Provisional Itinerary (published 2017)
Meet the minibus (MacDonald’s, Metro Centre) and drive to Barrow in Furness, arriving early afternoon. Drop bags off at the hotel, then cycle to the start of the W2W on Walney Island and back to the hotel which is situated on the W2W route. Possible guided tour of town by Phil Collier an award winning ambassador for Barrow (2017). Meal at the lively Salvana’s restaurant in Barrow.
There’s a long day ahead, so it’s an early start this morning. The route to Ulverston is up and down all the way, followed by a very steep climb out of the town, the terrain continues ‘up and down’ all the way to the river Leven and the salt marshes and mud flats of the estuary. Then it’s uphill through woodland before heading to the picturesque village of Cartmel and on to lunch at Grange-Over-Sands.
The afternoon is a lot gentler with very few hills early on, just the one major climb at Levens before heading further east and finally north to Natland, where we leave the official route and head in to Kendal for the evening. Our meal is at the Brewery Arts Centre tonight.
Another early start today, the route out of Kendal is busy with traffic and narrow streets to contend with. We rejoin the W2W to the east of Kendal. The terrain continues with the ‘up and down’ theme of the previous morning all the way to the M6 motorway and the Howgill hills, where the road surface is initially very potholed and poor but improves to become freshly laid tarmac. Note, there is one dangerous descent down to the disused railway viaduct at Beckfoot. Lunch is at the M6 services, Junction 38 north of Tebay.
The afternoon ride is gentle across open moorland before descending into Kirby Stephen for the night.
In terms of climbs this is easily the toughest morning, as the route climbs up to the open moors of the Pennines, the Pennine Way and the remote Tan Hill Inn at the highest point on the W2W. The views are outstanding all the way, after which the route is downhill along a mix of remote lanes and rough surfaced trail to Bowes village for lunch.
After lunch it’s a tame ride to Barnard Castle, a busy market town full of character and The Bowes Museum. The route continues along narrow country lanes, mostly on the level, as it heads to West Auckland, our destination for the day.
The day starts with an ‘urban route’ through Bishop Auckland to join the disused railway path to Durham City and then on to Rainton Meadows for lunch.
After lunch we are on familiar ground as we head east to Roker Pier at Sunderland, the official end of the W2W.