The Fierce Five Challenges Completed

This is a video I put together which summarises the challenges, the charities I fundraised for and how much in total I raised.
It also importantly highlights the fact that I would never have been able to do any of this without the support of my amazing wife Angela – The nights and weekends of not having me there with our 2 year old whilst I was off training or competing – She has been an absolute rock!

Fundraising Breakdown

If you don’t want to find out in the video, I raised in total £4,519.88 for the five charities which I’m massively over the moon about, considering that if I added up all of my fundraising targets it would have come to £2,600.00 – so I raised an additional £1,919.88 more than what I thought was possible. I smashed all of my fundraising targets thanks to the amazing generous donations from friends, family and even people I’ve never met before (a special mention goes out to Steven – you know who you are).

Challenges 1 & 2: Swim 1,000 x 25m lengths of a swimming pool & The Great North Swim, Windermere
Charities: Daytrippers Bolton & Kidz2gether
Target: £1,000.00
Raised: £1,721.16

Challenge 3: Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast
Charity: Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital Trust Fund
Target: £1,000.00
Raised: £1,756.25

Challenge 4: Tough Mudder 2014, Yorkshire
Charity: AFC Masters Football Club
Target: £300.00
Raised: £425.00

Challenge 5: The Great North Run 2014, Newcastle
Charity: National Autistic Society
Target: £300.00
Raised: £617.47

Fierce Five Challenges – Hardest, Easiest, Most Fun, Best Moment, Worst Moment

Hardest Challenge – Physically
Overall it would have to be the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast due to what it took out of me. The 1,000 lengths swim was probably as hard than the cycling part of the coast 2 coast, but the running/walking part was insanely hard – resulting in blisters, shin splints, long term injuries and strapping.
Order: Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast, 1000 lengths swim, Tough Mudder, Great North Run, Great North Swim

Hardest Challenge – Mentally
They were all mentally incredibly hard which I didn’t realise before I started training for everything. It is the mental endurance more so than physical endurance that gets you through each challenge.
Overall, including training I would say the 1,000 x 25m length challenge was the toughest mentally. The event itself was tough mentally but I was prepared due to the huge amount of training I did up to the event. There were many dark moments when training on my own up to 600 – 700 lengths for 10 hours in a pool with just my own mind and thoughts.
The Great North Run was the toughest event running on an injury and not being able to stop like I was able to in the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast.
Order: 1000 lengths swim, Great North Run, Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast, Tough Mudder, Great North Swim

Most Fun
Tough Mudder was without doubt the most fun challenge I did. This event is not just about physical or mental endurance but the team spirit and camaraderie you get in your team is like nothing other I’ve witnessed.
I did have many laughs with Aidy though on the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast – he was such a top bloke throughout and kept me going whenever I felt like giving up.
Order: Tough Mudder, Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast, Great North Swim, 1000 lengths swim, Great North Run

Best Moment
Too many to choose from – it was a great feeling beating the guy at breaststroke during the Great North Swim but I have to say coming down St Bees Head, the place I’ve visited so many times as a kid, and seeing my own family waiting for me at the bottom to congratulate me on completing the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast.
It was also amazing cycling/free-wheeling 5 miles downhill over 30mph towards Robin Hoods Bay on a roasting hot day seeing the coast coming into view for the first time and then arriving at the sea – that would have been enough on it’s own but to return back again and to the people I cared about most was an amazing feeling!

Worst Moment
There were a few dark moments, one I’ve already mentioned when training for the 1,000 length swim and being completely lonely and bored and just angry with having to keep going.
The return part of the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast when I was walking on injured legs was pretty rubbish but I had Aidy to help me and keep me cheery.
The Great North Run was pretty grim, the event was supposedly addictive, being told I’ll want to do it every year. My running training was so good up to this event but the injury I received just before the event meant that I had to run most of it in agony. At many parts I just wanted it to be over and didn’t know if I had 2 miles or 6 miles to go – but I persevered and got through it thanks to the positive mental training I had done up to this event and the other events – without it I may have not been able to complete it
…. OH YEAH the ambulance trip and hyperventilating after the 1,000 length swim was pretty rubbish as well.

…well that was a bit grim – OK now say something nice about each of the Five Challenges

1,000 lengths swim
The free swimming membership provided by Horwich Lesuire Centre for training. People swimming with me on the day

Great North Swim
My family who came with me for support and beating the fastest guy I’ve ever met at breaststroke also meaning I was the fastest in my wave.

Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast
Aidy keeping me cheery throughout as well as our Keswick night out the day before we returned. The woman who sold me some high grade walking boots for half price due to the charity challenge. The post challenge pub fundraiser was also absolutely fantastic raising over £500.

Tough Mudder
The team spirit was unbelievable and I really bonded with my top mate Jonny. Completing it and everyone hugging and laughing about certain obstacles.

Great North Run
Seeing Angela and Sebastian at the end, having a few teary moments during the run knowing that the Fierce Five Challenges was coming to an end.

Fierce Five Challenges Cost

I spent A LOT of my own money to ensure that I could do these events. I spread this cost over January to September and funded it with a part time graphics design and website development job I’ve been doing in the evenings. Without trying to sound like I’m glorifying myself the following is a brief breakdown of the costs of setting up the Fierce Five Challenges in case anyone is interested in doing something like this themselves – although of course it could be done a lot cheaper than how I did it:

Swim 1,000 x 25m lengths of a swimming pool
•  1,000 length swim pool & training gear – £36.00
•  Nutrition & energy supplements cost – £197.00
Total challenge cost £233.00

Great North Swim 2014, Windermere
•  Entry cost – £39.00
•  Wetsuit – £60.00
•  Transportation, parking and ferry costs – £40.00
Total challenge cost £139.00

Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast
•  1 night camping hire – £20.00
•  3 nights bed and breakfast hire – £125.50 (4 nights cost nothing)
•  Nutrition & energy supplements cost – £196.00
•  Walking boots – £70.00
•  Bike storage pouches, backpack, tubes, spare battery chargers – £76.00
•  Food/drink allowance – £200.00
Total challenge cost £687.50

Tough Mudder 2014, Yorkshire
•  Entry cost – £74.13
•  Nutrition & energy supplements cost – £45.93
•  New trail running shoes – £40.00
•  Transportation & parking – £30.00
Total challenge cost £190.06

Great North Run 2014, Newcastle
•  Entry cost – £50.00
•  Nutrition & energy supplements cost – £12.98
•  Transportation & parking costs – £40.00
Total challenge cost £102.98

Fierce Five Challenges Total Cost £1,352.54 

(Total entry costs – £163.13)
(Total equipment & gear costs – £282.00)
(Total nutrition & energy supplements costs – £451.91)

…Finally Special Mentions and Thank You’s

I could not have done any of these challenges without the kindness and support SO MANY people have shown me since the beginning of this year.

Suzi Moores & The Horwich Leisure Centre
Suzi was amazing with ensuring that I had everything ready on the day of my 1,000 length swim including my own swimming lane. She even swam my first lengths with me as support. The Horwich Leisure Centre gave me a free swimming and gym membership from March to May which Suzi sorted out so that I could go in whenever I wanted to train.

Tom Irving
Tom is a head dietitian and leading sports nutritional specialist. Tom gave me so much support and advice in terms of preparing myself for each event and what supplements to take in the run up to the challenge as well as just before, during and afterwards.

Tim Cromaty
I’ve known Tim since school but we become really close again recently and especially during the Five Challenges. Tim is a swimming legend who gave me loads of advice, a pair of his best goggles which I used for both swim challenges, and a heap of support and praise.

Lisa Eccleshare
Lisa spent hours and hours tirelessly contacting bed & breakfasts all around the route I was taking during the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast challenge. In the end she was able to secure three bed and breakfasts which offered either free or heavily discounted rates saving me around £300 in B&B hire costs.

Adrian Thomson-Massey
The absolute legend who kept me cheery throughout the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast challenge. From being positive, to stopping when I needed to rest my injured legs, putting on his comedy podcasts to cheer me up, having a top time each night after completing each day especially the Keswick night out we had on our penultimate day.

Gareth Macdonald
Gareth lent me his bike for the cycling part of the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast challenge. I had no idea at the time but I damaged the gears from it’s excessive use. After I learned about this I offered to pay for the repairs and he kindly declined saying it’s no problem.

The Bowling Green Pub, Horwich
Nicola and Jason Monks, the owners of The Bowling Green Pub, have been absolutely amazing throughout the Five Challenges. Firstly they let me put a donations pot on the bar for the swimming challenges which came to around £70. Then most importantly they provided the Bowling Green Pub so that I could host a fundraiser after I completed the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast challenge. They provided a free DJ, free pasties, two huge free cakes and most importantly the barrel of beer which was donated by Blackedge Brewery, every penny made from selling the beer went to the fundraiser. The fundraiser total came to over £500.

