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Coast to Coast - St Bees to St Abbs
11th May 2019 - 18th May 2019 (8 days)
Starting on the Cumbrian coastline at St Bees Head and the Irish Sea, this tour skirts to the north of the Lake District, crosses Hadrian's Wall and takes its participants up into the Scottish Borders to another equally historic town, St Abbs on the North Sea. The group will meander through some magnificent countryside including the north Pennines and the Northumberland National Park, on the way enjoying some unusual accommodation including a former Land Girls’ hostel and, if you’re lucky, some fashionable shepherds’ huts.
Three nights will be spent in one location allowing for some good luggage-free riding in the Scottish Borders, amongst the best cycling country in the UK. On these days participants will visit the lovely Borders Abbey towns and, weather and tide permitting, take a ride to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.
- Holiday Type Guided
- Tour Manager Gary Cummins
- Grade Challenging
- Booking Status Fully Booked
- Accommodation Hotel & Hostel
- Board Basis Some Meals
- Travel Arrangements Land Only
- Road / Off Road Road
- Holiday Style Moving-on
- Vehicle Support Carry Own Luggage
- Holiday Ref 01909
Saturday 11th May
Meet at St Bees. Stay 1 night.
Sunday 12th May
Cycle to Hesket-Newmarket. 40 miles. Stay 1 night.
Monday 13th May
Cycle to Gilsland. 40 miles. Stay 1 night.
Tuesday 14th May
Cycle to Wooler. 65 miles. Stay 3 nights.
Wednesday 15th May
Loop ride without luggage to Kelso.
Thursday 16th May
Loop ride without luggage to Lindisfarne.
Friday 17th May
Cycle to Eyemouth via St Abbs. 50 miles. Stay 1 night.
Saturday 18th May
Tour ends after breakfast.
Accommodation & Meals
Four nights are spent in hotels or B&B accommodation, two of them on a half-board basis and two on a bed and breakfast basis, all sharing two to a room. Three nights will be spent in an independent hostel where we shall have sole occupancy. Sheet sleeping bags or sheets and pillowcases will be provided at all hostels, but no meals are included while staying at them.
On all nights there will be somewhere nearby to get an evening meal, and the hostel has a very good self-catering kitchen. Vegetarian requests will be accommodated for in included meals if made clear on the Booking Form.
Obtaining travel insurance is optional for UK residents as your Cycling UK membership provides third party cover. However, this does not cover any other risks such as cancellation charges, personal injury or lost property. We therefore strongly recommend that suitable insurance is taken out to safeguard against such risks. Members who do not reside in the UK are not covered for third party and are advised to obtain suitable cover before leaving their normal residence. If you already have an annual policy, you may need to confirm that it will cover a UK holiday or make provision for it to do so.
The price of £450 is based on a minimum number of 12 people taking part in the holiday. If there are insufficient bookings by 2nd March 2019, we will contact you and return all monies paid, although in certain circumstances the holiday may still run at below minimum numbers but at the same price.
- 2 nights hotel, sharing room, half-board
- 2 nights hotel, sharing room, bed & breakfast
- 3 nights hostel, sharing dormitory, no meals
- CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours costs
Price Does Not Include
- Travel to the start and finish locations
- Drinks with included evening meals
- Lunches or other refreshments during the day
- Entry fees at any attractions
- Any other personal expenses
- Travel Insurance (optional)
A deposit of £200 per person is payable upon booking, with the final balance of £250 per person to be paid ten weeks prior to departure, by 2nd March 2019.
Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Cancellation charges are as follows:
Written notice received:
Before 2nd March 2019
From 2nd March 2019 through to departure
The Area Covered By The Holiday
There are quite a few coast-to-coast routes out there these days. This is another, and it’s a variation on those routes. We’ve added our own touches and diversions, which we think will add something to those that already exist, while avoiding some of the more popular stops ... and the crowds that go with them.
We begin at St Bees, the most westerly point of Cumbria and 50 miles from the Scottish border. It's known for being the start of the Wainwright Coast to Coast Walk and has a nice sandy beach, St Bees Head is the only Heritage Coast between Scotland and Wales and an important RSPB seabird reserve.
From there our route skirts the edge of the Lake District National Park before crossing Hadrian’s Wall, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. We pick up the Pennine Cycleway and follow the spine of England up through the Scottish Borders. Here we have plenty of time in one of the lesser populated parts of the UK and, as a result, one of the best parts for cycling. From the Borders we do a final hop toward our destination at St Abbs and end the tour in another lovely coastal village.
Rides & Rest Days
The tour moves on each day with no rest days. However, we do spend three nights at one location where we plan to have two led rides unencumbered by luggage. So, if anybody needs a rest and repair day, they can sit out one of those, no-one is obliged to ride those days.
Most of each day will be spent cycling. People will be expected to ride in loose groups, around 10-12 mph on the flat, slower up hills, usually meeting up at cafes for lunch and refreshment breaks. Inevitably, parts of this route are very hilly, and there is no back-up vehicle to carry your luggage, so you do need to be fit to get the most out of this tour, and it is essential to get out on your bike and do some 60-mile rides before the tour starts. There are some steep descents too, so you should be comfortable that you are able to negotiate these safely. Please note it may not always be possible to follow the itinerary exactly; things do not always go as planned. In these circumstances, we will make alternative arrangements. Most of the roads are used by rural/tourist traffic. Though we will need to use some A roads, we avoid them as much as possible. Detailed route notes will be provided before the tour, along with GPS tracks for those who want them.
Accommodation & Meals
Accommodation will range from a hostel (a former Women’s Land Army building where we have sole use of the site; some guests will have the option of sleeping in shepherd huts if they wish), to 3-star hotels. Evening meals on five nights and breakfasts on four days will need to be selfcatered, or you can eat out. On all nights there will be somewhere to get an evening meal. We will usually try to arrange one evening group meal in the hostel, though nobody is obliged to join in with if they don’t wish to.
The maximum group size will be 14 excluding the Tour Manager(s).
Weather & Clothing
Scottish Borders weather in springtime is not as extreme as that of the Highlands, but it is still a good idea to be prepared, so good lightweight clothing, suitable for a range of temperatures, is needed, and good waterproofs that you can wear all day are a must, as is warmer clothing for the evenings. Hopefully sun cream will also be useful, and we’ll be near the sea at times, so you might even want to bring swimming gear. We shouldn’t have trouble with midges.
Cycles & Equipment
A lightweight hybrid bike or touring cycle with low gears (e.g. a small chain ring the same size or smaller than the largest cog on your rear wheel) is recommended. Your bike must be in good working order, especially the brakes and tyres. Prior to the tour turn your bike upside down and rotate both wheels. There should be no bald spots on either tyre; if in doubt fit a new tyre. Lights should not be needed, but it may be an idea to bring them in case we ride out in the evening, and mudguards should be fitted or you may be unpopular with other riders. You should have ridden your cycle before the tour with a similar amount of luggage to what you intend to come on the tour with to ensure you are happy with its handling. You are expected to carry tools and spares to deal with punctures and minor repairs, including two new inner tubes and spare brake pads. There are some bike shops at the start of the tour and on or near the route, but not many.
Maps & Guides
Route descriptions will be supplied by email. You should bring your own maps if you like using them and will find the OS Travelmap Road series no’s 3 and 4 useful. Taking pages from a car atlas is an alternative (and cheaper) option but note some minor tracks and National Cycle Network routes will not appear on these, and we shall be using NCN routes on this tour. Links to GPX files of the daily routes will be sent by email.