G2C2C Day 4: Whitehaven to Penrith

Distance cycled 59.4 miles / 95.6 km
Cumulative distance cycled 202.5 miles / 325.9 km
Elevation (daily total) 5355 feet / 1632 m
Total cycling time 6h 44min
Total time (including breaks) 10h
Average speed 8.8 mph / 14.2 kmph
Weather conditions Mostly cloudy with the sun breaking through occasionally, and no wind!

C2C Start in WhitehavenAt the C2C start sculpture in Whitehaven harbour

Phew, that was a tough day. The first section of the C2C out of Whitehaven is a really nice surfaced railway path rising slowly up into the Lake District, this is followed by undulating country roads past Ennerdale Water, around Loweswater, and across the top of Crummock Water. So far, so good, and great views as well.

LoweswaterView across Loweswater from the C2C path

Next was the day’s first serious climb up to Whinlatter Pass. The first part was steep but on road and then forest trail and we reached the top with just a couple of rest stops and no walking so were feeling pretty good about it, then it was a fun descent through the forest towards Keswick. After Keswick we deviated slightly from the standard path up another steep climb to Castlerigg Stone Circle.

Castlerigg Stone CircleThe standing stones at Castlerigg Stone Circle have been in place for 4,500 years. They are situated on a natural plateau surrounded on all sides by mountains

Andrew had twisted my arm to continue on the alternative route, from this point it’s called the Old Coach Road section. On our map it is marked as suitable for “experienced mountain bikers only” but he insisted it would be fine. At first it was, but the path soon got too steep and covered in loose rock and gravel for us to ride up (Andrew fell over three times before he relented – he’s fine) and we had to walk most of the way to the top. Once it had levelled out we could ride OK and the views were superb, but it really slowed us down and tired us out.

Old Coach RoadThe rutted gravelly path of the Old Coach Road section, and the amazing views

It seemed like an awfully long way down to Penrith but we made it and hopefully not too worse for wear. A shorter distance tomorrow but lots of hills.

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