Many walkers and cyclists like a goal, and one of the most popular challenges is journeying from coast to coast. During a recent C2C (Sea to Sea) cycle tour of England I met several people who had completed the bike route. One said: “It feels like a great thing to do, to cycle right across my home country, from the Irish sea to the North sea. It’s like you’ve completed something properly.” Another cyclist said: “Going for coast to coast you get all the contrasts in landscape. The flatter coastal land and then the big hills in the middle. I like the symmetry of that.” I agree with both of these sentiments – and I'll be blogging soon about my experience cycling the C2C route.
There are plenty of official and unofficial coast to coast routes to choose from whether you fancy walking or cycling. Some are a two-day cycle, while others take weeks to walk. Here we bring you six great coast-to-coast walks and cycles in the UK.
Walk the English Coast to Coast
There are many possibilities, of course, when choosing a walk across England but if you like the idea of a shorter walk across one of the narrower sections of this country the English Coast to Coast is ideal. This popular route was created by Alfred Wainwright from St Bees in Cumbria on the west coast of England to Robin Hood's Bay, North Yorkshire, on the east coast of England. The Coast to Coast is acclaimed as one of the world’s great walks. The 200-mile walk also takes in three national parks. The route can be covered in six to 16 days, depending on your fitness levels and aspirations. See England Coast to Coast Walk.
Walk Scotland Coast to Coast
Again, the choice is yours when choosing where to walk from coast to coast in Scotland. Many like the idea of journeying one of the shortest routes and one of the most popular is from Perth, at the head of the Forth of Tay, to Fort William, located on a narrow sea loch on the west coast. The classic coast to coast walk is 116 miles long and can be walked over 10 to 14 days taking in the moors, mountains and rivers of the central Scottish Highlands.
England’s C2C bike route
This is one of the most popular cycles in the UK, the Sustrans C2C, which heads from Whitehaven on the west coast in Cumbria to Tynemouth in Tyne and Wear on the east coast. (Some people choose to finish the route at Sunderland but the classic is a Tynemouth finish). The classic C2C cycle tour is 140 miles of glorious cycling mainly on quiet country roads. If you enjoy some off-road sections then there are options for this, or you can ride the whole way on roads. The route can be done in two to five days depending on your fitness and the challenge you are after. This is one of those “symmetry” routes with flat coast sections at start and finish and lots of hills in the middle.
Go east to west or west to east on Britain’s Roman Frontier. The final section of this 100-mile cycle route was recently completed when the Ravenglass to South Shields section was opened. The waymarked route starts/finishes at Bowness-on-Solway and heads to Tynemouth. Most people will do the Hadrian’s Cycleway tour, which heads along quiet roads and cycle paths, over three or four days.
Scottish Coast to Coast cycle
By mountain bike you can head off the beaten track and choose from a wide variety of routes going coast to coast. One celebrated route heads west to east, from Fort William to Montrose, over 200 miles. A week would be enough for this if you’re fairly fit and a confident mountain biker. One coast to coast mountain biker said: “You can’t believe the remote feeling and stunning landscapes when you mountain bike in Scotland. Going from coast to coast simply gives you a good goal for experiencing Scotland’s amazing off-road trails.” See Scottish Coast to Coast Cycle.
Wales coast to coast cycle
This epic route heads north to south from Conwy to Swansea over six challenging days. The route was created by Mountain Biking UK magazine and heads along some of the country’s best natural and manmade MTB trails, including Penmachno, Machynellth, Coed-y-Brenin and more.