C2C WVS – the other group!
Matt J, Paul W, Matt C, Neil O and Leo H
Whitehaven to Tynemouth 3-days
Somehow, 2 groups formed for this trip across the north of England. We chose the later week, starting on Friday 13th, just to add to the drama. We set off on the 5.50am from Watford Junction managing to get all bikes on, which was a big pre-ride worry.
Whitehaven, after a large lunch, was our sunny departure point, after a quick dip of the back wheel into the sea. Today’s monster climb, deep into the ride, was Honister Pass. A proper 9/10 on the Top 100 official hills list topping out at 25%. Paul W took a detour to see a mate, which seemed a great strategy when I was half way up it. We all managed to get up OK though. A great effort.
The descent was a challenge on the brakes, for sure, with much talk of strange smells and fade on the 20%+ part. At the hotel, just south of Derwent Water, we ditched the heavy luggage and did a lap of the lake to get a few beers in before dinner.
Day 2 was also great weather, and stunning views, taking a route north of Penrith and passing just under Carlisle with numerous stunning villages in-between.
We saved the big climb until the end again, with Hartside, a 5-mile long drag of a climb that you just had to find your pace and slug away at. The other side was a joy though, with fast, sweeping bends leading us into Alston.
Let’s just say that Alston was not the chocolate box village we’d been used to so far, but the YHA was great, fish and chips were plentiful and we were entertained by a chap who liked Midge Ure, a lot.
Day 3 was wetter than an otter’s pocket from the off. From the YHA we climbed into the misty rain, around 1000 ft in the first 6 miles. While there were no killer climbs today, there were quite a few ramps to sting the legs which added up to the same amount.
After 40 miles of the 72 the terrain flattened and the rain stopped and the sun did its thing again. The ride toward Newcastle took in Northumberland and Durham counties, who have the same ideas on roads as Herts council, which is a shame. We made it to Tynemouth for a sunny end to the adventure the way it started and another wheel in the sea before a night out in Newcastle in a splendidly opulent hotel, courtesy of Matt C.
Great planning, banter, teamwork and company made this a superb weekend. Looking forward to the next WVS adventure already!