Cat & Fiddle

A537 Cat & Fiddle

The A537, known as the Cat & Fiddle is an great motorcycling route but demands respect

Kids are amazing. Especially the way they remember things. Take my two year old for instance. She remembers the nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle” by some of the characters, such as cat, fiddle, spoon and moon, whereas I remember the Cat & Fiddle by the amazing corners and views across the Peak District.

The A537 between Macclesfield and Buxton known as the Cat & Fiddle due to the pub of the same name that sits at the summit, is probably the most famous motorcycling roads in the UK, and it’s no surprise when you consider what this road has to offer. From the sweeping and often technically challenging bends that carve their way through the Peak District National Park between Macclesfield in Cheshire and Buxton in Derbyshire.

Trying to make “progress” on this road will certainly test your riding skills to the limit with some riders who get carried away and go over theirs. A rush of blood to the head can result in unfortunate consequences as one rider who’s video clip of his accident on the Cat & Fiddle when viral and even ended up in the news when he posted it in YouTube.

Taking liberties on this road can lead to it biting back hard. In fact in 2010 the Cat & Fiddle was rated the most dangerous in the UK in the Road Safety Foundation.

For these reasons the road has been capped with a 50mph speed limit and is patrolled regularly by traffic police in unmarked cars and motorcycles. And if the traffic cops don’t get you the police helicopter will!!!

Cat & Fiddle In The Snow

I rode the Cat & Fiddle in the snow once. Not to be advised

The Cat & Fiddle is also painted with double white lines for a lot of the route to prevent overtaking as there are only a few places where it is safe to do so. The double white lines often leads to a build up of four wheeled vehicles which can slow your progress along this great motorcycle route leading to the temptation to overtake whenever the opportunity arises. Now I’m all for making progress, it’s part of advanced riding but don’t come unstuck by making rash overtaking manoeuvres. Instead plan your overtakes carefully and execute them cleanly so as not to become a statistic.

I’ve rode the Cat & Fiddle twice, 2005 in the snow on my 2001 Yamaha R1 and recently with two friends on the S1000RR.

I wouldn’t recommend riding it in the snow and I hadn’t actually planned to but I was making my way from visiting family in Blackpool to my brothers who lives in Leicestershire. When I got to the Knutsford junction on the M6 I thought “the Cat & Fiddle isn’t far from here” and so decided to cut across country. It was only when I got the Macclesfield where the signs leading onto the Cat & Fiddle warned me of the snow. I thought about turning back but I’d come this far so I gingerly carried on. I won’t lie, I was nervous as hell and didn’t enjoy the ride at all. In fact I was glad to get to Buxton and a nice warm cup of tea. And because if that experience I’ve also wanted to go back and give it a proper go.

The Tarmac Gods where smiling when they made this road

The Tarmac Gods where smiling when they made this road

So on Easter Monday this year I got my chance as I’d factored in a trip to the Peak District as part of our Epic Adventure. We had stayed the night in a biker friendly B & B in Whaley Bridge and made our way towards the Macclesfield in the morning. The fun really starts from the outskirts of Macclesfield to the Cat & Fiddle Inn at the summit where you are blessed with an amazing sequence of challenging corners that are an absolute joy when you get them right. The ‘fun’ part is only about 9 miles ong but its worth a visit

As is a stop at the Cat & Fiddle Pub where you can grab a cuppa and hot food is served all day. So you can sit down grab a bite to eat and relax in full riding gear and not feel out of place as they are a biker friendly place.

My only regret about riding the Cat & Fiddle this year was that we didn’t turn around and do it again, it is that good.

If you’ve road the Cat & Fiddle before let me know your thoughts. If you would like to submit some photos from your ride or suggest a route then click here, in the meantime here’s a video of our recent trip to whet your appitite.

Bon Appetit,

Marc

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View view Cat & Fiddle in a larger map

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