The Sea to Sea Cycle Route

The starting point at Whitehaven

The starting point at Whitehaven. Photo by Jan Fialkowski.

 
The Sea to Sea Cycle Route is the flagship of Sustrans long distance routes, having won a global award in 1996. It is a wonderful route through the Northern Lake District and over the Pennines, beginning on the Cumbria coast at Whitehaven or Workington on the Irish Sea, and finishing in Sunderland or Tynemouth on the North Sea.
 
Whitehaven is the starting point of the popular 140 mile long C2C cycle route, which travels along the Whitehaven to Ennerdale Cycle path, past Cleator Moor and Rowrah, then through Loweswater, Lorton, Whinlatter Pass to Keswick.
 
An alternative start is from Workington along another old railway cycle path to Cockermouth, and onwards to Keswick.
 
The top of Hartside Pass

The top of Hartside Pass,
home to England’s highest cafe (1903 ft)

 
From Keswick the route goes past Castlerigg Stone Circle (or alternatively along the Keswick Railway Footpath) to Greystoke, Penrith, Langwathby and Little Salkeld where you can visit Little Salkeld Mill and Long Meg Stone Circle.
 
From here there is a long climb over Hartside Pass, through Garrigill to Nenthead, then through the remote North Pennines to Consett, where the route divides to reach the North East coast at Sunderland or Tynemouth.
 
There is a link route from Carlisle to Penrith, connecting the Glasgow to Carlisle cycle route. This passes along minor roads from Carlisle, past Dalston and Rose Castle towards Little Blencow, where it joins the C2C route.
 

Sunderland Sunderland
The finish at Sunderland

The route is covered by the National Cycle Network map no.7, and this map is essential for the ride as the route makes use of regular roads, bridleways, old railways etc and, as such, is not a single waymarked cycle track.
 
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