Blackedge Brewery, Horwich
Blackedge Brewery donated a barrel (firkin – 80 pints) of beer for the fundraiser I hosted at my local pub. They were so eager to support the fundraiser so I am massively thankful to them for this kind donation.

Samantha-Jayne Brady
Once I completed the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast challenge I decided at the very last minute to do a raffle for the fundraiser I had planned at my local pub. For a raffle I needed prizes and I met Sam online after posting on a local website page about local companies wanting to donate any prizes. Sam, who I’ve never properly met before, went around my local town of Horwich and spent the whole day visiting shops asking if they would like to donate. Sam was able to get 13 raffle prizes which were worth over £500. What an amazing kind person Sam is I love her to bits 🙂

Fundraiser Raffle Prize Donators
I mentioned how grateful I was for Sam for searching for local companies but I have to thank those who actually donated prizes from beauty products to meal vouchers to bowling & cinema vouchers to champagne. Incredible stuff and goes to show how kind local businesses can be when supporting good causes.

Park House Bed & Breakfast, Ingleby Cross
Beverley & Michael Robins were absolutely unbelievable. Not only did they provide us with a free night’s B&B but they were so attentive when we arrived, making small repairs to our bikes, washing clothes after I accidentally rolled around in some dog doo doo and even when we returned back to Ingleby Cross on our return journey Michael found us in the local pub and afterwards drove us back to our alternate B&B and said Beverley had made us some homemade flapjacks.

The Fat Lamb Bed & Breakfast, Kirkby Stephen
Paul Bonsall gave us a free night’s B&B and a heavily discounted night’s B&B (busy Saturday) which we were so grateful for. However, Paul was unbelievably caring when we massively underestimated our first day’s cycle arriving at 1am instead of 9pm. Paul who was supposed to finish at 10pm waited up for us and still showed us to our rooms.

Bridgedown House Bed & Breakfast, Richmond
Jennifer was absolutely lovely and gave us a free night’s B&B. When we arrived she showed us to our room, provided ice for injuries and kindly left us to our own devices.

I didn’t want to give Stephen’s full name as he would probably think against it being his humble, kind nature. Before I started the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast challenge I decided to go to each B&B dropping off supplies so that they were waiting for us before we arrived. I met Stephen at one of the B&Bs on one of the drop offs and I was in a mad rush to get around to each one. Stephen overheard the conversation I was having with the B&B owners about the challenge and when I bumped into him he wanted to know more details. He gave me some very warm words of praise and encouragement and off we went to the next B&B. What happened next was amazing – on a Facebook Radio 2 page I wrote what I was planning on doing for the challenge and Stephen’s better half Carole wrote a reply on my post saying that Stephen had told her about my challenge and recognised who I was from the conversation. Stephen and Carole are from the other side of the country and we have no mutual friends on Facebook. The link was incredible – and THEN they donated £120. Incredible kind and lovely people – Stephen and I talk regularly now on Facebook – he and Carole are such a lovely couple.

Mystery Great North Run Swimmer
Thanks to the guy who gave me the greatest race I’ve ever been in. The guy was massively muscular and I thought I wouldn’t have a chance of beating him until right at the end when I pipped him.

Angela and Sebastian Carruthers
I’ve already mentioned Angela in the video and at the top of this post but STILL, TRULY, she has been incredibly supportive these last 9 months. When I came up with the idea of doing the challenges Angela was very reluctant with me doing them as she knew that it would entail a lot of hours away from home training. I have honestly tried as best as I could to fit the training around her and Sebastian, such as doing it after Sebastian went to bed and Angela watching her nightly soaps marathon. But there were lots of times when I simply was not there and adding this to the times I’m already not there when I’m off doing my voluntary commitments she has been incredibly supportive. On a selfish note I’ve had to give up a lot of time with Angela and Sebastian, time which I’ll never get back but I knew the sacrifices before undertaking the challenges and I am more than ever making up for the lost time.

…and Finally…
Thank you to absolutely everyone who have supported me whether it being incredible donations or just asking how I’m getting on. There family members who were throwing in £100 donations each time for each challenge which was incredible – but there were also people such as Carole Brennan giving me a huge box of high-grade pasta for free as it was one of the only things I was eating at the time preparing for the challenges. Friends in the pub asking how I was getting on, random people in the pool asking about my swimming challenge, Jonny Turnbull for getting me through Tough Mudder – everyone you have been so kind and I would NOT have accomplished anything close to what I have achieved these past 9 months.

