It was a last minute decision but I realised that I had a free weekend and my husband was going away and I would be left with nothing to do. It's was an ambition of mine to cycle across a country, so why not start with England! At the end of January, my neighbour, who had suffered from lymphoma, passed away, so this was my opportunity to raise some money into life saving research.
On Wednesday evening, I looked at the route and booked a B&B in Whitehaven so I could make an early start and then and a room in Allenshead for my mid point stopover. On the first evening, I got talking to some guys in the local pub and it turned out that they were doing the same thing but over 3 days. They looked very fit so I wondered if I had taken off more than I could chew.
Nonetheless, I set off at 7am Saturday morning in mild but slightly windy conditions. I was in Keswick by 10, where I stopped for a hot chocolate and Penrith by around midday for lunch. The longer stretch- with the most climbing was Penrith to Allenshead. I took a very well deserved break at the Hartside cafe before pushing on to Allenshead. It was windy and drizzly at times but sunny at other points too. I arrived at the Allenshead Inn around 4.30 and although I was tired, I think if I did it again, I would try to get the whole distance done in one day. However on my own, with the evening drawing closer, this was the right place for me to stop on this occasion.
I set off on Sunday morning around 8.30am and was in Sunderland by about 1pm, where I celebrated with a 99 ice-cream! I then took the train back to Sheffield.
It was fantastic, a wonderful experience. My biggest fear was getting a puncture as I was on a road bike, so I took a couple of deviations from the marked C2C route whenever the path looked to move off road. There was fantastic scenery and it was a great chance to reflect and enjoy my own company in the great british countryside.
Would I do it again? Definitely!