Negotiating the stodgy pub breakfast was our first challenge. Negotiating the cycle maze was the second. There are al fresco artworks all along the C2C; most of these are inventive sculptures, figures of cows made out of scrap metal to suggest the industrial heritage of the area for instance. But outside Consett was an earthwork consisting of head-high banks and a labyrinth trail below: a maze that you could explore on your bike.
We rolled into Sunderland in glorious sunshine and amused ourselves in another artwork, red sandstone life-size sculptures of furniture in a ‘ruined house’. We found our way to the marina where a celebratory plaque marked the end of the route and took the train back to Newcastle and spent a weekend exploring the city.
It’s been a fabulous ride. The Coast to Coast is a weekend-sized showcase of scenery, everything from Lakes to Pennines to riversides and railtrails, challenging enough to feel immensely rewarding but doable by any reasonably fit or determined rider. Even, as the lady back in Whitehaven Tesco had reminded us, on a folding shopper.
Miles today: 27
Miles from Whitehaven to Sunderland: 140