The hardest day, up to the highest point on the C2C (606m), but some spectacular roof-of-the-Pennines scenery, and lanes threading their way round stark hills where the traffic jams consisted of sheep.
There was plenty of climbing up to Nenthead – a town, not a term of abuse. On the border by the weatherbeaten sign where Cumbria became Northumberland, it snowed, excitingly, for a few seconds.
The scenery changed again, to large-scale green hills, and we had a coffee in a bizarre inn that was more junk shop than pub. A steep rocky push uphill from Rookhope got us to the Waskerley Way, a mostly decent but occasionally muddy railtrail which whisked us eastwards with a kindly tailwind and glimpses of the sea in the distance.
We decided to call it a day in Consett and found a room in a pub, then enjoyed a curious meal out. I wanted Indian, she wanted Italian – and the first place we found did both, as well as Iranian apparently (but not Irish). In a cubbyhole at the side, behind a curtain, ‘Izzie from Hebden Bridge’ would tell your fortune, and you could add it to your bill as an item on the menu.
I couldn’t resist having a reading. Izzie told me I was going on a long journey, which considering I was wearing cycle stuff, sunburnt and windblown, was not compelling evidence she had The Gift. She also said my dad had had back trouble (true) and had worked at sea (no, I think she was guessing because I said he came from Hull, though he once took a ferry to Zeebrugge to buy some duty-free) and that I loved my children but was sometimes disappointed in them (no children).
Hmm. I had been hoping she’d be able to shed some light on the big issues I was concerned about, such as the slipping gear cable on my Raleigh tourer.
Well fed, and with sound advice from Izzy for my dad should he ever go out on a trawler, we went back to our room above the pub very happy.
Miles today: 40
Miles from Whitehaven to Sunderland: 120