Monday 30th June – Day Three of Coast to Coast – Bike – Ingleby Cross to Robin Hoods Bay (39 miles)

After our beautiful full / MASSIVE English Breakfast Aidy and I set off from the beautiful Park House B&B to a cloudless blue sky and with our optimism high knowing we were heading to our final bike destination.


The route we were taking was less roads and included some monster hills, awesome off-road tracks and a 4 mile downhill all the way down to the coast – who wouldn’t be happy?

Still, a meaty 51 mile over challenging terrain we had to prepare ourselves mentally, including also not setting off until after 9:30am….oops.

Ok so we took a main road for about 5 miles reminding us of yesterday’s route with the angry 70mph lorries overtaking us. Couldn’t wait to get this road over and done with and then we eventually came off the road and started flying through beautiful villages, stopping off at one village for water.


We started climbing into The North Yorkshire Moors and started hitting some of the hardest hills yet.

20140630_125119(0)20140630_124947At the top of a monumental hill we came to a crossroad where we could see THE EAST COAST AND SEA!!!

We took a break here in the hot sun and tried to work out where we were heading. After some time we realised our path was taking us via an awesome off-road track only passable by 4×4 vehicles and mountain bikes. This track was really fun and we eventually came to a high lookout point where we could see the full east coast, Middlesbrough and other coastal places and features.


At this point we realised that the rest of the journey was pretty much downhill which was a pretty cool thought. I attached my GoPro HD camera and recorded some high speed downhill off-road video.

At the bottom of the off-road track we came to a main road. This road was downhill and I mean downhill, and more downhill – it was bloody marvellous and I was thinking to myself how much incline over the past three days we had built up and now melting away beneath our wheels.

THEN, the coast came into view still all downhill and the view of the coast became bigger and bigger. This was really really cool, probably the highlight of the bike ride.

We came to about 2 miles outside Whitby which I’ve been to a few times with Angela and Sebastian on a family holiday so I was familiar with the surroundings. But we weren’t taking the road to Whitby but instead a road which took us to Robin Hoods Bay.

Now along this road and following my phone’s GPS to reel us in, we came upon an off-road path named the “Cindertrack” which apparently is an old Whitby to Scarborough coastal railway route. It hugged the coast and cliff tops, offering outstanding views, no motor vehicles, a quiet and amazing slightly downhill route all the way into Robin Hoods Bay.

Robin Hoods Bay came into view, OK it was probably this part which was the most awesome bit of our three day bike ride. The huge Coastal Head which dominates the area reminded me of when I was last there – with Angela and a very young baby Sebastian.

We arrived in Robin Hoods Bay village and Aidy’s mum was waiting for us. She seems a lovely lady and gave Aidy some well done hugs etc. We then made our way down the steep path that takes you deep into the village and towards the end of our route.

WE ARRIVED!!! We were outside The Bay Hotel and we were feeling jubilant…. well I was anyway, let’s not forget Aidy has already done Everest Base Camp so this probably wasn’t as massive for him as it was for me.


We got a real ale, signed the completion book which all of those doing the C2C must do as tradition, and talked about our journey. At this point I realised the bike made it without any problems. Didn’t need the puncture repair kit or the new inner tubes I bought in case. Even the chain didn’t snap haha (reference to last C2C attempt). The bike was a tank considering it wasn’t the most expensive one you could buy, said by the man himself who lent me his bike, the Legend Gaz McDonald.


At this point we met some cyclists coming in on mountain bikes who must have done something similar to us. My competitive edge burned inside me to find out what they did, no way I’ve come so far too find out that some other guys have just done something more difficult than us. After Aidy started taking to them and me joining in mid-conversation we discovered they had done a 4 day route, skipping Whinlatter and even had a pace/supplies car to carry their belongings so that they could travel light! We congratulatively and politely said well done and gave our tale of events including that we’re about to take on the 5 day run/walk from tomorrow. They looked in shock, the guy I was talking to could probably kill me in one punch and could probably bench press me so I really didn’t want to upset the him lol.

