2013 Tour – Coast to Coast to Coast

Coast to Coast

This year’s tour is a trip up North for a double Coast to Coast (C2C). Starting from Tynemouth, we’ll follow the Reivers Route going East to West to Whitehaven then ride back to Tynemouth on the traditional C2C route. The approximate distance is 320 miles and we’ll take six days to complete the ride.

This ride is now full. Sorry if you missed out.

NewsRouteTravelAccommodationCosts

Latest tour news

All the accommodation is booked! Van quotes are now being gathered.

There are 13 of us on the tour – 7 camping and 6 B&B:

Campers B&B
JT Phil and Elaine
Pete Herron Harvey
Ian Dave Smith
Josie and Sarah Rowena
David King Dave Tompsett
Pete Neumann Greg Bedford
Adam Chester

Approximate Distance

Reivers: 178 miles
C2C: 140 miles (147 using the Ullswater option)
Full route: 320 miles

Dates

Start on Wednesday 21st August
Finish on Monday 26th August (bank holiday)

Important

You must be a CTC member to come on this tour.
We are not a travel agent or holiday company – the tour is organised on a best endeavours basis.

Day 1 Tynemouth to Bellingham – 52 miles
Day 2 Bellingham to Blackford – 66 miles
Day 3 Blackford to Whitehaven – 60 miles (+4 miles to St. Bees for overnight)
Day 4 St. Bees to Mungrisdale- 44 miles
Day 5 Mungrisdale to Rookhope – 52 miles (59 if we use the new Ullswater option)
Day 6 Rookhope to Tynemouth – 46 miles

Reivers Route

St Mary's LighthouseTynemouth is our starting point, on the small beach beside the Priory. Tradition dictates that we dip our wheels in the North Sea before setting off. The official route heads up the Tyne and takes a disused railway line direct to Backworth. However, we’ll head North along the coast to St. Mary’s Lighthouse before cutting inland past the Bee Hive pub (once described to me as the sort of pub men take other men’s wives) to Earsdon and then pick up the official route at Backworth. Put this down to organiser’s prerogative but my way is more scenic. Our first night’s rest is at Bellingham.

Day 2 is a long day and will see us venturing further North and West deep into the Northumberland National Park. At Kielder we’ll keep to the road between Kielder Water and Kielder Forest. This adds a few miles to the day but is preferable to chancing it on the unsurfaced forest trails. By the time we reach the most Northerly part of the route we’ll be in Scotland. The landscape up here is dramatic and barren with constantly undulating roads. Our second night will be in Blackford a mile off-route and about five miles North of Carlisle.

Our third day uses a lot of bike paths and is another long day. We have to wind our way through Carlisle then take a path South following the River Calder until Dalston – it’s a pleasant ride without too many obstacles. Veering West, we skirt the edge of the Lake District and end up in Cockermouth where we’ll have some lunch and a rest. After lunch we continue Westwards to Workington mostly on a disused railway line before picking up another path that leads us right through the centre of town and out the other side. Our approach to Whitehaven is on another off-road section, right along the coast to the harbour – a lovely way to end the Reivers Route and our first Coast to Coast. After some ceremonial photos and wheel-dipping we do have to cycle a wee bit further to get to our accommodation at St. Bees. It’s only another 4 miles though.

C2C

WhitehavenLeaving St. Bees on Saturday morning we retrace our route toward Whitehaven and pick up the C2C route taking a fairly complicated series of paths to get us out of Whitehaven and on the road to the Lake District. I’ll be glad to have this section on my Garmin! The first 15 miles or so are relatively easy, we hug the shore of Loweswater and broadly follow the River Cocker to Low Lorton. Then the road starts going upwards and doesn’t seem to stop. Welcome to Whinlatter Pass! You know it’s going to be hard when it’s called something Pass. When everyone’s made it to the top and recovered we’ll hurtle down the hill towards Keswick but stop short for lunch at Nichol End Marine on the shores of Derwent Water. After lunch we don’t have to go far to get to our accommodation/camping at The Mill Inn in Mungrisdale.

Black HillWe’re certainly going to need a decent breakfast this morning as this is the most difficult day of the whole tour. However, it also offers the most scenery and views (on a good day). In 2011, Sustrans added the “Ullswater spur” to the C2C route and it’s a far more scenic option to Penrith than the traditional route. Naturally that scenic quality comes at a price: a climb and an additional 7 miles. I know some of you might want to tick the box of completing the traditional route, and we’ll have to see how everyone’s legs (and bums!) are after 4 days of riding. It’s something to consider though if the weather is good – if there’s low cloud and rain it won’t be worth it.