Now everything has finished I’m very restless at the moment and it’s very hard keeping the healthy eating regime. I still can’t do any running until I’ve fixed my leg which I injured during the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast and made worse during the Great North Run.

I hope to do at least Tough Mudder next year, improve on my swimming & running and perhaps hope to do something huge in 2016. It’s all secrets at the moment and depends on if Angela would divorce me if I was away again.

I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved but most of all I’m just proud of the money that I’ve raised for the incredible charities I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know this year. I’ve made amazing new friends along the way and rekindled friendships with old friends which I will always be in touch with.

The Fierce Five Challenges has been an incredible ride!

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

Alas, Day 8 – the final day of our epic voyage – right back to where it all started! We had our usual healthy breakfast… Fry Up and headed into Keswick. I had a spring in my step… well not really I was still really sore but it was like a spring with a kink which made each step make me look like I was stepping on a brick!

On our way out of Keswick and walking towards Braithwaite and UP towards Whinlatter Pass Aidy had a fantastic idea. I told Angela and family that we were arriving via Whitehaven and taking the main road towards St Bees caravan site via the village. Aidy suggested that when we get to Whitehaven we instead take the Coast 2 Coast path around the heads and surprise them. So when they are waiting for us on the promenade coming from the main road we’ll instead surprise them last minute with LOOK UP AT ST BEES HEAD! Aidy what a GENIUS idea!


So we travelled past Braithwaite in good time and started to scale the steep roads of Whinlatter Pass. The steep road wasn’t too bad compared to the road we initially took on the other side when we cycled up. The views over Keswick were immense! I did a few Go Pro videos remembering that I did hardly any videos the last couple of days. I found a large branch on the road, pretending I was Gandalf and that it was my staff, screaming as loud as I could “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!… Whinlatter Pass”…. Yep I was a bit daft at this stage.

We arrived at the Whinlatter Forest visitor centre, had a little break here including a wee stop and started to descend Whinlatter towards the other side towards the West Coast. At this stage my feet were really sore again and started to think will my ignorance just get me through this final stage?

At this stage I was pretty miffed that we had only done 7 miles. I think the scale of Whinlatter made it feel more like it was an achievement plus my legs were as sore as a 30 mile walk.

We headed on towards Whitehaven but took a different route other than the Coast 2 Coast route. We passed High Lorton as we did on day one but then at mile 11 near Mosser we went South West between Mockerin and Branthwaite. The small paths were absolutely beautiful and the weather was beautiful. We started talking about the possibility of running past everyone at the bottom of St Bees Head and just running straight into the sea…. or running into the sea anyway and after a short discussion we decided against this.


We arrived at Whitehaven around 4pm and took a break here ready for the final leg of our 8 day challenge. The path back over the heads towards St Bees was the exact start of the Coast 2 Coast walk and in a way it felt quite fitting to end it in this way. But the going wasn’t easy, sometimes going down steep paths and hugging sheer cliff edges. I thought that this final stage would only take around 2 hours based on our normal walking pace but the going was slow work, but absolutely beautiful – again a fitting end to our challenge. To be fair I was just looking forward to getting back and stopping, not having to move anymore and staying still lol.

We passed the lighthouse and then passed down and out of Fleswick Bay. I’ve walked here many times, we were close now.

After 30 minutes at last we could just see St Bees promenade… where was everyone?? I called Angela to make sure they were waiting at the promenade as agreed and as our plan depending on…. they weren’t! They were instead all in their own caravans and they were preparing a BBQ! So I said to her so after all of this I’m just supposed to knock on the caravan door and say I’ve finished! Lol she said that my dad was having a kip but will wake him up!

At this stage I was just impatient and asked her to look up at the Head and asked if she could see a guy waving!… She said no…. What an anticlimax…. 10 long seconds later she said “OH WAIT I CAN SEE IS THAT YOU???” Awwww awesome feeling! Luckily at this point it still was another 10 minutes to the foot of the Head and enough time for Angela and family to get outside (and wake up) and meet us at the bottom. 

The bottom we arrived, the tide was in, I crossed the bridge next to the head and there was everyone Ang, Seb, Mum, Dad, Maria, Pete, Luke and Anna… and two random people sat there hoping for some peace… Oops.

