Down for breakfast 8.30.I don't think our landlady likes mornings. I got the impression it was a lot earlier than she liked, or was used to. It was a good breakfast though full marks for cooking half asleep. Then saddle up, land oad our kit. Just as the landlord had closed the garage door Christopher realised he had left his bungee in the garage.

Luckily the front door was open so Christopher went back in and retrieved it. We tighten Glen's handlebars. Just across the road is a shop so we top up our drinks bottles. Then on our way. Out of Stanhope and turn right up Crawlyside bank.

I think it must have been named after the speed people and horses walked up it. It was three miles of steep in your face climbing. Then we topped it, hooray last big climb over. Two lads came up behind us pedalling hard, went past and then stopped at the turning onto the Waskerley way; we cycled past them and kept going. They never past us again, I guess they had burnt themselves out.

The Waskerly way is an old railway line it's flat and very picturesque. Nice easy riding, a great way to finish the C 2C . We gently pedal all the way to Consett, stop for a photo shoot on the viaduct 

Consett Viaduct

Then into Consett, stop at KFC for some refreshment and telephone the girls with an update on our progress and estimated finish time 2.30.

Through Consett and pick up the Railway track that would lead as down to the Tyne via Rowlands Gill and Saltwell park. A Fantastic route to cycle, nine miles of gentle down hill on disused railway line bordered both sides with trees and magnificent views. Then its out onto newly laid winding paths through the picturesque Saltwell Park. Riding past walkers, joggers and horses. Then through a funny little section to go over the Tyne. Stephen and Christopher are hungry and want one of the chocolate bars I always carry. I had brought 20 bars for sustenance through out the ride. I tell them to wait 5 minutes, as we will then be in a much nicer place for a stop. We head along the Tyne, past some industrial units and Armstrong Vickers munitions factory. All on cycle paths, Christopher nearly takes a wrong turning. Well the signs are a bit ambiguous. Then a slight rise before we drop right down to the riverside where it's all newly developed paths and offices. A much nicer place to stop, with a view down the Tyne and some of the many bridges that cross the river.

A nice spot for a picnic

Suitably refreshed we cycle on right along the Quayside. We all decide to cycle over the newest bridge called the "blinking eye". Why is it that a bridge designed for dual purpose, walking and cycling the walkers insist on walking on the narrower cycle lane, and give us cyclists dirty Looks when we try to squeeze past? 

Approaching the Blinking Eye

Dropping from the highest point of the bridge

Dodging pedestrians

Back onto the Newcastle Quayside


Then we leave the best part behind and start to enter the ShipYard areas of Swan Hunter. The old railway is now a hard surface walk / cycleway. Its pleasant flat riding looking over the River and the ship yards with the huge cranes standing idle. A shower of rain, we shelter under a bridge, then as we decide to carry on and just get wet it stops again.

A little further on I am leading for a change, when I come up behind two Roman Centurions, walking along the path. No I haven't gone mad, there was a Battle re enactment at Segdenum. I couldn't resist and called out, "Make way Thirty-second Legion coming through: They laughed and moved to one side, good job they were only carrying plastic swords. Then along past the Tyne tunnel, over a large expanse of waste ground and down to Royal Quays 'shopping outlet. The outskirts of North Shields. Almost at the end. Cross over the road. "Watch for the tricky turn" I call as I disappear through a gap. I look back but only Glen is in sight. Only couple of minutes and the other two turn up, I said it was easy to miss. The houses around this bit are really nice with lovely views over the harbour inlet. Then we climb away from them to North Shields the old part. The Industrial areas and the Fish Quays. We stop to phone Karen, she says she is 20 minutes away. Disappointing as we are 10 minutes away and bang on our scheduled finish time of 2.30.We discuss what to do. Wait around until they get there? We decide to cycle on and finish then do the photo call when they arrive. So we cycle down to the harbour side. A Nissan car transport ship has been leaving the docks. We cycle along keeping pace with the ship. It makes Glen feel at home, as he works for Nissan and after three days cycling his backside looks like the Japanese flag. As we carry on along the side of the Tyne the end of the C2C signpost is in sight, where the Tyne flows into the sea. It starts to rain, very hard; could it not have waited ten minutes? Jackets back on we cycle to the end. A crowd of people are gathered under the sign giving charity riders a cheer. We have no one. We pass the sign and cycle up the short hill to the carpark. As we brow the hill we see the safe play club bus in the car park. The girls are just getting out of the bus. Lesley has just parked her car and is joining the others. After the greetings we go back to the sign at the finishing point: We have the traditional photo shoot, throw the stones into the North sea, then stop Glen from throwing his bike in as well. 

We made it


Then back to the bus. Glen had given Karen a bottle of champagne to bring; Amanda presented us with medals, champagne and glasses. Glen opened the champagne and as Christopher and Stephen ran for cover proceeded to shake the bottle Formula one style and soaked me. 

Personalised Medals 

Suzanne watches the presentation

Amanda enjoys the moment

Colin gets soaked

Christopher has enough energy left to run

Glen enjoys the  feeling of achievement

Then after congratulations all round. We loaded the bikes in the back of the bus, Glen decided he was going home with Lesley.

One-month later Glen's bike is still in my garage. I must get him back on it soon. Even though he now claims the saddle is a cheese grater.

We all enjoyed it, although it was mentioned more than once over the weekend "never again" at the and of the ride they were all saying when are we going to do it again? Or we may do another three-day ride such as Coast and Castles.