Joe’s route is the first day of Brake the Cycle’s ‘Coast to Coast’ ride. Cyclists can pick this route up at Whitehaven and take it through the stunning backdrop of the Lake District National Park before either heading back on the train from Penrith or finishing the day at one of the Lakes’ many campsites.
The route starts in Whitehaven, a beautiful coastal town in West Cumbria. Here you pick up the ride on what was once an old railway line – now a dedicated cycle route. An easy start, this takes you out of town on a flat ride through Moor Row and Cleator Moor. As you make your way through the hills, you’ll start to see the mountains of the Lake District approaching.
About 30km into the Lakes you’ll come through Lorton, where there’s a great community- run village shop which is perfect for a coffee and snack stop. Try to refuel here before you head any further, because soon after is Whinlatter Pass where the climb is notorious. Although it’s not super steep, it is relentless. There are great views and another coffee stop when you get to the top, as well as some loos and walks for those who want to take in the scenery.
After a quick stop here, it’s all about bombing it down the other side. There are some great hairpin turns and incredible vistas of the lakes – if you can keep your eyes off the road long enough to enjoy them!
Then it’s on through Braithwaite and just a short distance to Keswick, which is bustling with places to grab lunch and a great opportunity to detour down to Lake Derwent. There’s an outdoor theatre by the lake, with lots of picnic benches and picturesque spots to take in the views by the water.
As you head back on the road, you’ll end up following a road that goes past a closed gate. So while there are some cars occasionally, past this point it’s pretty car-free – which is great if you’re cycling in groups. After a while on this path, there are a few switches over the A66, but everything is clearly signposted and easy to do.
At this point you’re nearing the end. It’s a hilly ride as you continue the route down to Ullswater where there are some great camping spots. Alternatively, take the B road down to Penrith, where you can catch a train home.
And don’t forget – the weather can change in an instant in the Lake District, so bring gear for all weathers!