Category Archives: C2C

C2C Day 6 – Westlinton to Whitehaven

My last C2C/Reivers day!

Followed: C2C Day 5 – Kielder Dam to Westlinton but was dry all day (what a relief). The main problem for today turned out to be the scarcity of places to stop for drinks and food on the way. Fortunately I did stop and have a nice bacon roll in Dalston as the next place I stopped at a cafe was in Cockermouth. I had been planning to stop at Hesket Newmarket but the pub was not open and the village shop did not have much to choose from. The GPS translation onto Everytrail seems to have gone to straight lines again and lost a lot of feet climbed in the process.

Most frustraiting bit was being reduced to 4.9mph and 2nd gear on the flat by the headwind as I was on the top going around Scafell Pike.

Anyway I finished, the GPS gave a total of 340 miles in 6 days. By far the most riding I have ever done.

Here is the last day's route C2c Day 6 – Westlinton to Whitehaven, the end

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C2C Day 5 – Kielder Dam to Westlinton

Despite a wonderful breakfast (see C2C Day 4 – Ponteland to Kielder Dam) and an earlyish start at 8:15 this was a very hard day.

I had my biggest routing problem late in the day. That looks like a complete loop on the map although I did not realise it at the time. A sign had been rotated enough to be confusing but what was really confusing was the help I got from someone whose door I knocked on. What I should have done was look at the map page on the Garm Edge 705 which would have put me right in seconds, but it was raining and I was knackered.

A little bit further on I had to ride through a ford, it was deep enough to make sure that both feet got really properly wet.

I was riding with a missing spoke on my back wheel (broken on day 3), I had removed the spoke and straightened the wheel as best I could end the end of day 3. This meant I lost time at Leaplish and Kielder trying to find a bike shop that could help (nothing at Leaplish and the hire shop in Kielder sends wheels to Newcastle for repairs). That meant I was cautious about off road sections so took the guide book recommended alternative on the road to Newcastleton where I had a nice lunch at the Olive Tree Cafe.

As it rained for at least four hours and as the head wind was again very strong I was very glad to arrive at Lynebank Guest House at Westlinton for the night (although I was not the only one in the restaurant I was the only one for breakfast). I was also pleased to be able to arrange to leave the trailer and heavy bag here ready for collection on my way home on Friday. That meant I would not have to tow the trailer up the hilliest day of the Reivers route (my day 6).

C2C Day 5 – Kielder Dam to Westlinton

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C2C Day 4 – Ponteland to Kielder Dam

Following 42: C2C Day 3 – Waskerley to Sunderland plus I spent the night at a B&B close to Newcastle Airport. Close enough to walk to the airport for an evening meal at a Premier Inn.

Day 4 was my first whole day riding on my own back along The Reivers route. It was a relatively gentle day apart from the strong headwind. Sadly it rained quite heavily from about 10:30am, that meant I was quite cold during a lunch stop at a cafe in Bellingham where I tried to dry out a bit.

The very slow speed is partially a result of the headwind but also because the GPS seems to not have recorded the full route (I did not ride in such a straight line). I did get to look properly at the Kielder Dam to check it ws not going to collapse during the night. In fact though Squirrel Cottage B&B was probably high enough on the south side to not get flooded even if the dam broke.

Anyway Squirrel Cottage in Yarrowmoor run by Sylvia and Don wins my prize for best B&B of the trip, a lovely warm welcome, a lovely room with by far the most comfortable bed of the trip, a bath and all very warm and clean. Not only that but Don drove me down to the Pheasant Inn (at Stannersburn) where I had booked a table for dinner and collected me afterwards (it was raining hard again). The meal at the Pheasant was excellent (I had some lovely local lamb for main course). In the morning Don presented an amazing breakfast with bowls of grapes, strawberries and fruit salad as well as full English cooked breakfast and cereal and toast.

Here is the route: C2C Day 4 – Ponteland to Kielder Dam

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C2C Day 3 – Waskerley to Sunderland plus

Following 42: C2C Day 2 – Penrith to Waskerley this was our last C2C day. As I was carrying on on my own I towed my Bob Yak trailer from the B&B (I dropped it off on my way driving to Whitehaven on Friday). As I was not sure whether I would meet the guys moving the bags before I wanted to start off for Tyneside I chose to carry all my luggage and therefore to ride with a slower group.