Angela ran forwards and gave me a huge hug followed by Maria holding Sebastian. I then hugged everyone else and a Cocker Hoop beer was there waiting for me AND a bottle of champagne which I popped open and sprayed over everyone.

IT WAS DONE! The reality sinked in! Aidy was incredible throughout and I made sure he got as many hugs as I did!

Wow how do I begin to summarise the last 8 days. So many highs and lows! So many memories, laughs, moans, hills, roads, paths, sheep, beers ha oops!

A quick summary would be that the cycling part was a physical endurance test, doing it on mountain bikes in three days was a triumph! A great challenge with great memories and a great finish at Robin Hood’s Bay. The walk back was a torturous mental endurance test but still with great memories and an incredible finish at St Bees. I’d repeat the cycling part anytime but maybe on a road bike. The walking part? – Even with my new mega awesome walking boots would my legs still hold up? Maybe but I don’t think I’ll ever try to find out!


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

This was a very interesting day, as we knew that when we arrived at Keswick, and having the Friday feeling, we knew that we would be able to sink a few pints, watch the two World Cup games Brazil vs Colombia and France vs Germany and then head out around town!!!

We pretty much, again, were mirroring the cycle route from Keswick to Kirkby Stephen that we did on Day 1 – but my god everything feels much slower when you recognise everything around you and you’re walking at around 3 mph instead of cycling at 15 mph.

We set off early so that we could arrive in Keswick at good time and at 10 miles we passed via Orlton. The roads up to here were again country roads with no main roads to worry about. The feet were OK if not a little sore still but the shoes were holding out.

At mile 14 we had to join the A6 but thankfully the road had a pavement which allowed for safe walking without getting beeped at by 70mph lorries! We followed the A6 for 10 miles and unfortunately the road became pavementless and we were again back in the way of incoming cars which slows you down massively!

At mile 26 thankfully we were back in Penrith and we got some supplies. I was getting pretty excited here as I knew we were near Junction 40 which was where I always turn off from the M6 to go towards St Bees so from here onwards I was pretty much replicating my way there – but I was thinking about meeting Angela, Sebastian and family after not seeing them for at least 8 days!!!

Unfortunately for the next 16 miles it was the A66, one of the most dangerous roads in Britain and for most of it we again had no pavement and the cars here are stupid. How many times we saw cars overtaking and almost crashing into oncoming cars. There were sometimes little paths which I found and took us away from the A66 at times but they were rare and this was a slow and depressing route. I just wished my feet were better and that we could have taken the route via Shap as originally intended.

BOOM we finally arrived in Keswick around 7pm but my feet were REALLY bad! We found our B&B The Babbling Brook which was decent and got showered and changed. We then headed back out into Keswick town centre, got some fish and chips from the usual The Old Keswickian and then watched both football games, sat down on a sofa in a sports bar drinking plenty of Guinness. Afterwards we went to a pub (maybe Oddfellows) which had some live music in there. We must have sunk (well I did) about 6-7 pints of real ale – but not just any real ale – Jennings Cocker Hoop and Cumberland Ale – actual pints of the stuff whereas I’m usually used to just bottles.


I could hold my own though just – the singer looked like Paul Daniels so we kept laughing about that then we realised that a quite, pretty, lady was being harassed by an innocent but very annoying, very drunk punter. So I created a body dam between this girl and this gentleman and he eventually got the idea and buzzed off. I then carried on talking to this lady for most of the night whilst Aidy was talking to someone else (I can’t remember I wasn’t that sober at this point). At closing time I gave my best wishes to this lady and her friends then Aidy and I headed back to our B&B – staggering due to both alcohol and physical problems haha! On the way back Aidy started running circles around me like a hyperactive dog winding me up!


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

OK we were in Richmond – a pretty decent sized town which pretty much has everything we need. So we destroyed our friend breakfast, thanked Jenifer for her kind and fantastic hospitality and headed off towards Richmond town centre… slowly. One of the things I knew I needed to purchase, before pain killers and blister plasters – was a decent pair of shoes/boots.

