We have a total of five ‘beyond the quarries’ routes this year. A couple we’ve used before but three are box-fresh new ones for Northern Grip 2019.

Details of the five routes are further down this page. The route downloads themselves are on a top secret webpage that you’ll only be privy to once you’ve gone to the sign-on tent.

How to follow our routes

  1. Download a navigational app (if you don’t have one already)
  2. Download our route files (.gpx files)
  3. Open route file in app.
  4. Ride.

That’s the over-simplified version. Here’s the more helpful in-depth instructions…

To follow the routes you need a phone and a free route-finding navigational app. We recommend either ‘GPX Viewer’ or ‘OS Maps’. Search your phone’s app store for either of those.

Go to the top secret Northern Grip route page (ask at sign-on for the address).

Download the route of your choice. Or all of them, why not? Go with ‘GPX Track’ as the format (which is the default option shown usually).

If your phone doesn’t prompt you to open the .gpx file you’ve just downloaded (grrr… pesky phones!) then do a general search on your phone for the name – or part name – of the route you’ve downloaded (searching for “NorthernGrip” should find it).

To do a general search on most phones: swipe down from the middle of the home screen and type in the search box that appears.

Click on the .gpx file and open it in navigational app.

Ride bikes. Get happy.

Here’s some info about this year’s routes…

Pub ’n’ back

Distance: 14.5km (9 miles)
Climbing: None, almost
Duration: 1-2hrs
Direction: out-and-back

An excellent tour of the lesser known Whitworth valley with a halfway/turnaround point at the lovely Whitworth Square conservation area.

This route is as flat as it gets around here and what the terrain may lack in gnarl it more than makes up for in scenery and social riding. And while it may not technically be stop-free, we think there are zero gates on the whole route!

Dirty Thirty

Distance: 30km (18.6 miles)
Climbing: 739m
Duration: 3-5hrs
Direction: Anti-clockwise

This route solves the conundrum of how to do the best bits of Lee Quarry and Cragg Quarry in one logical loop. A classic Rossendale ride.
An opening wiggle and jiggle along the Valley Of Stone cycle way as it hugs the River Irwell. And then we leave civilisation behind and head up on to the northern tops. A flinging descent down to Crawshawbooth is followed by an up-along-and-down Cribden classic combo.

Then there’s a massive hurty uphill on to Cowpe Moss. The leg-burning then switches to tongue-and-grooving through Cragg Quarry’s humpy Scalextric singletrack. A bit of side- by-side chat-tracking and you’re on the fab drop ALL the way back to The Hub.

Gateless Green

Distance: 17km (10.5 miles)
Climbing: 395m
Duration: 2-2.5hrs
Direction: Clockwise

Perhaps not a route for sticky tyres and triple clamp forks but if you like to soak up an area on your XC bike, you’re in a for a treat.

An excellent tour of the lesser known Whitworth valley that packs in an ascent of the iconic Rooley Moor Road cobbles and finishes with a non-stop 3km singletrack grinfest descent back to base.

The opening 7km of this route are as flat as it gets around here and what the terrain may lack in gnarl it more than makes up for in scenery and social riding. Even the 4km climb up Rooley Moor is strangely enjoyable – and extremely scenic. And while it may not technically be gate-free, we think there are only two gates on the whole route!

Hades Hill

Distance: 25km (15.5 miles)
Climbing: 543m
Duration: 3-4hrs
Direction: Clockwise

One for the dry conditions. Or wet conditions if you like mud-plugging! Zip through Backup and on to the back road climb up above Sharneyford. Whereupn you’re afforded the expansive views and terrain of Hades Hill and eastern flanks of Rossendale riding. Cross your fingers for a tailwind and you’ll find yourself really flying along.

Then you drop down into Healey and pick up the super useful Pennine Bridleway track on to the iconic Roles Moor Road cobbled climb. Here you may wish to cross your fingers again for the wind to help you out! The route finishes with non-stop 3km singletrack grinfest descent back to Northern Grip base.

Thieveley Piking

Distance: 22km (13.5 miles)
Climbing: 415m
Duration: 2.5-4hrs
Direction: Anti-clockwise

Though this isn’t the longest or indeed the toughest of our routes this year, it is the route that feels the most remote and full-on exploratory retro riding goodness. It’s our favourite of all this year’s routes, but don’t tell anyone else that.

Sharing the same outward zip through Backup as our Hades Hill route but this time we hightail it left above Sharneyford and crawl on to Thieveley Pike cotton tops. Feel free to detour across to Crown Point to see/hear the Singing Ringing Tree sculpture (Grid Ref: SD848287) before beginning the entertaining rollercoaster trail down into Lumb.

The route finishes with a scenically interesting up-and-over to Waterfoot where you’ll pick up the Valley Of Stone cycle way back to Lee Quarry bottom. Or, if you’re some sort of masochist, from Waterfoot you can pick up the last half of our Dirty Thirty route and head up on to Cowpe Moss (ouch!) to finish with a Cragg Quarry and Lee Quarry double-header.