An early start at the sea. Front wheel traditionally dipped in the brine at the C2C sign. The ride begins. First leg via Keswick to Penrith. It’s now sunny and
the temperature is rising so let’s hit the road for a few cool miles before it starts to bake.
First a short prayer. Lord keep me safe on this journey. Thank you for the space to take it and the generosity of my sponsers. Amen. Riding Lights Theatre Company The Funzi and Bodo Trust
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
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.