With the Epic route lined with more than 3,500m of climbing, you’ll need to come to this armed for an uphill battle – quite literally. But as much as the testing hills will chip away at your tired legs, the stunning surroundings make up for the pain as you’ll absorb unique Northumberland natural beauty that is seldom seen anywhere else in the world.
Heading onto the North Pennines for starters, life begins out of the saddle on this event as you’ll start on the back-foot with a testing series of climbs straight away. Moving out towards Catton, making it through the bare and exposed country roads can be a challenge in itself without taking the tough gradient into consideration. The country lanes remain quiet and mostly car-free though and you’re sure to rise to the challenge.
Continuing to battle the hill-side surroundings, you’ll follow the River West down to Carr Shield and Coalcleugh, which are a tough challenge to climb through. Passing abandoned mines and out-of-season ski lifts, the sense of remoteness through these parts should ignite your quest for escapism. Moving south, you’ll soon take on the feared ‘White Hill’, passing Bollinghope Common, after which unparalleled views wait atop a stunning hillside.
With one last test on ‘Long Hill’ (clue’s in the name), you’re left to take in the beautiful views across Tyne Valley and Hexham Common before crossing the finish line for a very well-earned medal, t-shirt and Powerbar recovery product.