After here we put the bikes in Aidy’s mum’s car and headed off to Whitby where we were stopping. We’re staying in a hotel above a pub which wasn’t too shabby and we unpacked, showered and headed out for tea which was of course Fish and Chips at Magpies with a few more celebratory real ales.

Summary: I really enjoyed the cycling part of this challenge. Some amazing views and fun memories. I’ve proven to myself it can be done over three days on a mountain bike. It could have been done in two days on a road bike but that would have been just roads and no off road fun. I wish we did more off road routes instead of the roads but that would have meant more days. Maybe another time. It was a good mix and a very tough test.
Now begins the running/walking part of the challenge which will require patience with the slow speeds we’re doing compared to being on bikes. Wish us luck!


Sunday 29th June – Day Two of Coast to Coast – Bike – Kirkby Stephen to Ingleby Cross (57 miles)

Today was about going the quickest way to Ingleby Cross, no frills and all roads. After yesterday’s mammoth route which had EVERYTHING from mountains to off road and distance we were quite content with just getting to our next destination. We were still pretty tired and could do with not taking to too hard and understanding that we still had to do the run back yet so why punish our bodies now? We saw a lot of beautify sights yesterday so as I said we were quite happy indeed to just get there via the fastest route possible.

Still, this turned out to be pretty scary and worrying at times as we hit the A66 for 30 miles of the route and we had the tiniest cycle lanes with lorries going past us about 70mph missing us by only a few feet. Now I look back perhaps this route wasn’t ideal – especially on mountain bikes where there simply was no momentum on the roads and not much going compared to a road bike.

We set off from Kirkby Stephen and came down The Muge Hill that Aidy and I struggled with right at the end that we pushed our bikes up. I hit 41mph, by far my fastest ever bike speed (36mph previous) and we were on our way to the A66……


This bit, as I’ve said already, was scary, worrying, boring – just cycling up a huge road, sometimes being beeped at by lorries etc knowing how close they were to us. At one point one of the lanes on the dual carriageway was closed for roadworks and Aidy decided to cycle in this closed off cones off lane – which made the lorries even more angrier with me on the other side in the cycle lane. Now we look back at it YES we were a bit silly but we felt safe enough and there was absolutely no other way to Ingleby Cross apart from tackling the huge hills over The Moors.

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We saw signs all the way down the A66 for Scotch Corner. What the heck was Scotch Corner we asked ALL THE WAY down the A66 until at last we came off the A66 at Scotch Corner which was simply where the A66 met the A1 and had a few service stations – we then hit country roads – this was a good feeling knowing we were only around 10 miles from our destination. We arrived in Ingleby Cross just before 6pm which was fantastic and we made our way up the huge hill to the beautiful Park House B&B which sat high up in the woods looking down with a fantastic view.

When we arrived straight away we were greeted and treated like kings. Our bikes were taken away for us and we were made to feel relaxed by Beverley. Shortly afterwards Mike took our bikes to the garage and then showed us to the workshop where he has a dozen amazing bikes on display, each one costing more than both of ours put together. Mike found it amusing that we were attempting the C2C just using mountain bikes.

An hour later tea was served which was of course a Sunday Roast with Yorkshire puddings almost the side of your head with beautiful meats etc. We were also joined by four C2C walkers, two of which were Australian (perfect for Aidy) and another guy from FARNWORTH??? Small world. We then retired in the lounge area with a few beers and called it a night around 10pm.

Summary: Beautiful B&B and the last fifth of the route was most enjoyable – the rest rubbish lol but it wasn’t so tough and felt better than we did at 12am at the end of Day 1.



Saturday 28th June – Day One of Coast to Coast – Bike – St Bees to Kirkby Stephen via Whitehaven, Keswick & Penrith (88 miles)

After being woken up on a cool morning by lots of loud crows (not seagulls) and after being up already a couple of times in the night I was a little tired. Soon after I heard Aidy’s car pull up alongside my tent so I knew it was time to get cracking! – we had a huge day ahead (unknowingly knowing How Huge of a day it would end up).