We went into a Mountain Warehouse store which sold proper walking shoes and equipment and as soon as I hobbled in slowly the lady behind the desk smiled as if she knew exactly what was wrong and how it happened. I explained/confirmed what had gone wrong and she pointed out the obvious that my running shoes were so battered that they were not providing any kind of support to my feet and hence why I was covered in blisters and injured. She also said that I was wearing cheap running socks and was a main factor for my blisters. She said that the moisture in my socks and feet had nowhere to go hence the blisters. She first of all gave me some different boots to try – BOOM what a difference!!! Straight away I felt my legs were supported and the pains were nowhere near as bad. I told her that a particular pair felt the best – some Grisdale boots. She said that she was not surprised as the insoles inside them are state of the art which provides better support. She said she normally sells them for £130 but will sell them to me for £70 which is pretty much cost price since I was doing the event for charity. What a diamond – plus Aidy was sweet talking her about when she went to Germany and Aidy has been all around the world and was able to hold a good conversation with her. She also threw in a pair of tall woolen socks – she said that these would help air out my feet and prevent any further blisters.

I paid the lady and we went to Boots to get the strongest painkillers they sold, some ibruprofen and three packs of Compeed blister plasters. Before we set off we decided to have a quick brew in a coffee shop nearby and as I sat down the sceptical part of me couldn’t help but think that perhaps these walking boots were not what I needed. I have never purchased a pair of walking boots before – I never pay for any shoes over £40 normally – plus Angela will kill me when she sees that transaction on online banking. Was £70 too much? – They certainly felt pretty good on my feet so whatever I’m pretty happy. As we finished our brews we got chatting to two walking couples who were sat chatting about a particular European city they’ve visited frequently (I forgot – again it was Aidy talking to them) and then suddenly the guy pointed at my boots and said “Hey that’s those new Grisdale walking boots with the state of the art insoles.” I said I paid £70 for them and explained why and he laughed saying “They’re worth around £150”. BOOM HAPPY DAYS!

We set off and walking is OK – the boots and strappage was doing its job. At mile 5 we hit the A66 which we knew we would be following for half of today. Most of the road was horrible to walk on with no footpaths, walking on the right side of the road so that we could see oncoming traffic. I felt a little down and especially for Aidy as his legs were fine, the road and views were rubbish, we SHOULD have been taking the huge scenic route but my legs just couldn’t take it. Aidy, however, was still being a rock and cheering me up – playing his comedy podcasts as usual.


At mile 26 we were back on the country paths which was a huge relief. The legs were still sore but manageable – the new boots were doing their job – GOD what I would have done if I had could have gone back in time and given myself these beauties before I set off!


Up towards mile 30 we were really chirpy surprisingly and the feet were sore but OK. We passed Winton at mile 32 knowing soon we would be arriving at Kirkby Stephen which we already knew so well. When we got to Kirkby Stephen we were both relieved that we had simply made it so far today – surprised also that my feet made it.


We went to the shop and got some supplies and headed off towards our B&B, duplicating the route we took on our bikes but this time in clear daylight and not at night time in streetlight with no bike lights.


At this point the weather got a little windy but it was OK – we were in the absolute middle of nowhere – again. I made a funny video of me and Aidy shouting at the camera because the wind was that loud you couldn’t hear us. I then found a patch of grassland amongst some trees which looked very much like something out of In The Night Garden…. randoms!


We arrived at The Fat Lamb B&B (this time not at 1am) at 7:30pm. We got our supplies from reception, went upstairs to get changed and went downstairs for some tea and real ales. I sunk about four pints since I was in a celebratory mood haha. I then started getting a bit daft and competitive when some guys turned up who had cycled from Whitehaven… on road bikes?? Pah only fools would ride normal bikes – unlike us two idiots who had to do it on mountain bikes. I later learned that they didn’t even go via Whinlatter Pass! BOOM but I didn’t say anything. The four pints of Dutch courage would probably get me knocked out! HA!

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

I woke up this morning and assessed my foot – not looking good lol! It looks like bloomin’ trench-foot with the white saturated skin covered in a box of Compeed blister plasters. The walk to the breakfast room was ridiculous, I needed to hold onto the banister for dear life when going downstairs. My shin was really sore on my right leg and something needed doing before we even thought about setting off.

We had our hearty breakfast, which for me made me smile that I promised myself a healthy one every morning – I just wanted some home comfort before we hit the road again. When walking on an injured leg it’s probably irrelevant what type of breakfast you have as long as you have a good sized one. I wonder if extra sausages and bacon repairs blisters?

Before we left I decided to strap up my right shin are using my zinc oxide tape. I watched a YouTube video about taping up a leg with shin splints although I had no idea if this was actually what I had??

