Tag Archives: leisure cycling holiday c2c

Conquer the Coast to Coast!

Stretch your cycling goals this year and take on the North of England’s most famous two-wheeled challenge — the Coast to Coast

This 140-mile sea to sea spectacular serves up awe-inspiring views in the Lake District and North Pennines, alongside serene moments of green fields and THE most well-earned rests you can imagine. If you’ve already ticked of the C2C, here are 3 more rewarding journeys in the UK we recommend…

1. History In The Pedalling — Hadrian’s Cycleway
Duration: 2 to 6 Days … Distance: 100 miles
Travel along the northern frontier of the Roman Empire, starting and finishing at either end of Hadrian’s Wall. You’ll experience fascinating historical sites such as Birdoswald Fort and Vindolanda, as well as the hard-to-beat beauty of Cumbria and Northumberland.

2. On Yer Bike In Bonny Scotland — Lochs and Glens 
Duration: 5 days … Distance: 128 Miles
Cycling trips don’t start much prettier than at the shoreline of Loch Lomond. You’ll journey across the Scottish highlands, open moorland and alongside the incredible Grampian Mountains. Historic sites of battles and ancient castles come as standard, as does the beautiful wildlife.

3. An Epic Tale On Two Wheels — Romans, Reivers and Ancient Castles
Duration: 10 days … Distance: 289 Miles
NEW TRIP! We’re bringing you the best of three ancient times as we journey from the Roman Empire along Hadrian’s Wall, to the Viking and Norman conquests on Northumberland’s coastline, and the border country where the raiding Reivers once roamed.

Looking for more cycling holidays in the UK?
Click here and in seconds you’ll have details on all of our Best of British cycling 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!

Take on the C2C Challenge

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The ‘must do’ cycling holiday with its quiet country lanes, cycleways and paths is a wonderful way to see the varied and beautiful landscapes of northern England. If you’ve not taken up this classic UK challenge, it’s time you took the plunge…

Having watched the pros battle their way up the infamous Hartside Pass last year during the Tour of Britain route, it’s safe to say the C2C is not without its fair share of challenges. Fear not though, we don’t expect you to attempt a sprint finish up this steep section of road, we’ll leave that to the leaner, meaner riding machines in search of their racing jerseys.

Whether you’re cycling for a cause with the nearest and dearest, are a lycra-clad roadie looking to hit some hills, or are part of a group of fun-loving lads or lasses on the look out for your next adventure together, the C2C is a cycling journey that appeals to everyone looking for an exciting challenge in the UK.

Whitehaven to Tynemouth

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With over 15,000 people taking on this route each year, it’s no surprise the C2C is one of the countries most popular long distance journeys! Covering 140 miles, your journey begins in the port town of Whitehaven, Cumbria before finishing on the picturesque shores of Tynemouth. In between you’ll pass through the dramatic solitude of the northern Lake District, enjoy the verdant Eden Valley and climb up into the Pennines, also known as the ‘roof of England’, where you’ll experience sensational panoramic views that make the climbing worthwhile! From here you’ll then explore historic mining villages and make your way along old railway lines before heading to the bright lights of Newcastle (our beloved home) and onto the coast.

Best ridden from West to East, you’ll take advantage of longer downhill sections and prevailing winds to help you along the way. Don’t forget to dip your back tyre into the Irish Sea before you start and your front in the North Sea once you’ve completed your journey – it’s a C2C tradition!

Sustrans

Our favourite route wouldn’t be so without the invaluable support of pioneering cycling lovers Sustrans who first set up the C2C cycleway in 1994. Now part of the treasured National Cycle Network, we’re proud to help support this fantastic cause. We regularly run special fundraising trips in partnership with Sustrans, helping to raise funds for the upkeep of this route.

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We’ve been running C2C holidays for over 17 years and know all the ingredients that contribute to making this journey the best it can possibly be. Having sourced the best local accommodation, provided experienced guides for those looking for a bit of support and lost count of the amount of bags we’ve helped transport along the way, we’re certain there’s no better way to tackle the C2C than the Skedaddle way!

Worried about the hills? Fear not, our great range of C2C options means there’s a little something for every cyclist to give a go. From a shorter 2 day version for those looking to blast their way across the route, to lengthier tours for those wanting to take it a little easier along the way. If you feel you’re in need of some on hand support, we recommend taking on one of our supported tours where there’s a vehicle on hand which you can jump in to catch your breath.

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Feedback

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With thousands of customers having come to us over the years, we caught up with a few of our past Coast to Coast Skedaddlers to find out what they thought of their experience:

The service was top notch throughout. The accommodation supplied excellent breakfasts even for vegetarians. The lunches and snacks supplied during our rides were top notch, in the evening we chose to eat at our accommodation and every night we had brilliant meals with a great choice.

Every day was a favourite day and a new experience thanks to our group leader who told us what was coming (such as another hill) but in a nice way so we were not shaking in our boots!! Our guide was helpful at all times and always accommodated our every needs. We are already looking for our next holiday… Julie, Norwich

We had considered booking a self guided trip but it was well worth spending a little bit more to do the supported trip. Not having to worry about carrying food and drink, having regular meet ups with our cycling guide to make sure we were going the right way, and of course the option of hopping on the bus when it all got a bit too much!

Our guide was a cheerful presence whenever we needed him, put together some great lunches, and went above and beyond. All 4 days were so different that it’s hard to pick a favourite. Day 1 was good getting to know our fellow cyclists, and it was definitely a great moment reaching the finish line on the final day, but there was amazing scenery on all four days. Catherine, Angus

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All for a good cause…

Owing to the challenges on offer, the C2C route often sees a lot of cyclists take to two wheels for a cause very close to their hearts. We’ve seen lots join us for different reasons over the years and these heartwarming stories help keep us smiling. Alistair White and his mum Marion are two such Skedaddlers who recently took up the challenge for a very special cause of their own, click here to read more about their journey.

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Highlights along the way…

  • Consett Sculptures (part of the Sunderland Sculpture trail)
  • Conquering the legendary Hartside Pass
  • Cycle cafe pit-stops: Cycle HUB & Greystoke Cafe
  • Discovering beautiful, un-spoilt landscapes

Feeling inspired? If you’re looking for a challenge in 2016 you can’t go wrong with this fantastic UK trip. Click here for a full list of tours to find the perfect cycling holiday option to suit you.