Sunday 28th July - Greystoke to Allenheads
We slept to the sound of heavy rain beating against Velux windows. Not a happy sound when you have 42 miles and 4548ft of climbing ahead of you...
We tucked into our full english breakfast hoping that the weather would improve, but it persisted and we had no time to waste, so we donned our waterproof jackets, took a deep breath, and got on the bikes.
Greystoke to Hartside
The day started with a road ride into Penrith, the surface water meant a soggy bottom but dry feet for me (no mudguards, but waterproof socks), and a dry bottom but soggy feet for Liz. We soon adapted to the rain, and didn't find it quite as depressing as we had feared. Rolling in to Penrith we tackled a flood under the M6, but it felt as though the rain was easing significantly.
|Flood under the M6|
We tootled through Penrith, then following the undulating back roads towards the Pennines. The mill cafe in Little Salkeld proved a great place to stop for a morning coffee and cake boost, although the roar of the river outside was slightly alarming. It had rained a lot!
|This is the track, not a river...|
From here, the climbing started in earnest, and just after the 20 mile mark, we once again had the option of an off-road route. Liz took one look and decided to stick to the tarmac, whereas I took the challenge and started plodding up the rough cart track across the moor, with the lunchtime target of the Hartside cafe looming on the horizon. The track briefly dropped down to cross an old packhorse bridge with torrents of water passing underneath.
|The start of the off-road section up Hartside - cafe on horizon!|
The gradient increased to the extent that I was off and pushing for a few hundred metres, then back on but cycling up a track that had spontaneously turned into a river overnight. At this point Liz came into view on the road up ahead, looking like she was going to beat me to our agreed meeting point at the White House.
|My sodden path up to the White House|
|Panorama towards the Lake District from Hartside cafe|
Hartside to Allenheads
By this time we had started to dry out, and were even getting some occasional sunshine. Still, we donned waterproofs again to keep us warm on the initial long descent towards Alston, a welcome 4 miles of progress for hardly any effort.
Now came the difficult bit, summoning our strength to get over the 3 major climbs in the following 12 miles.
First up was the section from Garrigill to Nenthead, where I was once again to head along an optional off-road section, while Liz tacked the shorter but higher road route.
|Route options in Garrigill|
|View back to Cross Fell|
|Dropping into Nenthead past mine workings|
Two more big climbs to go...
I ignored the off-road option out of Nenthead, wanting to stay with Liz to make sure she was OK, so we set off, initially up the A689, then turning off on a minor road, dropping into Coalcleugh, and then climbing once again to the final significant summit of the day.
|Descent to Coalcleugh|
|B&B in centre of pic!|
|Driveway to B&B|
The walk back down the hill to the pub went better than expected, and when we arrived we met up with the same 4 C2C-ers we had seen earlier in the day on various occasions, so we enjoyed a drink together and then agreed to eat together too. It was a great social evening, helping to take our mind off our aching legs!
Tiredness started to kick in as 10pm approached, so we plodded back to the B&B up that long driveway once more!
Route stats below, click to see the full details.