C2C - Route 72 (briefly) & 71
Route Section: Start Point > Keswick
From Finish: 226km (141m) Tynemouth | 222km (139m) Sunderland
Keswick: 50km (31m)
Penrith: 88km (55m)
Those arriving at St Bees by train and wishing to dip their wheels in the sea, in the time honoured C2C fashion, should leave the station on the Priory Church side and make their way along the Coach Road past the petrol station and garage to the beach.
St Bees links to the C2C after 4km if you want to head straight up to Moor Row. To do this simply take Finkle St, almost opposite the station, and head up High House Road.
Alternatively you can go via Egremont 6km due east then link up with Route 72 (Hadrian's Cycleway) which will deposit you on Cleator Moor and the C2C.
If going via Egremont, leave the beach car park and take the first right along the straight road to the Station. Cross the level crossing and continue up the Main Street past the Platform 9 restaurant and the Queens Hotel on your right, the Manor House Hotel and the post office on your left.
At the next junction you have the choice to take: The challenging route left up Outrigg (20%) and over Baybarrow, with rewarding views over to Ennerdale, Wasdale and down the coast to Eskdale and further.
Or continue up the Main Street to take the second right – signposted for the Hadrians Way C72 route – and follow the coast (Nethertown Road) and charming single-track lanes to Coulderton, then head inland for Egremont and the Lakes.
At the T-junction in Coulderton head right to Middletown, taking first left just before the telephone box. Follow the lane for a short while, but instead of heading right, go straight on past Black Ling and Pickett How, up the narrow minor road. Make sure to enjoy views across to Dent Fel – the western edge of the Lake District as you head towards Egremont. Arriving in Egremont, take time to visit the Castle, then follow Route 72 which is clearly signed through the town and out to the north.
About a mile north of Egremont is Clintz Quarry Nature Reserve, a limestone quarry of dramatic proportions with 100ft cliffs. It is home to some rare orchids in May and June, and is a sanctuary for birds.
About St Bees
By popular request we decided in 2007 to introduce a third possible start to the route: St Bees, the seaside neighbour of Egremont. St Bees is the tried and trusted start to the Coast to Coast walk, famously founded by Alfred Wainwright in 1973.
St Bees Head is the most westerly point in the North of England and on a clear day from the promenade you can look out to the Isle of Man, 20 miles or so off the coast. It is also a lovely coastal setting and a splendid but smaller alternative to the bustling charms of Whitehaven and Workington.
The Egremont area has been mining iron ore and quarrying for more than 800 years and it is home to Florence Mine, the last deep Iron Ore mine in Western Europe. There is plenty of eager and competitive accommodation in Egremont, plus numerous hostelries and eateries in the area. Indeed, huge efforts are being put into the regeneration of this former weaving and dyeing town.
Egremont's hidden gems include the Norman Castle with its literary connection to Wordsworth's Ballad of the Horn of Egremont; Hartley's ice cream factory and shop; Lowes Court Gallery and its Tourist Information Centre, 01946 820693, with exhibitions of Cumbrian artists and local crafts. As a 'Fairtrade Town' Egremont has a number of shops selling locally produced and sourced foods and holds a Farmers Market on the third Friday of every month in the Market Hall.The main street has a variety of facilities, shops, pubs and takeaways catering for visitor needs. During the annual Crab Fair, which celebrated its 840th anniversary in September 2007, the greasy pole climbing and gurning (face pulling) events draw large crowds of locals and visitors. Indeed, the town is synonymous with that time honoured English tradition of gurning.
The Tourist Information Centre at Lowes Court Gal ery is always there for details of things to do in and around the town. 01946 820693
De Lucy Centre, 15 Market Place, Egremont, CA22 2AF 01946 828 101 or 07795 290826
Where To Sleep
Fairladies Barn Guest House
Run by: Will & Nicola Corrie
Luxury accommodation at affordable prices in an attractive converted 17th century sandstone barn, which stands back from the upper end of the high street, with a sun trap garden area. Fairladies looks as if it has been transported from one of those picture postcard villages in the Dordogne. Secure lock-up in a shed, but cyclists welcome to take bikes to their rooms.
Rooms: 4D, 3T, 2F (1D & 1T with shared bathroom).
B&B: £35. £50 single.
Eve meal: Lots of nearby pubs.
Pk lunch: £7.50.
Stone House Farm
Run by: Carole Smith
Friendly family run bed and breakfast in a large modernised Georgian farmhouse in the centre of the village, near the railway station and local shops, restaurants and hotels. Only three minutes' ride from the start of the C2C (not to mention Wainwright's coast to coast walk). Full English breakfast and free parking. There is, however, a charge for long stay car parking of £2.50 per night.
1S, 2T, 1F 2D, 1Tpl.
local pubs and hotels
Secure bike storage
On route for C2C and Hadrian's Cycleway
Run by: Melissa Berry
Now under new ownership, the ongoing project to completely refurbish this 17th century inn is ever nearing completion. The Queen's has a cosy country pub atmosphere, with oak beams and log fires. There are two real ale bars and a decent wine list. The restaurant has been stylishly redesigned and all meals are cooked on the premises using locally sourced ingredients where possible. Large conservatory and terraced garden. Secure cycle storage.
Rooms: 3S, 4T, 1F, 5D.
Eve meal: from £6.95.
Pk lunch: from £4.95.