C2C Day 3 - Rookhope to Roker

Day three did indeed start with a hill that can only be described as a complete bastard. And that wasn't the big one.

At the top of the big one which goes from Stanhope up to Waskerley I stopped to revel in my achievement and take a drink, at which point Insto came along followed by a wizened old cyclist with the build of a whippet in lycra who said "you think this is the top don't you? Everyone makes that mistake". He then suggested we put our top jackets on as "global warming hasn't made it up here yet and even the sheep try and hitch a lift". So, we pushed on up another climb to the top and from there we were on the Waskerley Way which was a really well looked after stretch of the route and a pleasure to cycle along, it really felt like you were cycling over the top of England, which we were.

The Waskerley Way leads down to Consett and from there it was a relentlessly grim 24 miles through the old industrial parts of the county which Insto summed up neatly as we trudged past the Washington Wetlands Centre with the shout "right, I've fucking had enough of this now".

But on we went as we had to get the finishing point at Sunderland and dip the front tyres in the North Sea. Big grins appeared as we cycled around the new swanky marina, to be wiped off as the cycle path abruptly ended about fifty yards short of the sea due to resurfacing works.

After a brief chat about the logistics involved in suspending the bikes over the jetty on a rope and into the sea to get the tyres wet we pushed on past the marina and found what we were looking for, a slipway into the North Sea.

Just as we dipped our tyres in a guy in a sea kayak emerged from the waves and said "just done the C2C? It's a good laugh hey? I did it into the prevailing wind last year from East to West, did it in two days it was a good run".

Somehow, we successfully fought the urge to try and chuck him back in.

Later there was beer, curry in the Shagarika and even a shot in the amusement arcade. And then sleep.

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