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Completed this in 2017 as a challenge for my 50th on my Specialized secteur with straightforward road tyres and encountered no difficulties aside from one section near an old abbey where you are led across a small and very greasy road bridge made of railway sleepers, ouch !
As it was a one day challenge I spent the Friday evening at the Hope and Anchor in Port Carlisle after an easy ride up from the station at Wigton. The new landlord was more than helpful and ensured that my bike was safely stowed away inside the pubs storeroom. As an overnight stop the pub was fine, clean warm and good beer however the food wasn't anything to write home about and despite the landlord and landlady being lovely my 05:30 was clearly a bit too early for them and I had to fend for myself in finding the lights,cereal, milk etc before letting myself out.
The route into Carlisle, as other posts suggest, is really well signed up until you enter the outskirts of the town centre when it totally disappeared. I made my way to the station in an attempt to pick it up again as I had read it was well signed from here, but to no avail and after several failed attempts to ID the route I cut my losses and headed off to Brampton on the A69, which thankfully at the time of day I rode it was comparatively quiet. I'm sure normally this would be quite an unpleasant stretch of road to ride along so be aware.
The route from Brampton, aside from the greasy bridge, all the way to Corbridge was quiet, well signed, challenging in places but also truly beautiful. I chose to stop in Corbridge as it was slightly closer to my end destination and a little quieter than Hexham. Both utterly gorgeous towns. The route out of Corbridge was again quiet and well signed and all went well until I crossed the Tyne at Ovingham. Somewhere along Font st there was a turn back across the river that I missed which I only realised when I ended up in Blaydon. I rectified my mistake and managed to cross the river just after Tyneside golf club.
Running into Newcastle was as you would expect approaching any big city, the roads busier and although still well signed the cycle route was increasingly less smooth with glass and other debris to negotiate. Seriously flagging at this point I was grateful to the two lads who offered to escort me to Tynemouth, which was lucky as in my fatigued state I;m sure I would have struggled to follow the signage from Wallsend.
For many the lovely Tynemouth would be the end point of the coast to coast and an opportunity for the money shot of the front tyre in the North sea. For me however my bed would be at a great friends in Sunderland. Retracing my route to the ferry to South shields where I was met by my friend, the last 10 miles into Sunderland were hard hard hard but ultimately the reward of completing not only the coast to coast and 110 miles in 7 hours in the saddle were great and boy did those beers taste good.
Pretty good signage throughout other than the locations discussed.
Totally fit for my skinny road tyres.
Great views but training on the Cheshire plain for the hills of Northumbria wasn't my best move.
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