C2C Penrith to Waskerley Way (road biking) Route Details

Route Description

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The second part of the Coast to Coast, over the hilly spine of the Pennines, is full of long, steep climbs and glorious but short lived descents


Mostly quiet country roads, with some offroad, and an unavoidable few miles on the busy A 686 over Hartside pass

Hazards and warnings

Main road from Hartside can be busy

Detailed description

Follow the obvious and well marked C2C signs. There are small sections of offroad, which offer an alternative. The offroad section below Hartside is not really rideable, but the other sections offer worthwhile alternatives to the roads.


After arriving in good time from the start (see part one) I hit the bakery in Penrith, to load up on calorie filled food. I was well past Keswick before 9.

The long hills after Langwathby started to slow me down, and for the first time, I started to feel this was not going to be easy. Certainly, until the top of the Rockhope incline, every mile was going to be hard won fron here. Even the descents are paid for in painful climbs. The full horror of the climb to Hartside path became appearent, after I joined the mainroad only to see several miles more hill. 10 of clock found me at the summit. I had climbed a lot, but the distance covered was poor compared to my eariler progress from Workington. The descent down towards Alston soon put some speed back into the ride. The section along to Garigill may have looked deceptively flat, but seemed to have become much hillier than I remembered it. The climb from Garigill was steep, and first the first and only time, I walked, to try and cure the leg cramp I was getting. The descent on the other side was just a steep. The climb from Nenthead was far less taxing than the previous two big climbs and soon I was at the border with Northumberland. I had forgotten it wasn't all downhill to Allenheads, and the road there dragged on a bit. I was still making good progress, and headed out of Allenheads, keen for the lunch I had promised myself at Parkhead station. Sadly, in my haste, I climbed the wrong hill, and was forced to turn back down towards the village and reclimb the right hill.

I passed the same group of riders, who had plodded steady up the right hill, as I raced up the wrong hill, and passed the country Durham sign, before starting the gentle downhill to Rockhope. A headwind dropped my speed a little, but I was keen to keep on going, and got stuck into the Rockhope Incline. I didn't let myself walk and cleared the top by 2:15. After a pleasantly fast burst of speed along the old railway, followed by slower progress where the trackbed had become boggy and overgrown, I made the cafe at Parkhead station by 2:30. I could now afford to relax and have my first proper stop and eat some lunch, as I knew at this point, it was all downhill to the sea. 

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