railway arch where the A6033 (Rochdale Road) meets the A681 (Bacup Road) just by the Masons’ Arms in Gauxholme. Head west and just keep following the main road. At no point does the road get particularly steep but there are a few places towards the end where, should you both the wind and the gradient against you, then you’ll really have to grind it out.
It’s hard to say definitively where the climb ends as it does that indecisive undulation thing so keep going until you hit the sign for Lancashire – metaphorically.
Actually there used to be a better sign here which said something like “Welcome to Lancashire – where everyone counts”. Sadly that has been taken down, presumably because the prospect of going somewhere where all the locals are compulsively counting was putting off the tourists.