The Walney to Wear, aka W2W, is the most obscure of the standard Coast to Coast routes. Roaming 155 hilly and often remote miles from Barrow to Sunderland, it’s tackled mainly by nerdy completists and people with nothing better to do. So of course I was riding it.
My early morning train from York rolled me into Barrow just before 11am. I didn’t need to explore Britain’s most working-class town – I did that on my Barrow-to-Jarrow trip earlier this year – so I could set off straight from the station, and follow the little-followed W2W signs. You could tell not many people looked at them, because they were wearing so well.
It turned out to be a lovely day, T-shirt warm, with very little wind. I had a look at Furness Abbey and followed up-and-down roads over farmland to Ulverston. The home of Stan Laurel, complete with jolly statue of him and Ollie, was as friendly as I remembered it from my Barrow to Jarrow trip in July. I lunched on sandwiches and pork pie from the non-chain market, and a nice lady watched my bike while I used a pub toilet. I told her that if anyone stole it, she should tell them not to take less than three hundred quid on eBay or I’d be furious at my bike going so cheaply.
Routes like this are great for discovering little gems of places you’d never otherwise visit. Lovely little back lanes took me to Cartmel and its pleasant square, where I had a snack.
Then came Grange-over-Sands and its awesome promenade that overlooks not silvery waters, but green invasive grass munched by sheep.
After a somewhat sprawling flat section, I arrived in Kendal in good time, just after four, to check into the hostel I remember warmly from my Ravenglass to Ravenscar ride in March.
Nutrition is very important when you’re cycling a long way, and I followed my diet schedule meticulously: fish and chips, and three pints in Wetherspoons round the corner. I like it when things go according to plan. Back at the hostel I had the dorm to myself. I like that, too.
Miles today: 45
Miles from Barrow: 45