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We set off from Somerset House Farm en route to Richmond – all I knew was this route was very flat and a lot shorter compared to the other routes. We stormed through part of this route when cycling through it – at least I’d be able to admire the beautiful little villages on my hobbled foot 😀

At mile 3 East Harlsey we started spotting things to do with the Tour de France which was due to take place next week and feature amongst the towns we were passing including this yellow taped bike.


We got cracking and after 5 miles near Welbury my foot was already sore, why the hell was I wearing these stupid old trainers? I should have invested in some proper shoes for this part – a real learning lesson for me.

Heading towards East and South Cowton between 10 – 15 miles our pace was slow and my right ankle was starting to become really sore. Aidy could see I was trying to avoid being pretty miserable so he got out his phone and played some properly funny Mitchell and Webb podcasts through it – it really was the tonic I needed and it really perked me up! At this point I was really popping the paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Around Scorton at mile 18 my right ankle was getting really sore and I was beginning to worry if I wouldn’t make it. Yesterday my leg muscles actually seized up due to not resting after the cycling. This was different – my actual tendons and bones in the shin was getting so sore. I decided that I needed to strap up my right ankle. I stopped by a grand entrance to a farmhouse with a huge driveway and looked around – no one was about – no cars on the driveway – so I jumped onto one of the pillars at the entrance, took off my right shoe and sock and began to strap it up around the ankle. As I finished and put my sock back on a car turned off the main road, turned into the grand entrance and gave me a horrible look – WHAT I’m only sat on top of the pillar of your drive entrance…. ooops. And off we went – ankle feeling better supported.


At mile 20 and after Brampton on Swale I was beginning to feel a bit depressed with the leg. I honed onto that mile 20 was the finish line and when we got there I realised that we had at least 3 miles to go. I kept saying to Aidy “We’re almost there now – when we go over this hill we’ll be able to see Richmond” even though I had no idea what we’d see or what Richmond would look like.

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Eventually AT LAST Richmond came into view…. WOOOOWWW…. Richmond is beautiful! It’s like a mini York to me! I was properly impressed with it and by eck they love their hills here.


One Steep Hill straight to Bridgedown House B&B and we arrived for about 6pm.  Jennifer who ran the B&B seemingly on her own with her daughters was lovely! She showed us to our rooms but what was great was that she just left us to it. She could see that I was a mess and I asked if she had some ice which she was very happy to get for us. I then stuck as much ice as I could in a sock and placed this over my ankle & shin hoping that it would do something.

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We got changed and got freshened up – I had a shower and stupidly starting thinking that removing the tape was a good idea whereas now I know you should leave tape on. Tearing off the tape which was stuck to my hairy legs was absolutely agonising! I’m shivering now as I type this remembering each ginger hair plucking away from my stupid legs.

After the shower we decided to go to get some food and luckily there was a restaurant just outside our B&B about 200 yards away. Unfortunately for me I couldn’t even move without the help of Aidy and I was moving about one footstep every two seconds. It took a good 10 minutes to get to the restaurant that would take me not even a minute to reach with good feet. Nethertheless we got inside the restaurant which was a refurbished old train station. I had a burger and a couple of beers and then we decided to head back to chill in our room.

Tomorrow is an interesting one – 38 miles to Kirkby Stephen when I’m walking 1 step every 2 seconds. Meh it’ll only take me 3 days to do tomorrow’s little walk 😥


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

So Aidy and I arrived back at Robin Hood’s Bay where we arrived yesterday afternoon. Going downhill into the village we could feel our quadricep muscles absolutely killing from the cycling, but I was glad of it, no more saddle soreness.


When we got to the bay, Aidy said not to dip our feet in the sea (as is customary for the C2C walkers) because we’ll get blisters, but I went to just dip the edge of my shoe in the sea and then a huge wave washed up and over our ankles. Never mind we’ll be ok!???

Aidy and I said goodbye to Aidy’s mum and thanked her then headed up and out of Robin Hood’s Bay. Already up the steep incline which takes you out of the village we could feel the aches in our muscles.


The weather was hot and sunny and our pace was good. On our way out of Robin Hood’s Bay and up the Cinder Track we came across a walker aged in his 60s. He was asking what we were doing and we told him humorously that we were walking to St Bees, like it was nothing. He gave us a grave stare and asked us if we were ‘army boys’. He indicated that he’s done the C2C many times and knows his stuff and advised how tough it would get. At this point I was still thinking ‘nah it’s only on foot it’ll be fine’. Even mentioning that we’re en route to Ingleby Cross made him stare on a scared state. Ha we’ll be fine pal but thanks for your concern… although the last time an elderly man gave us advice, when we were on Day One at the pub for our tea and he said we’d arrive at Kirkby Stephen after 11 when we said it would be around 10, he was right. Again in sure we’ll not hit any problems.


