We did it! We completed C2C and Hadrians’s cycleway. 472 kilometres (293 miles) across England and back, with 5.4 kilometres (3.3 miles) of ascent… in just 6 days! The last day was tough, partly because the wind was in our faces for a lot of the day, but also because it was through the Lake District and, therefore, rather hilly. I was worried about my battery running out like it did on day 2, but I managed without for much of the day and still had plenty left at the end… phew!
After a good night’s sleep and breakfast, we made our way back to the Hagworm Wiggle Pass bridge over the River Derwent and followed a cycle path all the way to Camerton. From there, we were on quiet lanes, undulating up and down to the pretty town of Cockermouth. We did get lost here for a bit… the signs haven’t always been very clear today… but were soon back on track and heading to the steepest and longest climb of the day.
The road climbed for 4 kilometres, firstly on tarmac, before it became a rough track and then a grassy path. Thank goodness it wasn’t wet and muddy!
At the top we had stunning views over Bassenthwaite Lake before heading steeply downhill on a rough gravel track.
I confess to walking the steeper, rougher sections but was quite pleased with myself for riding most of it… not easy for a wimp on a gravel bike loaded with heavy panniers! I even had a big smile on my face at times!
Thankfully, we then avoided the busy A66 by following an old road through beautiful woods and fields towards Keswick.
By now we’d cycled about 40 kilometres and were ready for some lunch. Rather than stopping in the busy centre of Keswick, we stopped at a cafe in Portinscale. The sharing platter was delicious!
After tackling the traffic in Keswick, we joined the old railway path to Threlkeld. This was very busy with walkers, which slowed us down a bit, but gave us time to enjoy the views as the path meandered backwards and forwards over the River Greta via many bridges.
Threlkeld was decorated for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. I even got to pose with Her Majesty as she rode her horse 😆.
Following lanes uphill, the mighty Blencathra towered above us. We debated taking a short cut but decided against it because we were feeling ok, and the rain was, thankfully, staying away.
Despite the additional distance and ascent, I’m glad we took the route to Mungrisedale because it followed a narrow gated lane through stunning, peaceful fells, far away from the busy A66. We only had sheep and pretty lambs for company! The gates nearly caught us out a couple of times… fancy putting them on steep hills!
It started spitting with rain as we left the fells but, thankfully, we didn’t have far to go now. The lanes wiggled their way through villages and fields, undulating up and down, until Penrith came into view. By now, we were very pleased to see it because we couldn’t wait to get off the bikes and let our bodies recover!
The end was a bit of a disappointment… ending in a bus station car park, rather than at a nice spot on the coast… but this was the only way we could work the challenge. Celebration was a coffee in a motorway service station, then a kebab back at home! 😂 Oh well… we’ve treated ourselves all week, so we can’t complain. And nobody can take away the wonderful experience of travelling 472 kilometres through superb English scenery, under our own power… with a little help from Ruby and Ronnie, of course 🚴♂️🚴♀️