We started our coast to coast adventure with the intention of tackling 4 National Parks and areas of outstanding beauty across Northern England, these being The Lake District, The North Pennines, The Yorkshire Dales and The North York Moors. There was always going to be plenty of stunning views and climbing to tackle along with some steep descents.
The journey started early.. On a sleepy train at 5am to head to Lancaster. Arriving to be welcomed by local coffee shop 'The Hall'. Well woth a stop for a flat white and croissant.
Once other members of the team arrived on different times we started to head out on our casual first day. We departed Lancaster with the Lakes on our minds, heading towards Silverdale and to Milnthorpe for the custom of dipping the wheels into the sea. (Or the estuary. It was close enough)
From this point, the roads took us into the Lakes. We were lucky enough to be joined by one of the chaps from The Cold Dark North for part of what was his 'commute'.
There was one major climb of the day, Gummer's How which hit roughly 20% at one point. A great leg stretcher to start how we mean to go on. After this we continued into the start of the Lake District finishing the day at Blawith.
Day two, we departed the house we were staying at early doors to take advantage of quiet roads. 160km with 2775 meters of climbing. We all anticipated this day heading straight through The Lake District and into the North Pennines.
The first major climb of the day. The aptly named 'The Struggle' a road that runs from the village of Ambleside up to Kirkstone Pass. One gent wished us luck at the bottom, as the rain came down and the mist closed in whilst we climbed.
The view from the top, even though covered in mist was still rewarding.
The climbing didn't stop as we headed into the North Pennines with brutal 20mph headwinds to battle against. As you pass through The Lakes on day two, be sure to recover from The Struggle at Helvellyn Country Kitchen and again at Hartside Top Cafe, the highest cafe in England. The climb up Hartside, is a long one but equally stunning.
From the top of Hartside we are graciously greeted with a 20km descent. Any climb is worth a 20km descent. One last climb for the day, greeted by the 20mph headwind to battle through. This proved a tough, long climb where you could simply get your head down and hope.
Our day finished in Kirkby Stephen. Fletcher House is a wonderfully welcoming spot to rest your head and lock up your bike while mentally and physically preparing for the final leg of your journey.
182km and 2770 meters of climbing infront of us and the coast in Scarborough. Another big day of climbing from the set of. Number 78 in the 100 best climbs, Lamps Moss. One way to get the legs warmed up.
The majority of the rest of the day involved rolling hills, some of steep gradients as we ventured through the Yorkshire Dales towards The North York Moors.
Long straight roads, lined with heather greeted us as we travelled into the Moors. With the scenery we had seen on this adventure its understandable how all of them are National Parks or areas of outstanding natural beauty.
80km into day three sees you arrive into Northallerton, a small town between The Dales and The Moors. If you're lucky enough to be passing through Monday to Saturday, a myriad of local bakeries and cafes await. Sunday's offer a reduced choice, but there are still plenty of options on the high street.
We stopped briefly in Whitby for a refuel and headed towards Scarborough. As we headed close to Scarborough traffic lights appeared and we could sense the end of our epic adventure. Lots of climbing, all the weather you can think of. Great memories and renewed friendships.