Hadrian’s Wall Cycle Tour

H ~ W ~ 2021

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After a short hiatus, we resume our cycling holidays with a low level and mellow offering. Following an established cycle route, this pays homage to a historical linear masterpiece. It once again connects the Irish Sea (at the Solway Firth) to the North Sea … crossing England at its narrowest point.

The route hugs the coast northwards, predominately along converted railways and country lanes with a wonderful interspersion of promenades, before winding east and taking on a beautiful riverside journey.

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Introduction:

The Hadrian’s Cycleway takes you on a ride through some of England’s most wild and dramatic scenery. Preceded by a coastal aperitif, it follows the line of Hadrian’s Wall … the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. This cycle version runs for 170 miles from Ravenglass in Cumbria to South Sheilds in Tyne&Wear. Along the way, you will take in magnificent coastal views, picturesque countryside, Roman forts and museums, inspiring modern attractions, quaint villages and bustling market towns … all set in a World Heritage Site. This has it all!!!

Vindolanda

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Ravenglass >>> Maryport >>> Carlisle >>> Haltwhistle >>> Wylam >>> Newcastle

I have outlined the following below: Costings / Itinerary / Training Routes / see also our “Cycling Holidays” Page for additional information Vinnie 

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Costings:

(Manchester based): Transport Outbound – Train = £ pp

Accommodation + All Food (breakfast, packed lunch and evening meal) = £ pp.

Ferry = £ pp

Transport Inbound – Train = £ pp

TOTAL = £ pp … budget accommodation alternatives available.

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Statistics:

To give you a statistical comparison, we completed the

C2C in 6 days / 168 miles / 15324 feet of climbing (if the extra leg, that Jon and I did, is included then 7 days / 189 miles / 17071 feet)

B2B in 7 days / 207 miles / 16705 feet of climbing

NoR in 6 days / 172 miles / 12650 feet of climbing

M2M in 8 days / 235 miles / 28675 feet of climbing

H~W in 5 days / 166 miles / 9384 feet of climbing

C2C 
Prestwich to St Bees 128 miles

Keswick 27.5 miles / 3010 feet
Patterdale 15.6 miles / 2182 feet
Kirkby Stephen 30.5 miles / 2537 feet 
Richmond 33.7 miles / 3566 feet
Great Broughton 29.8 miles / 877 feet
Whitby 30.3 miles / 3152 feet
Scarborough 21.0 miles / 1747 feet 

Whitby to Prestwich 117 miles~
B2B 
Prestwich to Chepstow 181 miles

Ross on Wye 31.1 miles / 3453 feet
Leominster 29.8 miles / 2142 feet 
Bridges 35.0 miles / 3956 feet 
Ellesmere 31.7 miles / 1444 feet
Llangollen 22.9 miles / 1815 feet
Ruthin 21.1 miles / 2854 feet
Llandudno 35.2 miles / 1041 feet

Llandudno to Prestwich 89 miles~
H~W 
Prestwich to Ravenglass 106 miles

Maryport 35.3 miles / 2010 feet
Carlisle 34.2 miles / 1051 feet 
Haltwhistle 28.9 miles / 2185 feet 
Wylam 32.9 miles / 2081 feet
Newcastle 34.6 miles / 2057 feet


Newcastle to Prestwich 141 miles~
NoR 
Prestwich to Keilder 157 miles

Kelso 36.5 miles / 3050 feet
Berwick on Tweed 32 miles / 1850 feet 
Holy Island 14.5 miles / 600 feet
Alnwick 38.5
miles / 2250 feet
Byrness 36.5 miles / 3500 feet
Keilder 14 miles / 1400 feet

Keilder to Prestwich 157 miles
M2M 
Prestwich to Taunton 222 miles

Lynmouth 21.3 miles / 3263 feet
Barnstaple 27.8 miles / 3383 feet 
Bude 36.7 miles / 2769 feet
Tintagel 20.0 miles / 3004 feet
Par 31.1 miles / 3147 feet
Kingsand 30.5 miles / 4883 feet
Bellever 29.7 miles / 4252 feet
Exeter 34.8 miles / 3973 feet

Exeter to Prestwich 255 miles

DAILY AVERAGES (Distance & Climbing): C2C =  28m  + 2554′  / B2B = 29.5m  + 2386′ / NoR = 28.7m + 2108′ / M2M = 29.0m + 3584′ / H~W = 33.2m + 1877′

FEET OF CLIMBING PER MILE: C2C =  91′ per m / B2B = 81′ per m / NoR = 74′ per m / M2M = 124′ per m / H~W = 57′ per m

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Itinerary:

ARRIVAL DAY: Saturday 

The official start point of the wall lies lies some way to the north at Bowness on Solway, our start point is less well known. Half a mile south of Ravenglass is Glannaventa Bath … it will form our opening tribute. This should be visited on arrival or after accommodation check-in(?).

