C2C & HCW day 5: Carlisle to Workington

We started the day tired after being woken by a drunken argument in the B&B at 2.20. Of course, as I’m an insomniac, it took me 2 hours to get back to sleep. Despite that, we’ve had a good, if long day, cycling 100 kilometres again.

We left Carlisle along the River Eden following cycle path 72, Hadrian’s Cycleway. Unfortunately, we ended up getting lost not far from the start and John had to carry the bikes up steps, twice, before we got back on the correct route!

We passed through several villages before cycling along a very straight stretch of road alongside the Solway Firth. The marshes were grazed by cows and sheep, both of which crossed the road without looking, and stopping the traffic, much to our entertainment!

Next came a very long stretch around the Anthorn radio antennae, which were built on a former 3-runway World War 2 navy base. We did consider cutting this loop off the ride but, given the beautiful weather, couldn’t justify it. The last section as the road turned back towards the east was into the wind, and tough work for our tired legs.

The scenery was lovely in the sunshine and we could see Scotland on one side and the Lake Distract on the other. The area was very remote and we hardly saw anyone. Thankfully, the roads were relatively flat and we didn’t have to climb many hills.

We’d travelled 56 kilometres before we found anywhere for lunch. Much to John’s delight 😜, we stopped at the Fairydust Emporium Tea Room in Silloth. Despite his concerns about all the ‘tat’, the food was good.

After lunch, I felt very weary, and wondered how I’d manage another 40 kilometres. I promised myself an ice cream in Allonby, further along the coast and just kept my legs moving as fast as they’d go.

Unfortunately, the queue for ice cream shop was huge so I settled for a coffee. This was delicious and probably did me more good than ice cream, because I felt as though I’d got more energy afterwards. Now we followed a cycle path directly south along the coast which seemed to have changed from the zig-zagging route in our guidebook. It’s brand new tarmac was very welcome to our delicate nether regions, which hated bumpy sections of road! As we travelled, we enjoyed views of the coast, and meadows of daisies, poppies and cornflowers.

Just outside Maryport, the beach was formed of lovely sandstone slabs, heated in the sunshine, and rippled by the tide. I decided to have a quick paddle, and the sea was lovely and warm, lapping at my feet. Suitably refreshed, we set off on the last leg of the day to Workington.

After Maryport, the path wound inland (and uphill!) at Flimby, delaying our arrival in Workington. At least the sun was shining and the wind was behind us, so we didn’t really mind how long the journey took.

We’ve seen all sorts of signs for the C2C and Hadrian’s Cycleway, but today the routes converged and we’ve seen signs for both. Workington is one option for starting (or ending) the C2C so, after getting disorientated in the town centre, we cycled to the lighthouse overlooking the Irish Sea where C2C is marked on the building.

Tomorrow, we have the last leg of our journey, through the Lake District to Penrith. In the meantime, we’ve done our usual evening chores, as well as having a lovely soak in the bath and going out for dinner… tapas this time. We’ve had some delicious meals, as well as staying in lovely hotels and B&Bs. Tomorrow night, we’ll be back home and sleeping in our own bed. This week has gone so fast and I can’t believe I will have cycled across England and back! Wow!

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