By the time we got the stove going, had a cup of tea (needed brrrrr) and my porridge we were on our bikes and ready to go at 8am (not 7am) – ney bother! We got a quick photo outside the C2C walk sign and headed off to Whitehaven, already meeting our first hill just outside the Caravan Park which required 1st gear – Many MANY more to come… 20140628_080414

We arrived in Whitehaven and saw that there were already quite a large number of cyclists (all with road bikes except us two) queuing up to get their picture taken next to the C2C Cycle sign


So, we headed off towards Keswick, with me becoming already confused telling Aidy that soon we’ll be cycling over rivers on wooden bridges etc (not knowing that this would be after Keswick). We started passing town after town, Cleator Moor, Frizington, all feeling good knowing the miles were flying by under our wheels – we were averaging around 10mph overall with 16mph average on a straight which wasn’t bad for a mountain bike. At this point I recognised some tunnels and buildings from the previous time (disaster) I tried cycling just Day 1 of the official C2C cycle from Whitehaven to Keswick with my mate Rick Tattersall around 10 years ago. I remember being so unfit, overweight, massively under-planning the requirements my body would need though such a challenge. I think I just took a 700ml bottle of water with me then and a 5kg pack. This time I had 1 Camelbak containing 1.5ltr of water mixed with a high grade carbohydrate supplement to fuel me constantly and would last 1.5 hours. I also had a 700ml bottle of water mixed with a high grade protein supplement to repair battered muscles. My bike must have had around 5kg of stuff strapped to it and I also had a 10kg pack on my back. So not only was I carrying miles more than the previous time the Whitehaven to Keswick would only be a third of what we were intending to do today! Such a contrast!!!

20 miles away from Whitehaven we started hitting the beautiful heart of the Lake District, passing the north-side of Lake Loweswater and past the tall mountains of Grasmore and Grisedale Pike. At this point we were both a bit low on fluids and needed the toilet and were lucky to find a village hall-type-place with fifty or so runners about to begin a fell run. I asked the organiser if we could cheekily take on some water and use the toilets which he kindly offered us – Aidy almost pinched a ham sandwich they had set out to welcome back the runners haha – he said they looked too good!

So after being refueled we headed off towards the dreaded Whinlatter Forest Park/Pass, thinking that my previous experience of this place would serve us well when we approached it. We passed Low Lorton and started to scale up towards Whinlatter Forest Park on very steep roads, probably around 20% incline. We made it to the top (then amazed to see a local bus pass us shortly afterwards going up the same hill) and we headed on the straight road through the forest towards Whinlatter Forest Park. Aidy would have been so pleased to pass this place and get it out of the way as I spoke about it non-stop using it to reassure myself and how we would tackle it etc.


We arrived into the park with me thinking that I would suddenly remember which path we needed to go. Now, the last time I was here with my friend Rick I remember thinking that we had taken the completely wrong path which took us up the highest point, the climb which was relentless and agreed with Aidy that we wouldn’t scale this since we had so much more to go afterwards. We realised there was an official start point to the Whinlatter Forest Park cycle which I must have completely missed the last time I was here – there was a blue route and a red route, blue which appeared to be a bit timid, red which appeared to be a little more challenging – so obviously we took the red route. The route quickly became apparent that this was intended for absolute experts who were 100% confident and skilled to tackle it. Me and Aidy did fair pretty good I have to admit, cycling down paths just a little wider than your bike wheel and then a steep 200ft drop. The views were incredible and we were pretty happy with our progress until we saw the next part of the route which snaked steeply up this huge hill – me and Aidy thought NAH and instead started to look at paths getting down towards Keswick and so we can go onwards. We found a path, a fantastic path which looked like it was hardly used in many years, jumping over branches etc – until we found the latter parts of it – a very very steep uneven rocky path which looked impossible to cycle down unless you were cycling for Red Bull. So we wimped out and carried our bikes down – or should I say held on the back brake and used the bike to control our decent down the hill. It wasn’t long until we were able to cycle the rest of the way down and arrived at Braithwaite about 5 miles outside Keswick. We had a quick rest here and headed for Keswick for a good break, absolutely shattered and unable to believe this was just a third of our journey.

Because I had taken on so much carbs and protein on throughout the day, I had no stomach for a good meal – unlike Aidy who had a monster burger.


