The majority of C2C trips are spread over 3 or 4 days but many people also ride the route over a longer or shorter period of time. It is perfectly possible to complete the whole of the C2C within a single day although for a sub 24 hours C2C attempt you should have trained rigorously for it as well as also being a seasoned cyclist. At the other end of the scale there are people who plan a very leisurely trip over 5, 6 or 7 days either with the whole family or maybe just to leave enough time to take in the many sights and places along the route. We thoroughly recommend taking as much time as you have got on Britain’s most popular route.
I receive many e-mails asking for advice on how many days the ride should be attempted in, to which there is no definitive answer as every cyclist is different, with differing expectations and perceptions on how their trip should be. However I have set out below a few ideas for differing trip lengths along with suggestions of places to stop over en-route. These are, of course, only intended to act as a very rough guideline and are open to change depending on how much time you have, what you wish to achieve and (importantly) your level of fitness. I have listed the start and finish points of the ride as Whitehaven and Sunderland purely because that is the route that over 70% of C2Cers actually ride. However there are now growing numbers tackling the route from the scenic start of the Coast to Coast walk, at St Bees & Egremont. And this year we are hoping to see Maryport put in a bid to be an alternative start and distances from these alternative starts (including Workington) will be similar to those from Whitehaven. NB all distances given below are to the nearest mile or so.
Day One …Whitehaven to Garrigill/Alston – approx. distance 76 miles
- two big climbs – Whinlatter and Hartside – rest of route flat to undulating
Day Two …Garrigill/Alston to Sunderland – approx. distance 59 miles
- four big climbs in the first 18 miles before the route levels out for the last 40 miles
Day One … Whitehaven to Greystoke/Penrith – approx. distance 50 miles
- one big climb at Whinlatter rest of route reasonably undulating
Day Two … Greystoke/Penrith to Allenheads/Rookhope – approx. distance 40 miles
- climbs up Hartside, out of Garrigill and Black Hill. A tough day over very hilly terrain
Day Three … Allenheads/Rookhope to Sunderland – approx. distance 45 miles
- climb out of Allenheads and then Rookhope Incline (or Crawleyside if going via Stanhope) then its level or downhill all the way to the finish
Day One … Whitehaven to Mungrisdale – approx. distance 39 miles – slightly undulating ride with the one climb at Whinlatter
Day Two … Mungrisdale to Garrigill – approx. distance 37 miles
- big climb up to Hartside then downhill to Garrigill
Day Three … Garrigill to Castleside/Consett – approx. distance 34 miles
- climbs out of Garrigill, Black Hill, Allenheads and Rookhope – the toughest day
Day Four … Castleside/Consett to Sunderland – approx. distance 25 miles
- the last day and after yesterday a very easy one- level or downhill to Sunderland
Day One … Whitehaven to Keswick – approx. distance 30 miles
- one big climb at Whinlatter then downhill to Keswick
Day Two … Keswick to Langwathby – approx. distance 28 miles
- slightly undulating day but apart from Fell Lane in Penrith nothing too serious
Day Three … Langwathby to Allenheads – approx. distance 29 miles
- climbs up Hartside, Garrigill and Black Hill – a tough third day!
Day Four … Allenheads to Consett – approx. distance 26 miles
- a climb out of Allenheads and also Rookhope ( or Crawleyside if going via Stanhope)
Day Five … Consett to Sunderland – approx. distance 25 miles
- easy peasy, lemon squeezy – level or downhill all the way!
As mentioned earlier these timings and places to stop over are just rough guidelines. I understand that people will want to stop in certain places due to having relatives or friends there, or even purely because they always wanted to visit them, so use the above only as a first step in your planning and enjoy sitting down with a C2C route map and planning your own personalised C2C itinerary. Or even try winging it and seeing where you end up (however you would need to take a tent if you opt for this as accommodation is often full).
For more ideas on choosing the number of days in which to attempt the C2C visit the related links page and read other peoples C2C journals for their ideas & experiences.