Buttress challenge set to get festival off to a flier

Cyclists at the Up the Buttress Festival last year.
Cyclists at the Up the Buttress Festival last year.

Walking and cycling fans will be able to experience the beautiful West Yorkshire landscapes on foot at an annual festival that explores the hidden gems of Calderdale.

The South Pennines Walk and Ride Festival will kick off on September 6 and run through until September 21, with over 50 events taking place across Calderdale including several walks over the three weeks taking place in Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Todmorden.

Sept 2012 Uppermill - Opening day of the South Pennines Walk & Ride Festival

Sept 2012 Uppermill - Opening day of the South Pennines Walk & Ride Festival

Alongside the festival, the Hebden Bridge Up the Buttress festival will take place on September 6, from 1pm to 5pm at The Buttress, Hebden Bridge.

The renowned cobbled incline just out of Hebden Bridge towards Heptonstall is part of the national cycle network route 68 and the sheer gradient and terrain makes for some interesting sights for spectators.

The steep hill climbing event attracts hundreds of people every year and is set to be bigger and better this year, following the rise in cycling popularity since the Tour de France earlier this year.

The event organised by expert biking enthusiasts Bill Brady, who leads the Mary Towneley Loop guided ride, Allan Boult from Blazing Saddles and several leaders from CTC Calderdale and Calderdale’s cycling officer.

Andy Geall, winner from last year, had advice for participants wanting to tackle the steep hill.

“The Buttress can be tackled in a number of ways whether you simply want to get to the top without stopped or beat the competition. When you leave the start gate you know the hill is steep, short and cobbled and after 15 seconds of full gas your legs are on fire and then it becomes a case of hanging on.

“I’m pretty sure there are plenty of riders who fancy beating the 1 minute 46 second record I set last year.”

Over the three weeks following the Up the Buttress event, there will be an event around Todmorden, Halifax, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd almost every single day, including a three hour Cragg Vale walk on September 6, from 12.30pm lead by Bill Brady.

All the 50 events taking place across Calderdale will be led by experienced volunteer guides, who have a passion in the area they are walking or cycling across.

Routes are created that encompass points of interest around the borough - whether it is historical, artistic or visual.

Many of the walks include opportunities to experience the best local viewpoints and there will be a chance to see wildlife, including a bat walk.

The walk and ride festival is managed by Pennine Prospects - a rural regeneration company set up to champion the South Pennines.

Mark Turner, Pennine Prospects operations director, said: “The South Pennines is a stunning landscape, often overlooked or taken for granted by those of us who live and work here.

“The festival gives everyone opportunities to explore this rich and diverse area in new and different ways.”

For more information, visit www.walkandridefestival.co.uk or to enter the Up the Buttress event, visit www.singletrackworld.com.