C2C - Route 7
Route Section: Alston > Consett
From Start: 149km (93m) | From Finish: 74km (46m)
Stanhope 7km (4.5m)
Consett 27km (17m)
- Once you have climbed that lung busting section out of Allenheads it is a fast and exhilarating run down to Rookhope.
Out of Rookhope
On road - go out of Rookhope on Front St past the old working man's club and take the left fork at Stotfield Burn.
This wonderfully scenic and quiet lane takes you down to the A689 and so into the handsome market town of Stanhope, on the banks of the Wear.
Off road - instead of turning right just past the pub go left up a rough road. You will see signs and soon you will be on a magnificent stretch of moorland which takes you straight across to Parkhead Station, at Mile Marker 100, avoiding Stanhope and that dreaded climb up Crawleyside.
This is suitable only for mountain bikes, though you could push your hybrid (or carry your road bike). After the Glorious Twelfth (Aug 12) it is occasionally closed for grouse shooting.
The stretch out of Allenheads is almost the last tortuous ascent - and it drags on until you reach the summit at Currick. Then there is a nice stretch of gentle downhil al the way to Rookhope.
You soon pass the boundary into County Durham, land of the Prince Bishops - palatinate rulers with absolute authority, equal to a sovereign within the principality. They were granted such power because of the huge strategic importance of the area in the ongoing battle with the Scots.
Consequently teams of chimneysweeps were employed to scrape the valuable lead and silver deposits from the chimney once a week. It was a dangerous and filthy job, done by children.On your approach you will pass the Lintzgarth Arch, an incongruous and enormous vestige of a bygone era, lying abandoned on the valley floor. The arch carried a 3km horizontal chimney across the valley which replaced the more conventional vertical type when it was realised that a lot of lead literally went up with the smoke.
Rookhope is another shrunken mining village. It is also charming, keeping the secret of its hiding place well guarded from sight, high above the Weardale Valley.
It is hard to imagine that this small group of dwellings was a hive of activity only a few years ago. In its heyday it supported a surgery, a resident district nurse, vicar, policeman, teashops, several crowded pubs and a busy school. The mining of lead, iron and fluorspar, smelting and the rail- ways totally dominated people's lives.
The village has been one of the most popular watering holes along the route before the final leg of the journey down to the NE coast. Now there is only a pub (it is occasionally open), village shop, post office and working men's club. There is a bunkhouse next to the pub and a camping field also. The pub has occasionally been in the hands of those keen to encourage cyclists, but this has varied somewhat over the past 20 years. Most folk tend to head to Stanhope now.
Where To Sleep
Run by: Valerie Livingston
Barrington Bunkhouse can take groups of up to 15 and is both homely and cosy, offering a warm welcome to C2Cers. It is directly on the route and right next door to The Rookhope Inn, which offers good beer and substantial fare. The communal bunkroom consists of 6 bunks, one fold-out bed, and a seating area in the middle of the room. There is a self-serve continental breakfast from a well stocked kitchen. There are 2 showers, 2 toilets, one with disabled facilities, a tumble dryer, secure bike storage, and an attractive patio. The owners are a musical bunch, so musicians are very welcome to borrow a guitar and have a go!
Camping: £14 with breakfast (£10 without).
Drying: tumble dryer plus oil-filled radiators.
Secure lock-up for bikes.
2 Princess Cottages
Run by: Mary Auckland
Charming old 2-bedroom cottage within stumbling distance of the pub. The owners live across the road so there's privacy. It comprises two twin rooms, shower room and a living room with coal fire, plus kitchenette (so you could buy food in Alston and cook it here). Dinner is provided on request. Secure lock up for bikes. Continental breakfast provided.
Eve meal: yes but you must order. £10 for 2 courses.
Pk lunch: yes on request. Secure lock-up.
address : Rookhope, DL13 2BP
telephone : 01388 517930
Run by: Iain & Shayne Smith
Charming 19th century cottage on the fell overlooking the village, just a few minutes walk from the pub, which serves good food and good beer. Sleeps eight in two bunk rooms. This new bunkhouse is on the track leading to the grouse moor and the off-road section and offers comfort and value for money. Continental breakfast. There is a small kitchen area downstairs, along with a shower and wc. There is also onsite camping and special offers for those staying for several nights.
Rooms: 1X6; 1X2.
Eve meal: pub.
Pk lunch: £5. Drying facilities. Secure lock-up.