ACCOMMODATION – Hotel, Ravenglass

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DAY ONE: Saturday – Cycle from Ravenglass to MARYPORT. Distance 35.3 (35.3) miles / Ascent 2010 feet / Descent 2031 feet / Zenith @ 275 feet

With the Irish Sea our companion, we head north along tone-setting peaceful country lanes.

A sublime section of promenade will allow our nostrils to fill with ozone and prepare us (or should that be sedate us?) for the stark sprawling complex of the Sellafield nuclear plant! … somewhat out of place set against the beautiful backdrop of the Lakeland Fells.

Near cycling perfection is experienced next, along a series of old railway lines … broken only by the towns of Egremont, Whitehaven and Workington.

A.M. Break – Seascale (5.9m) / Lunch – Whitehaven (20.5m) / P.M. Break – Workington (28.7m)

ACCOMMODATION – Self-catering apartment, Maryport

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DAY TWO: Sunday – Cycle from Maryport to CARLISLE. Distance 34.2 (69.5) miles / Ascent 1051 feet / Descent 1037 feet / Zenith @ 132 feet

A sumptuous start along the prom, to ease us into the morning and loosen any stiff muscles!

More coast-hugging road to savour, before heading inland along sleepy country lanes … the roads in this corner (literally) of the world don’t really go anywhere, so ours should be as empty as the rural countryside(?)

At Glasson, we come face to face with the awesome Solway Firth. From hereon, our Wall is ever faithful by our side. Our target for the night … the border town of Carlisle draws ever closer.

A.M. Break – Allonby (5.0m) / Lunch – Newton Arlosh (18.2m) / P.M. Break – Bitts Park, Carlisle (33.9m)

ACCOMMODATION – Motel, Carlisle

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DAY THREE: Monday – Cycle from Carlisle to HALTWHISTLE. Distance 28.9 (98.4) miles / Ascent 2185 feet / Descent 1810 feet / Zenith @ 690 feet

Having left behind the mellow flat swathe of the west Cumbrian coastal plain, a far more undulating and challenging leg lies in store!

The beautiful River Eden is our guide for the start of to-day’s ride. We part company at Corby Hill and swing north, all the way to the small market town of Brampton.

A major tributary of the aforementioned Eden, is the River Irthing … this will be our afternoon’s treat. However, a far more auspicious encounter and route neighbour will draw all our attention … the Wall itself .. as we run right alongside side it for the next six miles, before dropping down to our night’s stay.

A.M. Break – Crosby (riverside) (5.0m) / Lunch – Brampton (14.8m) / P.M. Break – Thirwall Castle (24.8m)

ACCOMMODATION – Hotel, Haltwhistle

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DAY FOUR: Tuesday – Cycle from Haltwhistle to WYLAM. Distance 32.9 (131.3) miles / Ascent 2081 feet / Descent 2466 feet / Zenith @ 834 feet

With the mighty River Tyne dominating the way, we continue to head east along minor back-roads.

The jewel in the crown for the entire length of Hadrian’s Wall has got be Vindolanda Roman Fort(?) … a must see diversion is on the cards!

A lengthy stretch of wild and rugged landscape will neatly take us to our lunch stop. Revitalised and refreshed, our afternoon ride resumes our reunion with the salmon-rich Tyne … through Hexham, Corbridge, Bywell and Ovingham .. before reaching the unusual chalk nature reserve known as ‘The Spetchells’.

A.M. Break – Vindolanda (5.7m) / Lunch – Bridge End (17.0m) / P.M. Break – Ovingham (30.4m)

ACCOMMODATION – Pub, Wylam

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DAY FIVE: Wednesday – Cycle from Wylam to TYNEMOUTH. Distance 21.0 (152.3) miles / Ascent 1103 feet / Descent 1132 feet / Zenith @ 105 feet

PLUS 13.6 (165.9) miles / Ascent 954 feet / Descent 874 feet to NEWCASTLE CENTRAL

We continue our watercourse partnership along tailor-made cycleways for the entirety of our final day.

As we breeze in and out of the mighty city of Newcastle, we draw ever closer to this particular journey’s end at Tynemouth … only the North Sea is beyond!

To return to the heart of Newcastle (hotel and railway station), we cross the Tyne (via ferry) and this time enjoy the south bank … to trace the ghostly shadows of the once giant shipyards.

A.M. Break – Elswick (7.6m) / Lunch – North Pier (20.8m) / P.M. Break – Baltic (34.3m)

ACCOMMODATION – Motel, Newcastle Central

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Training Sessions: 

I have put together a series of practice routes (see our separate “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 any 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)

C2C004

As you progress through your 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(?).