Tea with Tarzan’s neighbour

I was only miles from my destination and passing through Greystoke when I discovered that Tarzan has a strong contender for attention here. Cycling Cafe tempted me with a mug of coffee and a huge piece of chocolate brownie. Lunch had been good too. Another cyclists haven, The Lakeland Pedlar in Keswick. A wholefood, veggie cafe and cycle repair shop next to one the town’s huge car parks. Great food.
The descent from Whinlatter on the forest track was a bit of a boneshaker on my road bike. I’m not a fan of off road. Those tracks slow me down and pound my body needlessly as far as I’m concerned. So it was good to feel the Tarmac under my wheels at Thornthwaite. A little more off road on an old railway track out of Keswick and then the hard stuff all the way to Penrith.
One gripe. Why do landowners put this gates across narrow lanes just the steepest point? They break my stride either struggling to maintain momentum in bottom gear on the way up or aiming to eat up some easy miles on the way down. I know it’s to do with livestock and I’m only a visitor but perhaps ……
So today starts from Penrith heading over the toughest section of the ride. Hartside and Black Hill ahead before I come to rest inRookhope for the night.

Whinlatter Pass

The descent of Whinlatter Pass

Gated Road

Gated road on a steep incline

Cafe in Greystoke

Cyclists Cafe in Greystoke

The start of the C2C

Here I am in Whiehaven looking at the official Sea to Sea sign. This is where I will dip my wheels in the Irish Sea, turn and head for the opposite coast.
But tonight I’m settling down for a pint and some food in Zest Harbourside. A popular place, buzzing with conversation and laughter.
The sun is gleaming off the water in the small harbour, bathing the town in warmth. It all looks very lovely. Hard to imagine the fear that gripped this town only a short time ago.
The train journey here was good if long. The first half in the company of a fellow cyclist heading for Haltwhistle. Intelligent conversation and mutual interests.
The last few miles along the West Cumbrian Coast were delightful. Despite being the country of my great grandparents I have never been to this coast. The railway winds along the cliff bottom after passing huge wind turbines at Workington to reveal the small communities where the train stops by request. Finally arriving in Whitehave- three hours after leaving Newcastle – the town is quiet and my B&B exactly where I expected to find it. A basic place with a friendly Cumbrian welcome.
So my food is ordered, the sun is dipping over the harbour and I anticipate tomorrow’s ride to Penrith.
Thanks to all those who’ve contributed to the charities I’m riding to support. If you haven’t pledged your gift there’s still time. I know you may be waiting to see if I actually reach Sunderland before giving.
Riding Lights Theatre Company
The Funzi and Bodo Trust
Thank you.

The starting point



C2C for Charity

My ride starts in Whitehaven. If you hadn’t heard of it before, this small town on the west coast of Cumbria is now known for the most tragic of events. There can hardly be anyone who hasn’t turned their mind to the killing of so many people by a vindictive gunman in West Cumbria.

West Cumbria is where my great grandparents come from; Isaac and Martha Stephenson came from Whitehaven and Harrison and Annie Ware from a little further north in Cockermouth. My father hailed from Langdale in The Lakes – where I too was born. So I have long connections with this part of the world.

So as I arrive in Whitehaven on June 22nd I will be aware of the sorrow that fills that town, and in following the early miles of the C2C route I will pass through places which heard the sound of the first fatal gunshots. Those first few miles are supposed to be the easy approach to the tougher miles ahead through the Lakes and over The Pennines. But on my ride they will be be challenging, not because of steep inclines, but the emotional rollercoaster the people will be experiencing as their community life recovers from those recent horrifying events and the loss of people they love. I trust they are receiving the support they will need to complete the process.

My ride is for worthy causes elsewhere. If you want to sponsor me, follow these links: Riding Lights Theatre Company or Funzi and Bodo Trust