On Thursday afternoon in glorious and entirely unexpected sunshine the Nockolds team set off on our Coast to Coast challenge. There was a mixture of excitement and trepidation; we did not underestimate the challenge that lay ahead. We made camp in a large caravan situated in Little Salkeld, with sweeping views of the surrounding countryside. We trekked to the local pub to fuel up and discuss the impending cycle.
Day One started in good spirits with a hearty breakfast and a 60 mile drive to Workington. There were some final checks to the bikes and a few obligatory photos before we set off. After a couple of wrong turns and a detour through a residential area, with bemused but helpful locals, we made it on to the official route and settled in to the rhythm of the day and the spectacular and ever changing scenery. The miles went by; helped by the characters we met along the way notably a contingent of cyclists from NATO. We had lunch in Derwent Water before tackling an unplanned trip to an ancient stone circle. Due to the steep climb to get there, I think the historic charm was slightly lost on us. By the time we reached Penrith the end was in sight, however we discovered the C2C signs were not quite as prevalent as they should be in major towns. Thankfully we did make it back to our caravan and enjoyed a well-deserved rest.
Day Two was the real challenge, although fewer miles than the previous day it involved that ‘everyday occurrence’ of cycling across the Pennines. The three mile, just less than two thousand feet climb, up Hartside was just a taster of what lay ahead. The enjoyment of the sweeping downhill segments tainted by the knowledge you would just have to climb it all over again. We crossed counties, made friends with a local cycle club who kindly fixed one of our chains and learnt that bike breaks are not as effective as you would like, especially when hurtling towards a T-junction. We had lunch at Allenheads and after one final push made it to Stanhope, 97 miles under our saddle.
Day Three started with a wicked climb which took us all a little by surprise, given the energy we had exerted getting to this point. Once we reached the summit though the Waskerley Way started our downward descent all the way to Sunderland. The Stadium of Light coming in to view was a wonderful boost and cruising to the sea along the river was a magnificent run in, seeing some great industrial heritage. The sense of achievement upon reaching the lighthouse at Roker beach is hard to describe, the surreal thought that we had actually crossed the country on two wheels. But the overall feeling we all had was immense pride that we had raised so much money for a worthy cause. Take a look at our Coast to Coast video here