We used our adventure to raise awareness & money to help Alice’s Escapes.
Crammed into Rio, a classic mini we only completed an engine swap on the evening before, we drove over to Newcastle to camp on the beautiful beachfront (on a car park).
With a heatwave forecast we were feeling optimistic.
Day 1 – Newcastle to Stanhope, around 40 – 50 Miles.
Setting off from Newcastle we didn’t know what to expect, we’d done some (minimal) training over the last couple of months, but as we moved away from the coast we climbed mountain after mountain, or so it felt.
The UK’s road surfaces aren’t great, so it soon set in how challenging this would be.
Once we had navigated Newcastle and successfully escaped the surrounding towns we climbed up onto the North Pennines.
The sun was shining which kept us smiling as we battled some tough headwinds, straight roads stretching into the distance and nothing around for miles.
The last leg of our day was pretty much a solid descent for over 4 miles, head wind kept our speeds safe and the day of pushing became worth it, moving the constant repetition to the back of our minds.
It took us around 8/9 hours to reach Stanhope where we set up camp next to a river & paddled in the remaining sun.
We were able to set up a ‘mission control’ where we could charge GoPro’s, Walkie Talkies etc.
Everything was going smoothly… until the Police showed up.
“You’re not allowed to camp here” Oh… so after a bit of a natter and a search for a sign which seemingly no longer existed, they were happy for us to stay.
Chill again … until a bunch of angry locals rocked up & the Police were back.
The locals uncovered the ‘no camping sign’ from some distant tree and we were forced to move.
Quickly trying to re-pack a mini and fit 4 in was a challenge!
We then had to drive 12 Miles out of the town until we found a suitable layby, right back on the border of Cumbria, to set up camp once again.
Day 2 – Stanhope – Hartside – 30 Miles
Backtracking to Stanhope after our luxurious layby campsite the sun was out again in full force.
Our first miles were up a steep incline back into the open, navigating lanes, rough surfaces & piles of gravel.
We were making some good progress by lunch time and after climbing some long inclines we stopped for a road side lunch at a perfect lefthander hairpin.
A bite to eat and pre-drifts, what more can one want?
Not falling would have been a bonus 😉
Cruising down from our break we faced a crossroad, around 30 cyclists coming from ahead stuggling with the gradient, we briefly contemplated our direction and went left.
4 miles on and we’re climbing a ridiculous hill in 40mph+ headwind!
That part sucked.
Finally getting a good 2 mile downhill blast we thought things were looking up.
However, shortly after when Lewis couldn’t take a corner and ended up safely shooting up a driveway, we paused to realize we were going the wrong way.
This mistake added 6 miles to our day and we had to push on an A-road to get us back on track.
The final stretch of our day was climbing Hartside pass at 1904ft we pushed on up following the setting sun.
We arrived at the top just in time to have a rest, share a bottle & catch the last of the sunset.
With the comfort of knowing we had 8 Miles of downhill for breakfast, we got the fire blazing, ate food and drank cold beers.
The best way to relax, reflect on the days push & marvel at the stars in a non-polluted clear sky.
Day 3 – Hartside – Ullswater – 26 Miles
Waking late, we headed to the already overflowing café for a fry up and brew
Packed up and ready to go by mid-day we started the 8 mile descent.
It took us 15 mins to get to the bottom and was by far a highlight of our trip, from there on we had some good smooth roads but quite a lot of heavy traffic as we made our way down the A686 to Penrith.
Climbing out of Penrith we managed to take some smaller roads and soon made it to Greystoke to meet up with the support car.
After sandwiches and a pint basking in the sun, we didn’t want to leave our perch but we headed south in search of our campsite at Ullswater.
The roads got progressively worse, as hedges made them narrower and the road surfaces became unpredictable. We took on a 23% grade hill surviving till the bottom until Lewis miss placed his footing and landed in a grassy verge.
Arriving at camp in the early afternoon, we managed to get our first shower of the trip with plenty of time to relax & take in the views.
Day 4 – Ullswater – Grizedale – 27miles
Day four was daunting, knowing we had to climb Kirkstone pass .
Choosing a different route than originally planned so we could go through Grizedale forest to stop at the Yurts for our last night meant we had another steep climb.
Setting off early the smooth winding roads which followed Ullswater were beautiful, the sun was beating down with temperatures around 25 degrees, we rested at the bottom of Kirkstone next to a tarn.
Lewis had set a mental challenge to push all the way up kirkstone which he managed to accomplish, being the UK’s highest mountain pass at 1,489ft a solid 20% incline up to the top we had to take breaks to cool off in the river and swore to never ever do it again! Ever.
Feeling accomplished we stopped to have a pint at the top and appreciate the beauty…
The next step was working our way into Ambleside, the road had been freshly covered in gravel so we had to walk the next 2 miles into the town, from there on we had a gentle cruise into Hawkshead before heading up more steep roads to drop down into Grizedale.
A hill we had previously skated got the better of Lewis as he lost control footbraking once again ending up in a grass verge claiming the record for the most “AGHHH’s” said in under 30 seconds as he fell in shorts wearing no knee pads! Yay ass rash.
A couple more miles got us to Grizedale forest Campsite where we had a luxury yurt waiting for us, Arthur the owner donated the money we would have paid him for our stay to our fund raising for Alice’s Escapes.
Day 5 – Grizedale – Walney – 23 Miles
Our final day! We woke early with anticipation to start but with 23 miles to do & not needing to finish until 4 we took our time.
We got fresh eggs from the farm and made a beastly breakfast, around midday we began skating.
Filled with excitement to reach the end the miles went quickly, getting to Ulverston fuelled by adrenaline we powered on through.
The past 100+ miles had been challenging not knowing what we’ll face round ever corner, now we were skating our local training route with ease.
Arriving into barrow we knew it was nearly over, passing our homes without stopping continuing to the coast, Rusty joined on to skate the last mile, popping in to our favorite pub for a quick ale before we skated the last 200m to our welcoming party! Epic!!!
Around 40 people greeted us along with Alice’s Escapes, The Evening Mail, friends & family!
We then emptied our bottle of water… carrying a bottle of sea water from Newcastle to Walney, Coast to Coast by skateboard, Done!