•Coast to Coast - Cycling from the Irish Sea to the North Sea
•Sense of achievement - Cross England by pedal power
•Natural beauty - ever changing scenery from the Lake District across the North Pennines
•On your doorstep - A superb and classic cycle route relatively close to home
Join tour Whitehaven
Whitehaven is a small, former mining, town and port on the Irish Sea, on the western edge of the Lake District. This Georgian town was one of the first Post renaissance planned towns in the country. We meet up here at the Hotel in Whitehaven, where you try out the bikes and adjust handlebars, saddles & panniers, using the Explore van as a workshop. We use Ridgeback 21 gear cycles which are ideally suited to the terrain and we will be given detailed annotated maps of the route which means we can cycle at own pace, cycling individually or with other group members. There will be a short introductory briefing this evening. Our tour leader transfers baggage and provides emergency vehicle back up and will meet us at various points during the day. Tonight there is time for a drink with our fellow riders and discuss strategy for achieving the challenge ahead!
Overnight: Simple Guest House, Included Meals: None
2 Cycle through the Lake District
After breakfast we will perform the customary wheel dipping ceremony then leave the town heading east. A few crunching of the gears while we get used to the bikes heading out of town, and we will soon be on the disused railway line heading east. The outskirts of the town soon give way to the rolling green landscape of the Lake District; stone walls and glorious views of the fells and tiny hamlets with tranquil Loweswater in the distance. Our first real test will come as we climb the long climb up to the forested pass at Whinlatter. After 25 miles or so we will stop to grab a sandwich & slice of homemade cake at the visitor centre, before the fast descent down to Keswick. Riding on more disused railways, back roads & some tracks through the afternoon and hopefully find time to stop off at The Mill House at Mungrisdale for a cheeky shandy, before stepping the pace up for the final stretch to our guesthouse in Penrith. Tonight we will go out for a well earned dinner and drinks.
Overnight: Basic Hostel, Included Meals: Breakfast
3 Cycle across the Pennines
After a good night’s sleep and a full English breakfast to fuel us for to today's ride we head off out of town. The hill out of town can be a bit of a challenge so early on, but we will soon get into our stride, climbing then descending to the River Eden and Langwathby. After about an hour and a half as we move into the North Pennines, the scenery changes as we start the climb to Hartside. The vegetation thins out and the road begins to zigzag its way up the side of the hill to the summit at 580m (1903ft). Whilst not the steepest hill on the ride, it's a slog up the 3-4 miles to the cafe at the top - the highest in England - for a hot drink and another slice of cake! Then it’s a fast freewheel for 5 miles down to Alston – a lovely market town with cobbled streets which also happens to be the highest village in England. We have lunch at The Angel, the oldest pub in Alston, dating back to the 1670s. Only 12 miles to go to Allenheads from Alston, another chance to burn some calories as we climb to Nenthead through stark scenery, passing slag heaps and a number of disused mines. At the highest point we cross into Northumberland before another long descent. One more climb then a descent into Allenheads and our hostel then time for a hot shower. Tonight's accommodation is in dorm style rooms with shared facilities. If we have the energy we can walk a mile up the valley to The Allenheads Inn for a pint of ‘Saddle Sore’ ale and something like soup and a steak pie meal.
Overnight: Basic Hostel, Included Meals: Breakfast
4 Cycle to Tynemouth, tour ends Tynemouth
After another lovely breakfast we start the final days ride. It’s another early morning steep climb as we leave the village and climb up through the end of the valley. A long and winding hill taking us onto open moorland once more. As we start to descend there is an old disused tin mine in the valley to our right with the derrick and miners accommodation blocks spread out amongst the slag heaps. The first 13 miles is tough today, as we cross valleys, and the ascent out of Stanhope/Crawleyside takes the award for steepest climb - a real killer that seems to just keep on going. The reward at the top though is a great little quirky cafe at Parkhead, the old miners railway station. From here it's following the disused railway line across open moorland, over cattle grids and through numerous gates as we start to descend towards Consett. For lunch we stop at a cafe - soup & warm bread will go down a treat! Skirting the old steel town we soon join the railway line. The C2C signs take us round docks and over bridges as we approached the city along the Tyne. The view of the bridges in the centre of the city is pretty special and the Sunday market will be in full swing along the quay as we get there. It's easy to think Newcastle is the end of the ride, but still another 12 miles to go! With the river on our right we weave our way through the suburbs and estates of Wallsend and North shields with the old dockyards on our right. Passing a marina, we soon reached the sea. Round the harbour wall, then one more short hill to our final destination, the small bay at Tynemouth. We get a wonderful view and of the sailing club down on the beach and the ruins of the Priory on the headland above, and the end point of our ride. We are sure to have a feeling of real achievement as we dip our front wheels in the North Sea, and realise that we just crossed England by pedal power!
Included Meals: Breakfast
prices based on double occupancy land only and vary on departure dates no air is included
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