After an hour’s stop, which was much longer than we originally intended – just because we were so tired and needing a rest, we headed off towards Penrith feeling slightly refreshed (slightly). Here we passed at last over the rivers on wooden bridges and the views were fantastic . The C2C signs kept us pointing towards Penrith since we were still on the C2C path and we arrived in Penrith around 6pm, much later than we originally wanted. Here Aidy was only spotted by someone he went to Uni with!! He’s such a legend everyone knows him haha!

We left Penrith and started to head south-east towards Kirkby Stephen, starting to realise that the day would soon/hopefully come to an end, being able to eat some good food, have some beers and get a good night sleep. We thought we should end up at our destination at around 10pm and we called the Fat Lamb B&B to say we would be a little late. At this point I was lying down on the grass taking a break in a village somewhere until I realised that I was lying down in something very offensive and very smell, all down my back! Sorry I had to share this with you but this will later explain why I haven’t been wearing my jacket – only wearing my tiny skin-tight compression top.

At around 8:30pm we knew we needed some food in us and we stopped in a remote village pub, the residents all looking at us like we were completely foreign. We told an elderly couple near us we were still heading for Kirkby Stephen and hoping to get there for 11pm and the guy said it will be around 12am! – nah mate it’ll be 11pm.

We had no idea how much harder this final stretch would be with the insulting hills and the outright exhaustion me and Aidy had. At 10pm we were near but still so far away. When you think 15 miles, it’s not far away, not if you have a car handy. By bike this is an hour’s good pace, good if you’re not averaging 6mph up hills. Darkness started to creep in, drizzle started and me without a jacket started to get very cold indeed. I had no lights on my bike – I lent the bike from my awesome friend Gareth McDonald and he never needed lights for his bike and I was absolutely certain I wouldn’t need them for this challenge.
How wrong I was, 11pm we were still 6 miles from our destination, again having to call the B&B explaining our delay. Thankfully someone was staying behind for us to wait for our arrival. At this point it was so dark, especially under the cover of trees I could barely even see the white lines on the middle of the road. At one point I glimpsed at my speedometer and I could just make out that I was going 30mph even though I couldn’t see the road or where we were going – just feeling the wind fly through me and trying to keep on the white lines on the road. Every car going past must have thought IDIOT, probably what I would have done at a guy cycling without lights. Being so close to our B&B it felt like it would never come. These final 10 miles felt by far the longest, hating the downhills knowing that it would result in an uphill eventually.

We arrived at Kirkby Stephen thinking this was our destination before we realised that Ravenstonedale (4 mile away) was our target – this was probably the lowest point of our journey. As we approached Ravenstonedale we hit a hill just leaving Kirkby Stephen which was relentless – Aidy wanted to get off and push and I was most glad to join him for a brief respite.

The final 3 miles still felt like a drag rather than a finish – there was no final sprint – there was nothing left in the tank for either of us. Some final HUGE hills to welcome us to our destination and trying to give positive advice to Aidy that we are so close – I think Aidy was probably just sick of hearing the sound of my voice. He said he was hallucinating at one point due to the darkness and his eyes trying to make objects out in the road.

WE ARRIVED – 12am precisely – Paul, the owner despite the late hour was still so hospitable allowing us to put our bikes safely in the back, taking us to our room asking if we wanted any hot drinks etc. We just wanted our beds and we had tea making facilities and wanted no longer to bother the owner and allow the poor guy to go to sleep himself. Aidy was out within 2 minutes and I still did my stretches like a good boy, plugged all of my gadgets in the wall to recharge, had a hot shower and then headed off to sleep just before 1am. What a day – what a horrible, wonderful, incredible day!

Day1_C2CClick here for Runtastic breakdown

Legend brother strikes again!!!

So my brother today was pretty awesome. Earlier in the week Aidy and I decided last minute that we wanted to approach Saturday differently in the best mental form possible. For Aidy this was staying in Horwich, getting a good night’s sleep and then setting off at 4am to St Bees for the 7am start. For me this was a no go for me so my brother kindly offered to take me up to St Bees, helped me pitch my tent up and drive back again. Legend!

