Two words can describe this … WORLD-CLASS!!! We had the good fortune to complete it in May 2013, and had one of the best weeks of our lives! I have set up this page for others to use (although I would personally jump at the chance at doing it again!). Every day was very different, demonstrating the wealth of contrast and character that IS England.
ALL our accommodation was first class and our evening meals hearty and quality. This was all achieved within a fairly tight budget … my bar bill was enormous mind you!!!
Archive Page …
The concept of a coast to coast journey, in this context, is to get from the Irish Sea to the North Sea. It really doesn’t matter where the start and finish points are … that’s a personal choice. However, one important thing to consider is accommodation … the locations we have chosen are geared up to take in groups for one night only … youth hostels are perfect for this but are not as numerous as they once were, so we have ‘plugged the gaps’ with some gems. The logic behind going from west to east, by the way, is to take advantage of the probable prevailing winds.
Jon came up with the idea to follow Wainwright’s classic, rated as one of the greatest walks in the world! Spanning three magnificent National Parks, this 170-mile cycle version is an unforgettable adventure. We do not profess to be the first people to come up with doing this, but what we have done is to look at things from a completely new angle, by preparing a brand new route that (we feel) gets the absolute maximum from connecting together our carefully selected places.
I have outlined the following below: Costings / Itinerary / Training Routes / see also our “Cycling Holidays” Page for additional information …Vinnie
(Manchester based): Transport Outbound – Minibus + Trailer (fits 8) = £270.00
Accommodation + All Food (breakfast, packed lunch and evening meal) = £287.00p. Ferry = £7.00pp
Transport Inbound – Train = £23.00pp (Whitby) / £15.00pp (Scarborough)
TOTAL = a bargain £380pp … and I assure you, we haven’t exactly slummed it!
TIP – ENSURE YOUR BIKES ARE WELL PADDED AND SECURED IN THE TRAILER … THEY WILL BE DOING A LOT A RATTLING ABOUT!
ARRIVAL DAY: Saturday
I suggest that we get the traditional ‘dipping of the back wheel’ into the sea and our photo shoot done to-day done here, allowing us to get straight off in the morning.
ACCOMMODATION & EVENING MEAL – Hotel, St Bees
DAY ONE: Sunday – Cycle from St Bees to KESWICK. Distance 27.5 (27.5) miles / Ascent 3010 feet / Descent 2770 feet / Zenith @ 1047 feet
With the Irish Sea to our backs, our route heads inland towards the Lake District National Park. We soon join National Cycle Route 71, to enjoy an easy, traffic-free, metalled section of old railway line … “connecting the sea to the fells”. This cuts through some beautiful Cumbrian countryside and will give us time to find our legs before returning to the road and the first big climb! At Loweswater, we are treated to a breathtaking series of valleys. A steep ascent, on a minor road, takes us to day’s highlight … the Whinlatter Pass, much of which is clothed in dense forest. As we exit the pass, we are rewarded with spectacular views towards Bassenthwaite and Skiddaw, before a perfect (sit back and savour!) descent into Keswick.
Keswick is a quaint Lakeland town, set in England’s best-loved National Park and is shrouded by magnificent scenery. It is a bustling tourist town, served by a plethora of pubs, cafes, takeaways and restaurants.
A.M. Break – Kirkland (9.2m) / Lunch – Loweswater Lake (15.4m) / P.M. Break – Whinlatter Pass (23.1m)
ACCOMMODATION – Y.H.A. Town Centre, Keswick
DAY TWO: Monday – Cycle from Keswick to PATTERDALE. Distance 15.6 (43.1) miles / Ascent 2182 feet / Descent 1964 feet / Zenith @ 1430 feet
We have the luxury of a late start to-day … a chance to have a look round the town perhaps(?). Although this is our shortest leg, do NOT underestimate it!!!, as it involves some tricky and exposed ‘off-roading’. On leaving Keswick, we are allowed to gently work off last night’s alcohol excesses, by joining another disused railway line. The beautiful River Greta is our guide and companion for this stretch … this really is as good as it gets! Next on offer promises to be one of the most intriguing encounters of our adventure, as we follow in the wheel tracks of an old coach road. This will take us over Matterdale Common, and drop us nicely down to another of the regions mighty lakes … mountain-rich Ullswater
Glenridding is another tourist hotspot and will provide us with an ideal late afternoon cuppa and provision stop. Evening meal will be at the nearby pub or dine in the hostel.
Lunch – Coach Road Zenith (7.1m) / P.M. Break – Glenridding (14.8m)
ACCOMMODATION – Y.H.A. Patterdale
DAY THREE: Tuesday – Cycle from Patterdale to KIRKBY STEPHEN. Distance 30.5 (73.6) miles / Ascent 2537 feet / Descent 2445 feet / Zenith @ 902 feet
We start to-day’s journey with a little treat … courtesy of The Ullswater Steamer Company (all right, this ferry trip is not exactly new to Blue Fox!). From Howtown, we make our way alongside the eastern side of the lake to Pooley Bridge. Soon after skirting the grandeur of the Lowther Estate (complete with a castle!), we leave the Lake District, cross the landmark M6 and enter the beautiful Vale of Eden. The terrain should now take on a very different feel. With the mighty Howgills forever to the fore, we negotiate a maze of quiet lanes and minor roads through undulating countryside.
