Hares and the Tortoise on the C2C!

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Manx Cat
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Hares and the Tortoise on the C2C!

Postby Manx Cat » 27 Aug 2008, 2:53pm

Well I did it! I must admit I didnt harlf enjoy it.

Initially I was a tad worried as all these slim super fit bodies arrived at the B&B. Bikes were all loaded on trailer in the morning as we were taken to Whitehaven. Our meeting B&B was Penrith and the same place as our first stop.

After bus got us to Whitehaven I met Lucy. She was visiting UK from Oz. Listening to all the cycling achievements from folk on the bus was really getting me worried, I mean, I didnt want to do this alone, and neither did I want to slow down others who had goals to meet.... - cripes one of the lads was an Iron Man cyclist!!! I was getting more and more concerned. I was after all the fattest and the oldest rider on the trip by at least 15 years.

Anyhow.... Lucy was a breath of fresh air. She was a traveller from Oz and really hadnt ridden a cycle for 20 + years... Lady Luck was with me. She like me, didnt want to slow others down.

I was amazed at the lack of maps.... I was the only one with one. So Lucy and I stuck together for the duration of the trip and enjoyed each others company as well as the scenery as we had time to look at it. :lol:

We were late setting off for various organiser reasons, so at 11.10 am we finally got going out of Whitehaven on the first part of the tour. Destination Penrith. Distance of 53 miles.

Here is a pic of me at the C2C sculpture... this time on the C2C run and not Hadrians.


Can anyone on here tell me why there isnt a public loo at the Harbour at Whitehaven?? There were several C2C tours getting started off many of which were looking for loos, I was turned away by 3 different places before I snook into a pub and had a pee - even then, I got a telling off when I came out. I would of used a public loo cept there didnt seem to be any. No one local could tell us of one anyhow.

Here are some pics taken along the route from Whitehaven to Penrith.






We arrived at Greystoke on the route to Penrith. Discovered the Castle, of course this is supposed to be the start of the Tarzan Adventure, where his family and he originated from.

Found this very nice sculpture of a cyclist advertising the ace tea shop in the village.


We ate lunch at an RSPB forest stop. It was very good, and everything homemade. Unfortunately one of the group got a broken collar bone. He went too fast down hill over rough ground round a hair pin corner.. my bike didnt like the terrain, but she managed. One girl in the group had 23mm wheels and had to walk... downhill too! poor lass.

We didnt have time to stop anywhere for tea or scones. This was because we had all set off late and we were so slow as well. All the other cyclists on the group kept on over taking us They would stop at almost every cake and tea room, sit and chat then speed up like heck and scoot off.

Finally, Lucy and I arrived exhausted at the B&B in Penrith. We had to cycle like mad all day. We averaged 9.1mph and there were some big hills to get up as we went as well. Strangely we arrived first, but didnt get in until 7.15pm.

Next day, we had to get from Penrith and onwards to The Parkhead Station. YES, YES, I was staying at the Parkhead!!! WOW WOW WOW>

First megga challenge was the start of the megga hills. Lucy and I set off at 9am. Here are pics on the way to Parkhead Station.

His is of Hartside.

We met these chaps cycling for Cancer Research - We gave them a donation. Image

I was very chuffed. This was a HUGE long hill to climb and I did it without getting off once!

Here is the Amazon at the summit:

Lucy and I stopped for lunch here. They did fantastic soups!

More hills and more moorland... The hills on the second day were relentless... up and up and down and up again. It was exhausting.

Lucy was staying at a B&B in Stanhope. My directions said, take a left turn and up the hill. Find Parkhouse Station at the top. Distance of 2 miles.

Well, I turned left, and up the hill. By this time, I had cycled 45 miles of relentless hills and I was totally exhausted. By the time I had done 47 miles and still going up into moorland I was getting in a panic... Had I missed the proper turn, had I missed a blue sticker??

I walked another mile or so, by this time I was unable to cycle any further, before an almost in panic Mary phoned and was assured I was on the right road. I had never ever been so pleased to see my digs. The sun was setting by this time and I could hardly speak when I finally fell into the front door.

Hill out of Stanhope.

Moorland out of Stanhope

Desolate moorland, but a sign!

Bike found the Parkhead Station!

Sculpture at Parkhead

Parkhead Station

Average speed had been 7mph.

This had been a real treat! I gave Lorraine everyones best wishes from this forum and she was delighted! Sends you all hugs and kisses!

She and Terry were a delight, we were well fed and warmed up. The accommodation was the best we stayed at during our trip. Lorraine even gave me a copy of the Millennum Miles book about the NCN. she was a star!!

Next morning everyone assured me it was downhill all the way. Now I had heard that so many times yesterday - 'This is the last hill' was getting to be said once too often the previous day.

We woke to strong winds, but they were westerlys. Lucy and I set off by 9am and indeed it was downhill. In fact we scooted along nicely with no effort thanks to the wind behind us.


Along the Waskerley Way

Bike near the heather

Along a viaduct

Can anyone enlighten me to what this was used for? Looks like a giant concrete hopper?

More sculptures at Consett


Here we are at Newcastle

Finally, the end.

There! Made it! So very grateful to Lucy for letting me cycle with her. So megga grateful for the weather! It was cloudy wiht sunny spells the entire trip. Had the rain and fog and mist come in. I really dont think I could of finished on that second day.

