Monday 29th July - Allenheads to Sunderland
We woke to an overcast, but dry, morning. Another hearty breakfast around a big table with all 6 guests eating together. All of us were doing the C2C, so lots of chat about the last few days experiences.
Whilst eating some rain started to fall, but nothing too serious, not after yesterday! So, once again we packed up for the day, I lubed the bikes after all of the water of the previous day, and then we were ready for the off. It had even stopped raining again!
Allenheads to Consett
Being a nervous downhiller, Liz decided to walk her bike down the driveway... I do wonder how many times I uttered 'let the brakes off!' over the course of the whole trip!
Once the driveway was dealt with, we then had to tackle the first significant climb right from the start, with no chance for a 'warm up'. The legs were not feeling too bad though, and a little bit of drizzle didn't bother us. Once at the top, we passed into County Durham, the county Liz and I met in nearly 20 years ago...
|Into County Durham|
Once in Rookhope, we once again had an off-road option. I had been working on getting Liz to try this section, as the alternative standard route followed the road further down the valley to Stanhope, followed by a tough road climb out of the valley. The off-road route goes up the 'Rookhope Incline' so there was no denying it was going to be tough, but hopefully much more scenic. She agreed to give it a go...
It proved to be a good option. Although a long climb, the surface was good enough to not cause Liz any problems, and the scenery was great. At the top we found the old engine house that was used to drag carriages up the incline in days gone by.
|Start of the climb out of Rookhope|
|On the Rookhope incline|
|View back to Rookhope|
|Made it to the top|
From here we had a great off-road section, gently downhill on the line of the old railway across the moor, some bits smoother than others, but everything ride-able. Great stuff!
|Old railway line|
From here, we rejoined the standard C2C route, and the terrain became correspondingly easier, still a loose surface, but much smoother and faster than the previous section.
|Start of the Waskerley Way|
Consett to Sunderland
After a few more miles, we started covering some more urban sections, still mostly on cycle tracks, as we navigated around Consett, Stanley, Chester-le-Street, grabbing a sandwich (and more cake) from a friendly bakery in Leadgate, which we ate on the edge of town.
We spotted various landmarks such as the Angel of the North and Penshaw monument, amongst other trailside features, as we continued on our way towards the coast.
|Relics of a bygone age|
|The cows are a bit strange round here|
Finally we started seeing glimpses of the River Wear as it headed towards the coast, as the scenery became increasingly urban. We were still impressed at the pleasantness of it all though, enjoying this section more than expected.
|Sunderland's Stadium of Light|
|Under the railway & road|
|C2C sculpture was behind bars!|
|Traditional wheel dipping at the end|
Full stats for the day below, click through to Strava for full details.