Military Intelligence

There’s a road around here, known as the Old Military Road, which is part of the Sustrans national cycle route. It must have looked lovely on the map, nice and straight, unclassified, but running parallel to Big A Road. Or, at least, it must have looked lovely on the sort of map that doesn’t include the contours. Because what that wouldn’t show is that the Old Military Road – designed, perhaps, by a follower of the Grand Old Duke of York school of Army Logistics – goes up to the top of each hill and then goes down again. Repeatedly. Oh, and straight into the prevailing wind.

I hate to join in all the Sustrans bashing that goes on on the cycling interwebs, because generally I think they do a good job and the National Cycle Network is A Good Thing. But there are times when you do have to wonder whether they actually rode the routes around here before they chose them.

12 Responses to Military Intelligence

  1. …there are times when you do have to wonder whether they actually rode the routes…
    I often think the same.
    Usually just after I’ve extricated the 23mm slick shod front wheel of my “best bike” from yet another gloopy rut…
    …or hefted the thing over yet another barrier…

  2. cha0tic says:

    The Grand old Duke of York Wasn’t even a twinkle in his fathers eye when the bloke that’s probably responsible for your Military road was operating.

    You might want to take issue with the following quote from this website. 🙂
    “Wade was the entrepreneur who forged into the Highlands, much to the regret of the Scottish independent movement, but doubtless to the relief of the road-travelling public.”

  3. cha0tic says:

    Sorry. There was meant to be a ‘Pedant’ tag in that last post 😉

  4. disgruntled says:

    WW – apparently some full and frank feedback has been sent to Sustrans about that particular route from a cyclist who covered the whole of it – not by me, I hasten to add (I just snipe from under cover of the internet)
    Cha0tic – it seems your pedantry got caught in the spam trap…

  5. The PaperBoy says:

    Wasn’t it Captain William Roy & Lt. Col. David Watson that surveyed the land ahead of building most of “Wade’s” roads though – and in making the plans of where to build they would be the ones to blame surely?

    Of course that could all be mostly restricted to the Highlands… although Wade did build what’s referred to as “The Military Road” (now the B6318) between Newcastle & almost Carlisle for the purposes of shifting his troops from “Newcastle to Dumfriesshire”

  6. […] pre-war Britain as “spyclists?” Evidently, British cycling engineers don’t ride bike routes before they select them, either. Looking at the Japanese love affair with electric bikes. A new Dutch system paces cyclists […]

  7. disgruntled says:

    They seem to be everywhere

  8. R::B says:

    I have a suspicion that the majority of military “design” is done with nothing more than a ruler. They tend to like things straight and pointy…all the better to subdue the natives with.

  9. […] without resorting to the car, particularly when it means ten miles into a nippy headwind along my least favourite cycle route, but there were some compensations, for while I was on the  way there I came round a bend and […]

  10. Same round here (Hebden Bridge). I note that at one point there’s a warning triangle on the map – the message says ‘Steep hill. Bike carrying buses are available on this route’ :0 (and FWIW, I’ve never seen a bike-carrying bus anywhere round here)

  11. […] of the 13 miles to Notso Bigtown, and the 8 miles home.* Oh and that 17 miles would be along the Old Military Road, my least favourite cycle route, because of its habit of going straight over every hill except for […]

  12. […] on time. And the route was along the Old Military Road and while I know in my head it goes up every unnecessary hill, I hadn’t really taken it on board properly until I found I was having to power up every […]

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