C2C ROUTE DESCRIPTION
This long distance trail combines a gentle passage through the Lake District, a demanding crossing of the Pennines, and ends with a downhill descent to the east coast of northern England. It's a varied and challenging route with spectacular scenery, and the added bonus of sculptures scattered along its length. Usually undertaken west to east to take advantage of the prevailing wind, the C2C can be combined with the more northerly Reivers Route, which meanders along the English and Scottish border country, to make a fantastic round trip. If you're up to it, that is.
Heather clad in the the summer, snow capped in the winter, this remote area may be wild on any day of the year. But, given good weather, the North Pennines have the most beautiful empty countryside to be found in all of England. The C2C Cycle Route leaves the west coast at either Whitehaven or Workington and runs through the northern Lake District before climbing onto the roof of England and the grandeur of the Durham Dales.
It emerges in Consett, a town whose industrial past has been almost erased, and then passes through towns arid villages where there are lingering reminders that this was once one of Britain industrial heartlands - Beamish Museum near Stanley is a reminder of that past. It was a place of Victorian inventiveness, where ships were built to sail the oceans of the world and coal was hard won to fuel them.
The route ends on the North Sea in Sunderland or Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It now also links to Carlisle, joining the start of the Scottish National Cycle Route to Inverness. The C2C is based on minor roads and 56 miles of traffic-free paths. Short sections may have to be walked; a pleasant experience without heavy traffic to contend with.
Some parts of the C2C are high, rugged and exposed - even in summer. This adds to the beauty of the route but take note of the weather forecast, take suitable clothing and be careful on the more isolated parts of the route.
Information courtesy of Sustrans