We were putting on a brave face as the rain began just as we were about to set off. Eight started and we were only just emerging from Callis Woods when Mel managed to break his chain. After Ian adopted a supervisory role we were soon making progress again but unfortunatly Mel had more chain trouble and had to retire before Summit.
The rest of us pressed on as the weather deteriorated. Anyone would have believed that it was the middle of November not July as we rode the cobbles through the rain & mist up and over Top o' Leach. We rode out of the mist into heavy rain down the steep and rocky descent to Waterfoot. I had warned that due to it being Sunday the cafe may be closed, I don't think anyone believed me but unfortunatly I was correct. We stoked up from the Co-op Late Shop having to stand out in the street wet and cold as we ate our pies and drank pop (pop - what's the Condor come to!). Robin was eating and drinking as never seen before which must itself go to illustrate how taxing the ride was becoming.
Morale was a bit low by this point; wet and cold and only half way round and it was already pushing on to 1 o' clock. It crossed my mind that we could ride on the road up the Rossendale valley to Bacup and over to Tod but the pioneering spirit prevailed and as the rain eased somewhat we set off on the next leg over to Holme Chapel.
less than an hour. However after his failed attack Nigel decided to retire at Holme Chapel (even Ian carried on). An un-named Condor (but, as Chris Crossland said in his Spring into the Dales report, 'You know who you are') suggested that it must be something in the Hartley DNA that prevents them from completing Mary Towley Loop.
Simon also retired at this point, this may have been caused either by having not recovered from a 5 day LeJog with full touring panniers just over a week earlier (although that hadn't appeared to have affected Mick) or the weeks family holiday on the wet south coast immediatly preceeding our ride. This left five of us to complete the round which we did without further problems.Comment: Great work Pete, thanks for the photos & the write up. It was 5 years or more since I last did the Loop and it might be that long before I do it again. Nige said I looked very worried at the start - and later on he found out why!