Walney to Wear coast to coast cycle route (W2W) - one of the Sustrans suite of Irish-to-North-Sea cycle routes. (It was for an article for an upcoming issue of the CTC magazine, in case you're from HMRC and wondering why I'm claiming all that cake and beer against tax.)
The W2W goes from Barrow to either Whitby or Sunderland - splitting, much as my saddle did, just outside Barnard Castle.
It's a more strenuous traverse than 'the' coast to coast, the C2C (Workington/Whitehaven to Newcastle/Sunderland). The W2W involves around 150 miles, vaulting over some lofty Pennine highlands, and probably three days.
Day 1 was Barrow to Kendal, about 45 miles. Barrow is Britain's most working class place. This is based on metrics such as density of betting shops, fish and chip takeaways and tattoo parlours, in which case my home street in York must give it a run for its money.
statue of Laurel and Hardy - Stan being a local boy - who weren't cyclists, but whose example of well-meaning but hilarious incompetence informs most of Britain's cycle infrastructure.
Tan Hill Inn (picture), Britain's highest at 1732 feet (or, in metres, erm, quite a lot) up on a remote Pennine hill. On a clear day you can see both Irish and North Sea coasts. On a day like the one I was there, you can't even see both sides of the car park. It was drizzly, cold and misty, with zero visibility. I could just, however, make out the sign that said 'Naked Ramblers Welcome'.
artworks representing the planets (picture), similar to York's Planets Trail, though obviously not as good, as this is not Yorkshire.
Advice for the trip: it's rough in places, but nothing you can't enjoy; take your time; and you get best results if you drink plenty of fluids. Funnily enough, the same goes for the Wetherspoons.
Hardcore cycling in almost guaranteed rain: Scotland's no-frills 'anti-sportive' - The Ride of the Falling Rain on the Hebridean island of Islay has no entry fee, route card or medals, but its laidback, friendly vibe keeps riders coming...
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