Today was about last minute having a million things to tick off 20140627_083542_Crown Ln

So I spent all day friday gathering my kit, printing maps and contact details for B&Bs. I ended up buying a decent rucksack to carry my gear on my back as it simply was not going to be easy using the Camelbak on its own. I also bought a saddle gel cover, a chain, a bottle cage and other bike accessories to hold gear and nutrition. God the pack weighs a ton…. well in fact 10kg which is a decent weight to consider carrying over the hills etc on bike and by foot. I had to adapt the rucksack straight away as it has this special bar system which keeps the backpack being in contact with your back to prevent chaffing and sweat and more airflow – the problem was the bar at the bottom was sticking into my back with the 10kg inside poking into me 😦 a couple of tea towels wrapped around the bar helped a little.

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Once I got most of this done, it was around 6pm which was when Aidy dropped off his popup tent, camping stove equipment etc. I gave him my bike and gear and he headed off back to his.

So at 7:30pm Pete and I set off to St Bees arriving in good spirits and having a laugh on the way down – as was expected from my awesome brother almost missing the J40 turn off haha. We arrived in St Bees which was dry! – and we pitched up the popup tent (7 seconds!) and threw everything inside it including air bed and my sleeping bag, it was a pretty decent piece of accommodation.


My brother and I went to Queens Hotel in St Bees village and had a couple of pints of Cumberland Ale before he set off back home again because he was at work the day after. What a legend!

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Anyway goodnight and wish me luck for tomorrow! I’m both really nervous and excited 🙂

Coast to Coast to Coast Posts

Below are the Coast to Coast to Coast posts which gives you an easier way of selecting each entry:

Legend brother strikes again!!!

Saturday 28th June
Day One of Coast to Coast – Bike
St Bees to Kirkby Stephen via Whitehaven, Keswick & Penrith (88 miles)

Sunday 29th June
Day Two of Coast to Coast – Bike
Kirkby Stephen to Ingleby Cross (57 miles)

Monday 30th June
Day Three of Coast to Coast – Bike
Ingleby Cross to Robin Hoods Bay (39 miles)

Tuesday 1st July
Day Four of Coast to Coast – Run
Robin Hoods Bay to Ingleby Cross (39 miles)

Wednesday 2nd July
Day Five of Coast to Coast – Run
Ingleby Cross to Richmond (23 miles)

Thursday 3rd July
Day Six of Coast to Coast – Run
Richmond to Kirkby Stephen (38 miles)

Friday 4th July
Day Seven of Coast to Coast – Run
Kirkby Stephen to Keswick (43 miles)

Saturday 5th July
Day Eight of Coast to Coast – Run
Keswick to St Bees (30 miles)

A Beautiful, Incredible Donation just came through and I had to share this

I had to share this as right now I have the biggest smile and warmest humbleness (is that a word…. spellcheck hasn’t underlined it so I’m having it).

This morning on my Facebook, the The Chris Evans Breakfast Show popped up with:

Morning you lot.

Time to submit your applications for the #GOODMORNINGCHRISCLUB.

Why do you deserve entry this morning?

So I thought I’d go for it and post about the C2C2C challenge:

Good morning Chris and the Gang…… Please can I be in the club as this weekend I start a gruelling 8 day intense endurance event cycling up and down the mountains of Lake District National Park, the Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors. Then I’m going to run back through them. All for a fantastic charity!

Then the reply to this wasn’t from Chris or the team… in fact that now seems irrelevant, after the reply I DID receive:

ChrisEvansFBPageCommentsIt was me who briefly spoke to a lovely gentleman in a reading room at the grand and beautiful Parkhouse B&B. Parkhouse was one of the B&Bs we stopped at to drop off supplies for when we arrived at each location (read here). I was in such a rush to get home to a family BBQ my chat to him (Stephen) was very brief. Stephen was very keen on finding out more about the challenge so I am now so glad that I’ve had the chance to link with him via the internet and this fantastic chance of luck.

Finally, what happened next was truly wonderful. I received an email from JustGiving notifying me that £120 had just been donated by an anonymous person but thankfully their donation comment allowed me to realise that it was Stephen who made the donation:



Thanks to Stephen, my donations total is now £500, half of my target which is absolutely fantastic and considering I started pushing for donations only 2 days ago.

