First I had to get onto the trail, which involved three miles downhill before a nice gentle cycle through the woods. The perfect start.
First was a short steep incline, followed by a long slow uphill drag.
Eventually the trail dropped down towards those reservoirs you can see in the distance.
But I made it, and cycling along the reservoirs was quite pleasant in comparison.
The next day started rather less scenically, with a bridge over the motorway and a rather unglamourous bit of woodland and river alongside the M60.
But after this, everything got substantially easier, with a well surfaced path all the way along the river to Liverpool (via a cup of tea at a friend's house on the outskirts of the city).