Our group was dogged by some early problems of punctures left over from the day before. These were solved in Consett by a visit to a bike shop and several new inner tubes.

Nice ride but lots of difficult gates for the Bob Yak to navigate, would have been a nightmare with a child trailer.

Once I had posed for photos with the others I continued onwards “enjoying” the worst burger ever from a beach cafe. good route and excellent timing for the ferry across the Tyne, I rolled on and the gangplank went up and off we went. That was the Two Rivers route.

From the it was about 17 miles to tonights B&B, along the Reivers Route. it was well signposted and pretty good surface but I have broken another spoke today on the back wheel (just too fat obviously but I think it may not have been helped by some big bumps when getting the trailer past some barriers). I have removed the broken spoke and straightened the wheel a bit. Will be looking for a bike shop for a better repair. Not very happy with the quality of the wheel or the freewheel at the moment, everything else is working fine.

Obviously very different riding on my own (plus against the wind), missing the friends I have made but also quite enjoying the tranquility of plodding along on my own.

Anyway must be time for bed, I want an early start to give the best opportunity to get the wheel fixed if I can (or keep stopping for wheel straightening). ot so far tomorrow, going to by Falstone which is just before the Kielder Dam (will be very wet if the dam breaks).

C2C Day 3 – Waskerley to Sunderland plus

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C2C Day 2 – Penrith to Waskerley

Following on from 42: C2C Day 1 – Whitehaven to Penrith came C2C Day 2 – Penrith to Waskerley, click the link to see a map you can play with.

This was probably my hardest ride ever, more, higher and steeper hills than I think I have ever ridden in a day. We started going up out of Penrith, then the huge climb of Hartside (we took an off road alternative for the start of the climb).

I was very stiff by the top where the cafe was totally dominated by motor cyclists who all seemed to need to stock up on cooked breakfasts. So the rest of the leading group went on while I had a Tuna sandwich, caramel slice and coffee and put on more clothing. I caught the others up in a pub at Nenthead after another huge climb (and very steep descent).

Then more climbs including Black Hill, the highest point on the C2C. My grateful thanks to John who escorted me up that one (and several others during the ride). I found myself bringing up the rear of the leading group on nearly all the big hills, partly that is due to my being careful to monitor my heart rate to make sure I can last the whole day. But also because I am carrying more weight than the young guys on the ride.

The weight does come in handy on the downhills though, on anything not too technical I can leave the others way behind. One of the glorious descents was down towards Stanhope, there another climb, the last of the day.

Very pleased I managed the day and finished in pretty good shape. Great bunch of people to ride with.

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C2C Start

I am writing this from the Quay at Whitehaven, I have arrived for the start of the Coast 2 Coast ride for Christians Against Poverty.  am a bit early (probably because I am nervous about the hills to come later today and tomorrow).

Sadly the only thing I have forgotten is the special, non standard, USB cable for the camera so I can't put any photos on the blog until I get back home.

It is a gorgeous morning here, blue skies but a slightly chilly, however, that wind is going to be behind us today – handy because I need every bit of help I can get for the hills.

Quite a few cyclists around lining up for their photos at the start. Not quite sure how I will recognise the other 17 that are riding for Christians Against Poverty. I have not met any of them before, no doubt we will know each other pretty well by Monday. Once we have met it will be easier as we all get Christians Against Poverty t-shirts :-)

My plans have worked out ok so far. Yesterday I drove up via the Sunday night B&B (near Consett) where I left my Bob Yak bike trailer. I'll collect it for Monday morning so that I have it available for my return trip on teh Reivers Route. I'll be on my own for the return so I will need to carry my luggage, hence the trailer. For the C2C (Coast to Coast) the Bike Bus will carry our bags each day.

Sadly as I look around this part of Whitehaven it appears the coffee shops don't open until 10am. Maybe I should wash my bike or something instead :-)