He wished us good luck and we went on our way up and off the Cinder Track, past Whitby and up towards the hills of the Yorkshire Moors. But this was our first problem, the huge road downhill from the top of the Yorkshire Moors to the coast was now uphill, uphill for a long long way. It was now when we realised our first niggle – walking takes a long way to get anywhere over long distances, especially when you’ve already covered the same track by bikes averaging at times between 10-20mph when we were walking between 2-3mph. We were taking about as soon as we scale The Yorkshire Moors but after 3 hours we hadn’t even got anywhere near them! – just this huge uphill road! Is was soul destroying.

At one point I had an ETA on my phone on what time we’d arrive at Ingleby Cross and changing the pace ever so slightly meant finishing between 3-4 hours later. The tiny fractions of pace resulted in huge changes in arrival time. At this point I upped the pace and we could eventually see the hills we needed to scale in the far distance.

My feet started to feel sore, get very warm and feel sticky. I was wearing my hardly used Aldi running shoes (already falling apart) which cost me £20 and I had already tied the laces too tight, resulting in zero space for my feet to move about and breathe. Luckily Aidy’s mum, who has decided to hang about in Robin Hood’s Bay drove past us and I decided to wear my sightly better Karrimoor shoes which saw me through the cycling part. I also relaced the shoes to provide more space for my feet but at this point I could feel blisters starting on both my stupid wonky little toes where they were squeezed up against the other toes the whole time.

We started to scale The Yorkshire Moors and after 5 hours of walking we were still pretty gutted we could still see the East Coast sea. Haha so jubilant to see it the day before, now wishing it would do one. We knew though we’d be soon decending The Yorkshire Moors and we’d never see it again, or at least for this challenge.


At this point not only was I stopping occasionally to put on suntan cream but I was checking my feet for the damage report…. Not Good! I went through a whole 7 pack of Compeed blisters plasters just in my left foot. The walking became more and more painful but I just plodded on. Aidy was really supportive ensuring that I was ok.

We started scaling down the Moors and through the villages taking our time. At this point it wasn’t just my toes and blisters causing me problems but my muscle aches in my legs… it was bloody agony. I pushed as hard as I could until it got to a point where the if I stopped my muscles just seized up and took a while fit them to become movable again. It got harder and harder each time and then when we got to about 5 miles from our destination when we came to a pub where we needed to get water – Disaster!! – my legs had completely locked up and I mean I couldn’t move on them. At this point after a short chat we decided to get a taxi from our location to the B&B. I felt a bit cheated but I had no other choice. To be fair, the final 5 miles was over a busy main road with no pedestrian pavements etc, just grass verges which would be agonising to walk on. Also any more walking would result in massive damage to my muscles.

The taxi arrived and we arrived at our B&B in Ingleby Cross at about 6:30pm. It wasn’t as amazing as Park House but it was pretty and clean and the room was modern and nice.
We got to our room and I checked in detail the extent of the damage. Both my little toes had blown up like balloons the blisters were that bad! I washed and changed into my evening clothes and we decided to head to a pub nearby for food and well deserved beers.


Even though the pub was about 300 yards away it took a bloody long time to get there with my stupid feet. We arrived and ordered a pint of Black Sheep and ordered some burgers. The Black Sheep made me think about the time I nearly flew into a sheep on the way up to the Fat Lamb on Day One. I thought How Far are we away from there!!! How am I going to do this with these feet?

At this point we were cheered up at bumping into Mike from the Park House B&B also having a beer. We updated him on our progress and he said he was sorry they couldn’t fit us in at such late notice. He had to nip back to the B&B and we had a couple more beers to cheer us (me) up. At 9pm we decided to get back for an early night and on our way out with me limping outside we bumped into Mike again and he offered to take us back to our B&B – Plus when he told Beverley about our arrival in Ingleby Cross she passed onto him two of her homemade cake for us to enjoy – Still Legends!!!

We’ve got back to our B&B for some early shut eye straight away. I’m hoping my body will miraculously recover overnight and in time for tomorrow’s Ingleby Cross to Richmond trek. I can’t tell you how worried I am 😦


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 🙂