Whitehaven

Whitehaven is a highlight and is discussed elsewhere as the start of the C2C. Don’t rush through, but enjoy the Georgian planned town, with its redeveloped harbour, the Beacon Visitor Centre, and the Haig Colliery Mining Museum high on the cliffs above the town. From Whitehaven to Moor Row Hadrian’s Cycleway follows the line of the original C2C route opened in 1994. Notice the two seats constructed from bridge beams. The first of these is positioned exactly on the line of the railway with the beams 4 foot 8 and a half inches apart where they hit the ground to reflect the original gauge of the railways. The path diverts around the seats with the result that you get a wonderful view looking up the railway.

To mark each mile large rocks were brought in at the time of construction and positioned to reflect local history or interest. This route was built by Sustrans and Groundwork in 1991 and 1992 and considerable effort was placed on drawing in the local communities along the route by means of public art and other items of interest.

You will pass a number of steel way markers, all created by local schools under the guidance of Richard Farrington. At Moor Row the signpost consists simply of a whole school classes names, but all to the same purpose of giving character to the route and ownership to locals to win their support and care for it. Just before passing under the main road bridge you can divert away onto the minor road to St Bees (for accommodation in St Bees (see below) which is the start of Wainwright’s Walk and would have also been a start of the C2C route had it been possible to construct a new path parallel to the railway to avoid this hilly road.

Just beyond Moor Row the route splits in all directions. Go to the left and you soon come to the Lady Victoria Mine which reputedly took coal, iron and limestone from the same shaft and now is surmounted by the Rock Crusher sculpture. Go straight on and you are on the way to Consett and Sunderland. Continue right along our route on the line of the Whitehaven, Cleator and Egremont Railway, and you pass a number of interesting bridges.

First under the path runs a pedestrian tunnel where you walk on steel plates under which the Beck runs – a double deck bridge! You then cross over an old footbridge relocated from Egremont station and then under an elegant elliptical arch before rejoining the road. On the way you cross Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk from St Bees to Robin Hoods Bay. Stop here at the junction to Cleator Village to take in the vista of the Lakeland hills and Dent Fell laid out before you.