We’ll give Penrith a miss as it doesn’t have a lot of charm but not long after we can stop at a water mill and bakery where there’s a tea room. Don’t eat too much here, there’s the stiff climb up to Hartside to come. At Hartside there’s a cafe at the top and we’ll stop here for lunch. Rested and re-fuelled there’s a long descent into Garrigill, a horrific climb out of the valley up Flinty Fell before a very steep descent into Nenthead. The highest point of the route is just after Nenthead at Black Hill (609 metres). We’ll pass through Allenheads on our way to our final overnight at The Old Vicarage in Rookhope and perhaps permit ourselves a few celebratory beers at The Rookhope Inn.

TynemouthDid I say the last day was easy? I meant short because the first few miles are not very nice at all. The climb out of Stanhope along a road aptly and amusingly called Crawleyside is the steepest on the tour – 17% at it’s worst and the only section I had to walk in 2008 on my previous C2C. However, after that there is around 14 miles of continuous descending as we lose height on our way to Consett. We’ll probably have lunch at the National Trust café at Gibside before we twist and turn our way to the Derwent Walk, another long section of specially surfaced off-road trail that leads us almost to the River Tyne. Then it’s a pootle along the North bank to the Quayside under those famous bridges. The final section isn’t that great, I admit. Until we reach North Shields the route takes us through areas hit hard by the loss of traditional local industries. It’s a sobering contrast to the wonderful landscapes we’ve ridden through and the post-regeneration vibrancy of Newcastle’s Quayside. North Shield’s old fish quay area is itself undergoing regeneration and we pass through here to take the sea-wall path to Tynemouth. Once again we’ll dip our wheels in the North Sea, pose for photos and bask in the warm glow of having completed our second Coast to Coast.

Getting to Tynemouth

There’s already enough confirmed interest that we will definitely be hiring a van to transport bikes. JT will drive the van to Tynemouth on Tuesday evening. Everyone else can take the train but you must be in Tynemouth for an 11am start. If you need to take a small bag with you on the train this can stay in the van while we’re on the tour.

Bikes and panniers will have to be dropped-off at JT’s house on Tuesday 20th August. Bikes will be carefully packed and secured into the van with their pedals removed (the main source of scratches and dings).

We will muster at Tynemouth Metro Station, load up our bikes, and ride the short distance to the small beach overlooked by Tynemouth Priory to dip our wheels in the North Sea.

Getting home

At the end of the tour, after dipping our wheels again we’ll ride back to Tynemouth Metro Station. You can collect anything you left in the van, leave your bike and panniers and head off to Newcastle to catch your train home. The bikes will be loaded carefully into the van with their pedals removed and driven back to Peterborough.

All accommodation has been booked.

Night 1 in Bellingham

Campers at the Demesne Farm Campsite.
B&B folk staying in the swanky Riverdale Hall Hotel.

Night 2 in Blackford

Campers at the Dandy Dinmont campsite.
B&B’s at Mount Farm B&B.
View the B&B reviews on TripAdvisor

Night 3 in St. Bees (no campsites in Whitehaven)

Camping and B&B at Stonehouse Farm B&B
Campers on back lawn with own shower/loo.

Night 4 in Mungrisdale

Camping and B&B at The Mill Inn.
Campers in back garden with access to own loo/shower/bath.

Night 5 in Rookhope

Camping and B&B at The Old Vicarage.

If you are camping then it’s very important that you pack as light as possible. The climbs on this tour are tough – much tougher than anything we can ride in this area.

Location B&B Camping
Bellingham £39 £6
Blackford £27.00 £14
St.Bees £32.50 £5
Mungrisdale £37.50 £5.50
Rookhope £35.00 £7
Totals £149 £37.50
All B&B prices are per person per night based on two sharing. There are some supplements for single occupancy of rooms.
The camping fee at Mungrisdale includes full breakfast!
Breakfast is available for the campers at St. Bees for £7 per head.

The return train tickets to Newcastle have cost £41.54 per person.

Food and drinks extra, of course. if we’re getting a van that will cost about £150 (in total) with diesel on top of that.