Tuesday, 30 October 2007

A Weasel in Consett

Aparently weasels are quite rarely seen so it was a privilige to see one flushed out by a stalking moggy from some bushes adjacent to a warehouse just as a friendly local put us back on the correct track.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Wildlife Along the Way 2

Just to the east of Keswick, as we followed a disused railway line along the fast flowing River Greta the other Mr H and I spent a few minutes watching a dipper doing its thang...

Wildlife Along the Way 1 - Kingfisher!

Obviously it was impossible to capture images of all of the actual animals and birds we saw along the way, but below left is an image I found on the internet that comes closest to showing the startling, iridescent beauty of what many people would argue to be Britain's most splendid bird. Barely out of Whitehaven, riding over a little stream, a commotion, and I saw a water rail (top) run out from under the bridge- then that amazing shimmering blue flash as a kingfisher flew directly up the stream. Excellent!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

We're back!

A touch late thanks to a missed train in Birmingham (actually largely down to a sadistic and somewhat sour platform official) - but home again at last.

Homeward bound

The adventure over. We pull out of Newcastle train station, past the Tyne and on towards London.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

The final reckoning

One hundred and fifty one point seven five miles. And my knees feel every one of 'em.


An unceremonial refuelling at Burger King and on to the train station. You can just about make out the sign saying Sunderland. Onward to Newcastle.

Mark, Ian and the North Sea

Duncan and Amanda on the way!

The Stadium of Light

Not far now! Note the mill-pond like River Wear.

Puncture number six

Mark enters the running. May be a shade late to catch up as we pass Chester le Street.

Puncture number five

Amanda 3 - Duncan 2

Another top

And onwards into County Durham. Beautiful weather and beautiful, bleak scenery.

Allenheads Inn

We have never earned a pint like we earned these ones. Exhausted.

Black Hill

Highest point on the C2C! Darkest also.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Hartside Summit

Crouch Hill- I will never say bad things about you again.

Them there hills

Duncan points out the Pennines - the backbone of England. Unfortunately for our thighs, that's where we're going.

The M6

Under this and straight to the bike shop at Penrith.

Red squirrel!

Ian narrowly avoided running this one over.

Fuelling up part deux

We all eat far too much of a magnificent breakfast at Brathan guest house.

Puncture three

In the cold light of morning, Duncan inspects Amanda's puncture. It happened at a very inopportune moment last night. But today is another day and the weather looks great!

Monday, 22 October 2007

Very welcome refuelling

Whinlatter visitor centre provides what seems like the food of the gods. Next up - the mother of all downhills through beautiful forest track.

The highest point in England

A glimpse of Scafell Pike.

In the beginning

Duncan shows how it should be done. Adios Whitehaven.

You were only meant to dip the wheels in!

Amanda loses it as Ian falls into the Irish Sea. In this picture he's just climbed back out - soaked from the waist down.

Egg, egg, egg and egg.

Major fuelling before setting out - full English, Cumbrian style. I don't believe I have ever worn as much man made fibre at one time. One stray spark, and half of Cumbria will go up. -- Mr Harragan

Sunday, 21 October 2007

The Waverley Hotel

After nearly 11 hours since we pulled out of Euston, we finally arrive at our hotel in Whitehaven. Time to rest up - looks worryingly hilly round here!

First puncture!

Mr Wicksey breaks the world record for first puncture on a stationary bike. That large metal thing behind his bike is the train he just got off. Good start.

Hogwarts Express

Not such a good photo but that train there through the window is the actual Hogwarts Express! It says so on the carriages. Not actually at platform thirteen and three quarters, King's Cross - but at Crewe in Cheshire.
I've just heard that the Hogwarts Express leaves from platform nine and three quarters and not thirteen and three quarters. Sorry, Potter fans.

Cycle ride? What cycle ride?

Mr Carlsberg and a pack of cards help us to forget.

Quiet zone

So far so good. No problems getting on the train thanks to a very helpful guard. Nearly got nutted by a Glaswegian family whose seats we appear to have inadvertently occupied. Too bad the seat reservation computer isn't working.

Refreshed, relaxed, bricking it

Euston Station. Star date 2007. Branson - take us there and don't spare the pendolino.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Pre Match Nerves

Excitement and fear, the age old aperitif of physical exertion, is well upon me. Excitement at the adventure and fear of the hills. More excitement, I love train journeys - not too much to be scared of there though - Duncan banging on about Everton losing might be a bit of a pain.


This is a test post from the mobile phone - don't worry - this won't be a lycra drenched techie cyclist blog. Anyway, what you are looking at is 120 quid's worth of new crankset necessary (so the bike shop said) as I broke my crank this morning. Looks like I won't be eating until payday.

At last!

The grand depart is at last almost upon us! After frantic and impressive behind the scenes telephone action, Duncan managed to secure passage for 4 riders and 4 bikes on the Virgin West Coast service. A massive thankyou to Elsa Redpath MBE and Minesh Chauhan at Virgin for their help and generosity in getting us on our way. It's been both reassuring and refreshing to deal with a forward thinking and adaptable travel company.

We'll use the mobile phone camera to upload a few pics as we go - so you should be able to see our progress (presuming that we make some).

Let's not forget why we're doing this - you can visit our secure sponsorship pages on the link below and donate if you haven't already. A big thanks from all the team to those who have sponsored us so far.