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The final part of the C2C (Coast to Coast) from Waskerley Junction to Tynemouth, via Consett and Newcastle. The riding is mostly flat or downhill, and is far more urban and industrial than the rest of the route
Good gravel cycle paths, riverside cycle paths and quiet roads
Hazards and warnings
Broken glass and fly tipped rubbish is a hazard in the urban sections
Follow the well marked cycle path from the Waskerley way down to Consett. Getting though Conset is difficult, I managed to get lost twice here. The problem is that some of the locals will remove, or redirect signs, so finding your way from the viaduct (where the Sunderland branch of the C2C starts) to the start of the Derwent way can be tricky.
The Derwent Way is a lovely tree lined old railway and offers pleasant cycling. Once at the end, there follows a section of post industrial wasteland round the back of Newcastle's Metrocentre, before you cross the river and pickup the well marked and smooth riverside path. Newcastle's waterside is vibrant and busy, but the section afterwards along the old riverside railway is mared by rubbish and industrial decay. The views of heavy industry and post heavy industry are interesting, but the track is often covered in broken glass and sometimes flytipped rubbish. The last section from the new shopping centre by the Tyne tunnel to Tynemouth is easy and pleasant, and you'll soon find yourself at the end of the C2C by the ruins of Tynemouth Priory.
If you are taking the train home, you can't take your bike on the metro. But, the roads back through Newcastle are a much quicker way back to the station, as by now you'll probably just want to head to the station ASAP, and not want to repeat the riverside section (which is much longer).
After lunch and a much needed coffee, it was time to crack on, and finish the last part of the ride. The Waskerley Way was a wonderful tonic for tired legs. Well surfaced, gently downhill and above all fast. Two hours after arriving at Parkhead station, I was at the end of the Waskerley, having had a descent lunch break and riden 14 miles.
The last time I rode this route I got lost attempting to find my way from the viaduct to the start of the Derwent way in Consett. The fact that somebody had removed and changed the direction of the otherwise well signposted C2C was my downfall last time. This time I decided to carry on a little more to the bizzare sculpture of Terra Novalis, and then turn left to pickup the start of the Derwent Way. I got through the new retail park occupying the site of the steel works, and at some point managed to lose the signs again. I ended up climbing the hill above the town, and decided it was better to admit defeat, and carry on to rejoin the route at Medomsley, than backtrack. I saved myself a mile, and felt like I had cheated, even if the distance saved was made up by the extra climbing.
The remaining part of the Derwent way was over pretty soon, and I followed the path along to the Scotswood bridge, where I was nearly run over by some kids on motorcross bikes. After that, I made stead progress down the Tyne, into the headwind blowing along the river. Morale was raised by seeing the many bridges over the river in central Newcastle. The rest of the ride was uneventful, with easy riding, along the riverside railtrail. Despite the amount of broken glass, my tyres didn't puncture, and I was at the end of the route by Tynemouth by soon after 6.
My timings where as follows: total distance: 132 miles. Start time: 4:30 AM. Finish time 6:24 PM (14 hours including stops). Rolling time: 11 hours 22 minutes, which gave an average of 11.6 mph. A lot of the time I was cruising at around 16-18 mph, but the hills had pushed the average down.
Despite reaching the end of the C2C my riding wasn't over for the day. I turned towards Newcastle and rode the 10 miles back to the railway station along the A 193, as I just couldn't be bothered to ride the riverside path again. By the time I was home my milage for the day was nearly 150 miles, which is not bad for such a hilly ride. I certainly couldn't have managed much more that day.
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