A long and mountainous day has brought us within sight of the North Sea. The climb up Hartside yesterday might have been the longest ascent of the ride, but today was full of multiple climbs and fast zooms downhill.
Alston was a great place to stay last night, but it was a mile or so off the C2C route. Rather than retracing our steps (or pedals) back to where we left the official route, we found our own way on a B road and a minor road to Garrigill and rejoined the C2C there.
The climb out of Garrigill started very steeply and took us over a hill with lots of mining remains. This whole region was heavily mined for lead and silver, and we’ve been riding past old mining huts and hummocks of tailings for lots of the day.
It would have been nice to have a ridge to follow, but we had to descend into Nenthead. We stopped to eat some lunch, and the friendly motorbike riders we met yesterday just happened to drive past as we were eating! They saw us and waved.
Out of Nenthead we climbed to the highest point on the C2C at 609 m. At the top we passed from Cumbria into Northumberland, and had a wonderful few miles of smooth speedy descent.
The rest of the day remained undulating. Slow steady climbs were followed by zooming cruises down good roads. The empty Moors were beautiful in a more rugged way than the Lake District.
After the last major climb on the C2C, out of Stanhope, we rode down an old rail path called the Waskerly Way. The gravel surface was a bit loose and rough in places, but the gentle descent made for very pleasant riding. It was from a point on this path that we saw the sea, and that excitement pushed us on to our bed at Castleside.
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