This route is an enchanting coast to coast adventure named after the gangs of blood-thirsty raiders who used to roam this wild, untamed yet beautiful part of the country. It’s also commonly referred to as ‘The Return C2C’ as it runs from east to west, contrary to the other popular coast to coast routes. It features fewer steep climbs too but is longer and still a great challenge, taking in some of the most uninhabited expanses of Northumberland and Cumbria.
Distance: 272 km (169 miles)
Total climbing: 2,284m
Starting point: Tynemouth
Finish point: Whitehaven
Difficulty Rating: *** (click here for more details)
Home to northern Europe’s largest man-made lake and England’s largest forest, this is one of Northumberland’s most popular attractions, and perfect for anyone who loves exploring the great outdoors.
This beautifully decorated plinth is one of the finest examples of an Anglo-Saxon memorial still in existence. The meaning of its runic inscriptions are now unknown, giving this fascinating monument a distinct air of mystery.
Standing proud in the city it has dominated for nine centuries, Carlisle Castle has withstood countless sieges and even held a royal prisoner captive. Explore its rooms, walk its walls, and discover all about its turbulent history.
William Wordsworth is one of Britain’s most legendary romantic poets and this lovely Georgian townhouse house in which he was born has been lovingly restored to transport visitors back 250 years and experience life in 18th century Cumbria.
Originally built in the 12th century, this fortress played a significant role in the Civil Wars and Wars of the Roses and you can transport yourself back to those times exploring its remains which are set in an idyllic location at the junction of the Cocker and Derwent rivers.
Built around a pele tower dating back to the 14th century, this was once one of the finest manor houses in the region and remains a striking ruin which nowadays provides the setting for operas, pageants and plays.
The ride begins on the shore of the North Sea at Tynemouth and heads inland through North Tyneside on traffic-free waggonways before reaching Northumberland near Ponteland.
The route then meanders through the quaint villages of Stamfordham and Matfen before reaching Bellingham, one of the gateways to the Northumberland National Park, where you can venture into the serene forests surrounding Kielder Water – the largest man-made reservoir in Europe.
You’ll then cross briefly into Scotland before the route proceeds into Cumbria on quiet roads heading down the valley of the River Lyne to Westlinton and the cathedral city of Carlisle.
You’ll continue in a southerly direction before reaching the northern edge of the Lake District, where you’ll circle around the back of the rugged Skiddaw fell before heading through Cockermouth and onto the west coast at Workington.
You’ll then hug the shoreline on a network of mainly traffic-free cycle paths before reaching your destination in Whitehaven and dipping your tyres triumphantly into the Irish Sea.