Average speed third day 10.5mph

The trip from Tynemouth to Penrith was fine, no damage to bike on trailer. Only sour note was food poisoning on Monday evening. We ate at a very nice clean looking pub, food was great. But at 2am I was very very poorly indeed! Had no sleep and had to drive to the boat the following day. I was a wrung out rag when I got home, but bright as a button after a good nights sleep.

Had a fab time folks! But glad it was over with. If I do it again, Ill go over more days, and have time to see the scenery.

Last edited by Manx Cat on 27 Aug 2008, 3:26pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Wildduck » 27 Aug 2008, 3:16pm

Fantastic, it looks like a great trip! The only problem is that I feel tired out now after reading all that; time for a lie down..
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Postby byegad » 27 Aug 2008, 3:29pm

The red Rail truck is a slag truck used to take white hot slag from the Steel furnace to be tipped as waste. Consett used to have a steel works.


Postby Asdace » 27 Aug 2008, 3:40pm

Very good photos there, Mary. Bring me back some happy memories when I did the C2C and have done 7 times, though I'm blowin' my own trumpet there :wink:

I'm pleased to hear you found Parkhead ok and I hope to visit Lorraine next week on my Double Coast to Coast bike ride from Stockton on Tees to Whitehaven and back to Robin Hood's Bay (just a plug)

What the next one....Le-Jog :wink:

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Postby Si » 27 Aug 2008, 3:54pm

Great report, am muchly jealous :D

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Postby 2Tubs » 27 Aug 2008, 4:14pm

We (by “we” I mean a buddy, myself and the old man) cycled c2c last September in very similar weather to your trip.

Seeing your pictures bought back a wealth of memories, I recognised so many of the landmarks, from the sculptures to the landscape.

We finished in Sunderland rather than Newcastle, a decision based on the fact that we arrived on the east coast on the day of the Big North Run. We thought it might be easier (and it was) to book accommodation in Sunderland compared to Newcastle on that day.

I really should create an account of our e2e, we have the pictures.

Either that, or I should do it again and create an account of that >;o)

Thanks for the excellent report and invoking a rush of nostalgia!

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Postby 2Tubs » 27 Aug 2008, 4:20pm

By the way Mary, there is a public toilet about half a mile from the harbour at Whitehaven.

It's in the town centre and you pas it (on your left) as you set off on the C2C route.

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Postby chrisoleary » 27 Aug 2008, 5:04pm

Great report Mary. I am pleased you enjoyed the trip - I told you that you would a few months back. :D I might have even passed you on the track about 6 mile into your trip, I seen a few groups passing that week.

As 2tubs says there is a loo in the market place in Whitehaven, Tesco's is at one end of the harbour and I would think they would have let you in at the Beacon at the other end. :shock:

I think there is a missed opportunity at all ends of the route as there are no C2C touristy shops for souvineers or even a cafe where people could gather for a crack about their trip and wait for their lifts home. :(

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Postby Dee Jay » 27 Aug 2008, 5:41pm

Lovely pics, ManxCat. And an inspiring description of what sounds like a great trip.

Thank you for posting.

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Postby Cunobelin » 27 Aug 2008, 6:01pm

byegad wrote:The red Rail truck is a slag truck used to take white hot slag from the Steel furnace to be tipped as waste. Consett used to have a steel works.

THe first time I rode through Consett was on the "New Riders of the Open Road" North Sea Cycle Route from Hull to Scarborough, much of which has been adopted by the NCN. The derelict steel works were still there

Revisiting many times it is great to see how the land has been restored.

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Postby Edwards » 27 Aug 2008, 8:04pm

Well done I am pleased fot you. It is nice to read of peoples adventures.
The railway truck you enquired about was used in a Steel works in the manufacture of steel.
In some works the steel was released into the crucible on the truck from the furnace. It was then moved on the internal railway while still molten to be poured into casting's. Brings back my youth 17yrs old Round Oak Steel Works now a shoping center Merry Hell at Brierly Hill Dudley.

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Postby Beakyboy » 27 Aug 2008, 9:19pm

Well done Mary, I'm not familiar with the C2C, how many miles is it? How many days did it take?
May the wind always be at your rear!

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Postby geocycle » 28 Aug 2008, 11:07am

A nice report. You must have had a tough day 2 from Penrith to Parkhead. I was pleased to stop at Allenheads and have a slightly longer third day which is mainly downhill anyway. Well done for conquering hartside without stopping! I imagine your new bike performed well.

What's next? Walney to Whitby, Reivers???

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Postby eileithyia » 28 Aug 2008, 12:55pm

Ahh reminded me of mine own trip last year, looks like you had fun. That viaduct is well remembered, adverts for the Samaritans, so must be a notorious spot.
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Postby anweledig » 28 Aug 2008, 1:01pm

Well done on a great trip, I'm glad you found someone to cycle with. Your report on the trip made great reading and I loved the photos. I think you've given me the idea of having a go next year.

The steel wagon is similar to some of the ones that they used up at the old Brymbo steelworks by Wrexham, at night we would see the redhot slag cascade down the hillside looking like a fireworks display - really quite spectacular - but like all steel production it's finished now. (I remember going round Round Oak as a teenager as well, the heat was terrific and it looked and felt amazing - as another poster pointed out it's now a shopping centre).

All the best