Truly emotional about this – some incredible amazing people around : )


Three Days before C2C2C

How do I feel? Excited, nervous, hopeful, cautious, terrified. As I write this now on the train my left ankle is a bit sore – I hope this sorts itself before I go.

Still so much to sort out including arranging three nights B&Bs, protein bags, Robin Hoods Bay arrival bag, water stops, bike shops, purchase a new rucksack, cheque I still have to make for Kidz2gether presentation tonight, arrange the fundraising event at Bowling Green for when we get back, posters for that, brewery, raffle prizes. My god the list never ends, I’ve never been this busy before!

I am secretly looking forward to it but my pessimistic side is constantly searching my memory banks checking for anything I might have forgotten which is exhausting!

Last night I spent two hours upgrading a GoPro bike mount to make it more stable. I’ll be glad I did this. I hope I have enough storage to capture everything. I might get Aidy’s folks at the Robin Hood’s Bay checkpoint to bring up my laptop so I can transfer my camera footage.

I’m mostly excited about the scenery and banter with Aidy and most nervous about the hills and my body giving up. I’ll could copy an Insanity stretch session to my phone which I can do every night at the B&Bs.

Overall I just hope I don’t let Aidy down nor let down everyone donating to the cause. We shall see how we do. I’ll look to do a blog every night to update everyone. I could read out people’s comments to Aidy that will get people commenting more. Nice idea!

Returning on TowerFM to update and promote my latest challenge

This morning I was invited back on TowerFM to give an update and promote my latest challege as their Twit Face of the day! As a reminder, the feature consists of three songs and then someone comes on to promote a cause and leave a Facebook or Twitter link so that people can find out more information. What was also amazing was the show was also being played live on WireFMPeakFM and WishFM, covering areas of Warrington, Wigan as well as Bolton.


Clip Length: 4 mins 00 secs

Click the speaker icon to listen


C2C2C B&B Visit Preparations

Aidy and I went on a little road trip. We visited three of the the B&B’s (two we’re staying in twice) and dropped off nutritional supplies (or Haribo and Twixs for Aidy) so that we will have these waiting for us rather than having to carry everything with us the whole challenge.

When Aidy arrived at 10:30am ready to go, only then did I realise I had to split the 5 x 1.5kg energy supplements bags in individual 150g bags and calculate how much I would need for each day and drop off at each B&B.

Aidy was like Sébastien Loeb (world rally driver) up and around the Yorkshire Moors. The Fat Lamb, our first stop in Kirkby Stephen looked like a restaurant/pub and B&B – it looked really grand and really nice. We dropped off our supplies with a barman and carried on in the car towards the beautiful Bridgedown House in Richmond. I was already notified by the owner of Bridgedown House that she wouldn’t be in so to drop the supplies in the back garden pink Wendy house. We then continued towards Parkhouse Country Guesthouse in Ingleby Cross. As we approached, we thought we got lost when our GPS took us up a steep, gravel path through some woods until we realised it was a private road and drive into the guesthouse. Absolutely fantastic, grand place and Beverley, the owner, offered us drinks and was really interested in our trip.

We then got home in time for a famlly BBQ at my mum and dad’s which Aidy joined and played some frisbee in the hot evening summer sun – probably not the weather we’ll be getting next week!

RoadTrip_C2C2C_PrepRoad Trip

Reeth Wilderness

Bike Ride with Aidy to Darwen

Aidy and I did a fairly simple 25 mile bike ride to test the bikes, see how the energy supplements fared and make any last minute adjustments before the challenge in a week’s time.

The climb up Rivington Road was pretty meaty at times, as well as the climb at the Stones Bank Brook forest towards A666. Apart from these hills it wasn’t too testing which I was glad of. We’ll be doing almost four of this route this time next week with Whinlatter Forest Park to play with.

The nutrition was great, I never felt tired, and we had some GoPro’s to play with. I lent a GoPro from one of Pete’s (my brother) friends – Ash – Legend. I collected it last night. I’ll be using the GoPro to capture loads of video footage for the Coast to Coast but Aidy won’t have his unfortunately – so I’ll be the chief media footage guy next week ha!

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