19-23 May 2006

Tynemouth to Tynemouth


Days 1 and 2 were on the Sea to Sea (C2C) which is one of the most fa- mous Sustrans routes. It connects Tyneside in the east with the Cumbrian coast. It crosses the Pennine Cycle Way (Whoosh 2) at Hartside. At 138 miles it would be a classic 2- or 3-day ride. However, we wanted a 5-day ride, so we came back the long way on the more northerly Reivers Route (NCN Route 10) which is 187 miles long.

Friday 19 May 2006 Tynemouth to Alston YHA

64 miles; 0000 ascent. We started in Tynemouth following the traffic free cycle route beside the Tyne to Blaydon, then began our ascent to Consett through pleasant woodland (along the Derwent Walk). It was a benign start. But after lunch in Consett the weather closed in and we battled rain and head wind to Allenheads. We climbed to the highest point of the route at Black Hill above Nenthead (609m – 2000 ft – in fact the highest point of any Whoosh ever).

Saturday 20 May 2006 Alston to Cockermouth YHA

58 miles; 0000 ascent. A less hilly day (or the gradients were in our favour!) It started with a gradual ascent to Hartside then an undulating glide down from the Pennines into the wide Eden Valley at Langwathby. There were plenty of picturesque places to see and stop as we headed round the north edge of the Lake District. Above Bassenthwaite the C2C splits in two – we took the northerly option to Workington via Cockermouth.

Sunday 21 May 2006 Cockermouth to Greenhead YHA (via Workington)

75 miles; 0000 ascent. A very varied day. Part 1: to Workington. We still had another 10 miles of the C2C to go from Cockermouth to Workington Pier. Part 2: To Carlisle. The Reivers Route (NCN 10) took us back through Cockermouth then over the Caldbeck Fells to Carlisle. Part 3: After Carlisle we left the Reivers Route (not sure where – possibly from Carlisle itself) – and took the NCN 72 for around 20 miles) to our overnight stop at Greenhead.

Monday 22 May 2006 Greenhead to Bellingham YHA (via Kielder Forest)

60 miles; 0000 ascent. We got back onto the Reivers Route after 10 miles near Kirkcambeck then followed it northwards to Kielder Forest. Route 10 runs through the Forest for 12 miles. It was a very slow 12 miles, leading to a very late lunch by Kielder Water. Once out on the road again it was a speedy run downhill into Bellingham, with the wind behind.

Tuesday 23 May 2006 Bellingham to Tynemouth

50 miles; 0000 ascent. Definitely felt like a homeward run. With a following wind we made swift progress back to Tynemouth via coffee stop en route at Matfen.

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