Kirkby Stephen is a busy market town, containing a good variety of pubs and places to eat or buy provisions. Remember … we can always cook our own meal in the hostels’ self-catering kitchens(?).
A.M. Brk-Askham (6.8m) / Lunch-King’s Meaburn (15.5m) / P.M. Brk-Great Asby (22.6m)
ACCOMMODATION- Private Hostel, Kirkby Stephen
DAY FOUR: Wednesday – Cycling from Kirkby Stephen to RICHMOND. Distance 33.7 (107.3) miles / Ascent 3566 feet / Descent 3660 feet / Zenith @ 1678 feet
This is the day we enter (and leave) another magnificent National Park … the Yorkshire Dales. A stiff climb (ie. push!!!) onto the remote moors of the Pennines is our start and wake-up call this morning. Our efforts are rewarded with the sublime surroundings of this outstanding area of natural beauty. The mainstay of our route, along minor roads, follows the valley that is home to the River Swale. Swaledale is one of those special areas, that promises to remain in your memory forever! Our route contains a sprinkling of pretty little villages too; Muker, Gunnerside and Grinton, serving as welcome rest-bites. As the valley gets deeper and deeper, we suddenly leave it at Downholme. We have to share the moor above with the army (beware of the tanks … I’m not joking!!!), to afford us a very fitting overview of our considerable day’s achievement … and just what’s in store ahead(???).
Richmond, famous for its cobbled market square and castle, has many shops, restaurants, takeaways and most importantly … pubs (is this a bike ride, or bloody pub crawl!!!).
A.M. Break – Keld (10.3) / Lunch – Gunnerside (16.6m) / P.M. Break Downholme – (28.6m)
ACCOMMODATION – Luxury Guest House, Richmond
DAY FIVE: Thursday – Cycling from Richmond to GREAT BROUGHTON. Distance 29.8 (137.1) miles / Ascent 877 feet / Descent 1052 feet / Zenith @ 484 feet
This is by far our easiest section, compared to the Lakeland Fells and Pennine Moors, as we slice through the northern part of the Vale of York, to the edge of our last National Park … The North York Moors. As we ride along a series of beautiful country lanes (an absolute treat!) and through lush green farmland, the impressive Cleveland Hills come into view in the distance … they will draw ever closer! There is a real sense of history about to-day, from the Roman stronghold of Catterick, to the site of The Battle Of The Standard. Danby Wiske is a must-stop place for all Coast To Coasters!
We are being chauffeured to and from the pub tonight, for our evening meal!
A.M. Break – Danby Wiske (12.3m) / Lunch – East Rounton (21.8m) / P.M. Break – Rudby (25.4m)
ACCOMMODATION – Luxury Farmhouse, Great Broughton
DAY SIX: Friday – Cycling from Great Broughton to WHITBY. Distance 30.3 (167.4) miles / Ascent 3152 feet / Descent 3317 feet / Zenith @ 827 feet
The final stage of our tour takes in a wide variety of scenery … from the unique North York Moors, to the tranquil Eskdale Valley, to the rugged North East coast. With Captain Cooke (ie. his monument!) keeping a beady eye on us, we skirt around Kildale Moor to make our way through the Cleveland countryside. A must-do stop at Commondale is in order, to find out about its secret past(?), before enjoying a tranquil piece of bridleway. With the heather moors all around, we reach a chain of intriguing little Yorkshire villages … Castleton, Danby, Lealholm and Egton. From Sleights, we make the stiff climb out of the valley, to be treated to a very sudden and spectacular view of our final destination. One more job to perform … the dipping of our wheels into the North Sea!.
Whitby has got to be one of the most charismatic places on earth! There is a wealth of pubs to go at, BUT only one possible option for tea … fish and chips (I know just where to go … most tourists DON’T)!
A.M. Break – Kildale (7.1m) / Lunch – Castleton (13.2m) / P.M. Break – Egton (22.2m)
ACCOMMODATION – Y.H.A., Whitby
Swan Song … I did intend for the closing celebrations (this time to dip our front wheels into the sea) to take place on Tate Beach (well, if it’s good enough for a certain Transylvanian Count …). However, this will be difficult to access on bikes. So, drawing on my considerable knowledge of Whitby, you will have to wait and see what I have come up with???
RETURN HOME: Saturday
This is where the group might split(?) … assuming whether you are returning by train(?). Some will return (to Manchester?) from Whitby, some will cycle an additional 21 miles (187.4), along the famous ‘Cinder Track’, to Scarborough.
Ascent 1747 feet / Descent 1772 feet
I have put together a series of practice routes (see also our “Cycle Routes” Page). These are intended to replicate distance, climbing and terrain, likely to be encountered. They also serve as a very useful test for your bike and gear, enabling you to iron out and snags ahead of the holiday.
They consist of easy, moderate, strenuous and even hostel stay-overs (to acclimatise you to this very unique wonderful world of budget accommodation).
As you progress through your own training regime, you will get a better idea of what kit you will require … so you might want to do some ‘retail therapy'(?). We recommend the following retailers: Chain Reaction (online) / Halfords / Decathlon.
I realise local to me might not be local to you. We have digital mapping for all of Great Britain, I will have a go at planning a route for you anywhere within, should you require(?).