Category Archives: UK

Skedaddle Twaddle about our cycling holidays in the UK

The Sandstone Way in motion

There is no need to travel far when you have some of the best trails awaiting you at your doorstep! Covering 120 miles in just 3 days, our remote and scenic Sandstone Way route in Northumberland is bursting with challenges and is a fantastic journey for those looking to get away from the chaos of everyday life without leaving UK. Get inspired by our latest video that will give you a great insight into the trip with the foreword from our Mountain Biking Product Manager Matt Cain

‘After three seasons guiding the Sandstone Way I still enjoy every trip as much as the first. There is just something very gratifying about a proper cross-country journey.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a really hard technical descent or a day blasting round a trail centre as much as anyone, but the reward that comes after a big day out in the countryside is different. Setting out early in the morning with a far-away destination in mind changes the way you ride. You tend to absorb the scenery that little bit more, taking your time to eat well, take some photos and chat to your fellow riders. There is more of a feeling of comradery, support and a joint sense of accomplishment when you roll in to the finish of the day. And what’s even better is heading to bed, well fed and knowing that you have nothing to do the next day but ride your bike.

It might be a little ‘old-school’ but I don’t think that place-to-place mountain biking tours have ever really lost their charm. The Sandstone Way is the perfect way to try out a multi-day tour before tackling a bigger trip in Scotland or abroad.’

Feeling inspired? If you are craving some spectacular wilderness and  want to take on the UK best trails, our cross-country journey Sandstone Way is the one for you! Or, head further afield and explore best trails in Europe and around the world though our extensive range of biking holidays.

Customer Story: C2C, a long way up!

Juliet England joined us on the 130+ mile bike ride from Whitehaven to Tynemouth – the classic coast-to-coast route. She hasn’t been on a bike in years. What could possibly go wrong?

Day 1 – Whitehaven to Threlkeld – 36 miles
Riders setting off on coast-to-coast rides traditionally dunk their front wheels in the sea at the start and finish points, a symbolic baptism.

At Whitehaven at the start of the odyssey to Tynemouth, the sea slops at the bottom of a greasy concrete slope, and we’re warned that the ‘wheel-dipping’ isn’t really necessary, but I insist on going down to the edge, where I slither in up to my ankles. I have to be hauled to safety, a not inconsiderable operation, and it makes for a soggy pedal-off. Still, in the words of the local newspaper cliché, this unscheduled christening doesn’t dampen my spirits.

This is the big one. The C2C, the sea to sea. We’ll tack our way from west to east, and ever northwards, the sun and wind at our backs, from the Irish Sea to the North one, across the nation’s backbone, mainly following National Cycle Routes 71 and 72.

Then there’s the bike fitting and induction from the Saddle Skedaddle guiding team of Les, Jayne, Francis and Dave. They’re passionate, borderline-obsessive bikeheads to a man (and woman) – the essential deal being that they’ll do everything bar actually turning the pedals for you. Even then, if you asked nicely enough…

Day 2 – Threlkeld to Alston – 38 miles
I’m pedalling (I use the term loosely) with Jayne the guide, and the climb is rewarded with a stupendous view over Penrith. Jayne does an excellent job of ensuring I’m safe, even if I do have to stop her from giving me a backie.

By lunchtime on the green at the splendidly named village of Langwathby, we’ve done some 19 miles. Chillingly, the guidebook warns that this is the last place to “kick back before the serious stuff kicks in.” Right. So what we’ve done before hasn’t been serious?

Unfortunately, it’s no word of a lie. How to convey the full horror of the Hartside ascent? It’s a monster of a mountain, an insult of an incline, a hellish hill. Such stuff as recurring nightmares are made of. For the last 24 hours, it has been whispered of in our group with fear and awe.

At the bottom, Les, the head guide, says this climb has made grown cyclists weep. Some have had to push their bikes up all the way; others have had to be conveyed to the summit in the van.

“Sloooooow and steady,” offers Les in his Tyneside tones.

Suddenly, somehow, I’ve done it, and I’m propping the bike up outside England’s highest café (1903m) before stumbling in, beetroot-faced. My legs buckle beneath me as I fall into a chair, hyperventilating. Someone pushes a mug of tea in front of me. I am so disorientated with exhaustion that I don’t even ask about the cakes. That’s how serious it is.

Day 3 – Alston to Stanhope – 24 miles
Today’s shorter mileage doesn’t mean much, since, in terms of hills, this is one of the hardest days, reaching the ride’s highest points. Alston is still pretty high above sea level – some 1,000 feet or so, high up in the North Pennines.

Luckily, this day includes my favourite accommodation of the trip. A former stationmaster’s house, it was bought derelict by Lorraine and Terry Turnbull, who have turned it into a haven for cyclists. Stunning views, a hot bath, even a gluten-free steak pie, for goodness sake. What more could a weary biker demand?

“Smashed it!” I say punching the air as Les arrives, grinning at my words, while I sit in the front room enjoying a restorative brew.

Day 4 – Stanhope to Tynemouth  – 37 Miles
On our last day, before we know it, we’re in the urban centre of Gateshead and pedalling over the Millennium Bridge in the shadow of the Baltic Arts Centre to The Cycle Hub, Saddle Skedaddle’s HQ and temple to all things bike-related.

We practically float the last few miles through what was once a thriving ship building area, past Wallsend until, finally, we’re shooting along the sea front at Tynemouth.

On the train home, there’s time to reflect the last few cobweb-blasting days. All the hard work has been worth it. The coast to coast thing offers a real focus, a reason to keep going until you next see sea. I would have benefited from more training (er, I would have benefited from any proper training…). But, truly, it’s been totally brilliant, and, if I can do it, anyone can. You might just have to get off and push.

Feeling like taking on a C2C challenge? We have a fantastic selection of supported and self-guided coast to coast cycling holidays in the UK. There’s nothing like the sense of achievement when you finish a coast to coast ride!

Escape and explore on two wheels this summer

Looking for a last-minute getaway on two-wheels this year? We don’t blame you! For your chance to disconnect from political fever and instead connect with smooth tarmac snaking through stunning landscapes, take a look at our top trips departing over the next few months:

Best for: A cheeky weekend break in the UK
Trips: NorthumberlandYorkshire Dales, Lake District Classic Passes
Team road say: A great way to get the miles in if you have limited time to take off! Our routes in the UK come with all the usual Skedaddle highlights (guides, legendary lunches and fab accommodation), as well as offering you thrilling routes to explore on our doorstep.

Best for: The chance to experience your very own Tour de France
Trips: L’Ariegoise Sportive Training Week, Classic Alps Passes & St Malo to Nice
Team road says: Our road holidays in France offer plenty of opportunity to aspire to pro-riding glory. Whether you’re looking to cycle end-to-end for the ultimate cycling journey in France, or want to challenge yourself on some iconic climbs, this country has it all.

Best for: Riders looking to cycle in world-famous landscapes
Trips: Ruta del Vino, Lakes of Lombardia & Raid Dolomiti 
Team road says: From the scented vineyards of Northern Spain to the mighty peaks endless sparkling lakes of Italy, we’ve sought out a series of incredible routes offering the best possible way to experience these popular destinations.