From our ‘Rough Stuff Fellowship’ correspondent.
My mate Keith and I have cycled the middle and Easterley end of HCW, the middle was interesting (lots of forts) the Newcastle bit was the best cycling. However, in order to complete HCW we need to do the Western bit – Carlisle to Ravenglass. So we set dates, 13/14th of September and caught the train to Carlisle (unbelievably cheap) and planned to pedal over two days Carlisle to Maryport and Maryport to Ravenglass.
We arrived in Carlisle at about 9:30 and the first order of the day was to meet another couple, John and Irene, and to have a cooked breakfast in Weatherspoons so we didn’t set off until around 10:30. The route is easy to follow mainly coincident with Sustrans Route 72 but on leaving Carlisle we found the bridge over the River Eden closed (permanently?) and so had to make an easy detour.
Once we had left the City (our ride started at the castle) the roads got progressively quieter until we reached our lunch stop The Bush Inn in Angerton we were told “no vegatables” that didn’t apply to us but the food, so it was ok and washed down with a pint of the local brew. The man behind the bar said Silloth was a unique place and so it proved with cobbled streets, a working port and an altogether quaint feel. However the tea room was closed due to a bereavement so we pedalled on. Before we got to Silloth we stopped at Abbeytown and visited Holme Cultran Abbey, fascinating place and William the 1st’ brain and entrails are buried here after he was killed at Burgh by Sands, which we passed through just after leaving Carlisle.
After Silloth we pretty much followed the Coast Road to Maryport where we had excellent Fish and Chips from the Cross Quays chippie before moving on to our B&B for the night.
After a good fried breakfast we set off again this time mainly on disused but resurfaced old railway lines we stopped at Burrow Walls an old roman fort but there really wasn’t much to see, We followed the route through Workington and Distington although this was pretty the only thing of note was an almost tame Red Squirrel on the track. We had a coffee break in Whitehaven (with cake of course) and proceeded to Egremont for lunch at Di Margo’s I had a passable meat and potato pie and mushy peas. At this point, despite my warnings, Keith wanted to visit St Bees so we did, boring as I had warned, but the proceeded along the coast road to Seascale (past Sellafield) for a well needed ice cream, it was baking hot. Then more coast road to our final destination Ravenglass (what an excellent place) where we inspected the Roman bath house and found our excellent B&B (Rosegarth). We had a meal in the Ratty Arms and came home by train on Thursday morning.
All in all a great trip 96 miles over two days the second of which was more interesting than the first. We did see grass up the middle on many of the little lanes we took.
More pictures from the trip can be found here – https://flic.kr/s/aHskDDtwzT
Words & pictures – Geoff Smith.