1973 saw Alfred Wainwright publish details of his proposed route across the UK from the west coast of Cumbria at Whitehaven to the east at Robin Hood's Bay, the original route stood at around 200 miles and was intended to be completed in around 2 - 3 weeks.
Wainwright's Coast to Coast takes in the coastal plain of the west coast of Cumbria, before tackling classic ridges and peaks of the English Lake District, through the north of the Yorkshire Dales and over the vast North Yorkshire Moors.
Open Adventure's incarnation of the Coast to Coast, however, includes four disciplines and four days of fast-paced racing that takes competitors through spectacular countryside in the north of England.
Split in to 17 stages the route incorporates running, mountain biking, kayaking, open water swimming and road cycling into its agenda. Competitors rely on their skills in all these disciplines to succesfully get across the country in the shortest time possible.
Starting at Whitehaven this year's route took racers initially away from their goal, a paddle out to sea saw them navigate around the coastline to St Bees Head.
Calm seas meant stage 1's short paddle around the coastline was within the limits of all the teams, however, from a strategic point of view more experienced paddlers had hoped for harder conditions to separate the field.
The exit to the harbour at Whitehaven where the adidas Terrex Coast to Coast 2011 kicked off with 50 teams setting off for Robin Hood's Bay. Teams included three members and had to be of mixed sex, additionally male and female solos were also among those to take on the challenge.
Arriving at St Bees conditions were good, however, the profile of the beach at St Bees sees regular surf and some teams experienced difficulties whilst egressing.
John Houlihan takes on the breakers and succesfully lands a very fragile surf-ski on a stony beach.
The steep and loose beach at St Bees made the portage from the water difficult underfoot.
Competitors arrived in to transition 1 which would take them on to the first bike stage over the north western Lakes to Crummock Water.
Crummock Water was the second scheduled paddle which included a considerable portage to Buttermere. John Houlihan and Andy Mitchell are pictured above arriving at the end of Buttermere in to transition 3.
Team planetFear's Anthony Emmet paddles Buttermere on the western edge of the Lake District.
During the portage pF's solo female competitor Sally Ozanne fell and snapped the rudder on her surf ski, these elite boats are incredibly fast through the water but are hard to turn on the edge due to being so long in profile, therefore losing a rudder meant that Sally was in a desperate position when looking to the Thirlmere and Ullswater paddles on day 2. In an attempt to later fix the rudder Sally spent around 10 minutes looking for it, which put her in to second place behind her nearest rival Fiona McBryde, at the end of day 1, however, despite this lost time Sally finished in first place for the day.
Double Olympic gold medalist James Cracknell raced with Bruce Duncan and Nicola MacLeod for team adidias Terrex on this year's Coast to Coast. Team adidas Terrex won last year's expedition style race that took place all over the English Lake District. This year's event was different in that it was devised as a stage race, competitors took on the day's stages and rested overnight at predertimed camps set out prior to the start of the event, the previous day's times were calculated via SPORTident and the slowest set off first on the next day's racing.
Adam Marcinowicz portages his surf ski at the end of Buttermere before heading off on to the first run stage of the event. Transition took competitors from Gatesgarth over the mountain to Robinson, over Dale Head, Cat Bells and down to Nicol End on Derwentwater.
Stewart Lynch swims across Derwentwater on the first day. Stu took first place on each day's racing and finished the four days with a time of 19hrs 06mins 06secs, 1 hour ahead of nearest rival Chris Hope who finished second with a time of 20hrs 07mins 40secs. Having raced all day the compeitors exited the water and most began to cramp immediately. They then faced a one kilometre run in to the centre of Keswick to finish the first day at the Moot Hall.
Day 2 saw competitors take on Helvellyn after paddling the length of Thirlmere. The course went from the north end of Thirlmere reservoir over the summit of Helvellyn, down Swirral edge and in to Patterdale before they then paddled the length of Ullswater.
Wayne Elliot, course planner of Open Adventure's Open 12 event, takes on the descent of Swirral Edge.
Red tarn was just visible as wind was moderately strong on the ridge which in turn brought intermittent cloud over the massif, navigation off the summit was complicated somewhat and a couple of teams managed to completely miss the ridge line down Swirral Edge. Team Accelerate put in an astonishing effort over the Helvellyn massif and were reported to have taken around 1 hr 15mins to make it from Thirlmere over Helvellyn to Patterdale, a simply remarkable achievement.
Steady descents were the best course of action from Swirral Edge, a daunting piece of the course for some meant that it was perhaps beyond their comfort zones, but good planning and knowledge of the route should have ensured that competitors were well prepared before setting off.
Fiona McBryde takes on the run on day 3 out of Kirkby Stephen. Competitors approached the run over the Nine Standards with a certain degree of nervous anticipation, the route is notoriously bad underfoot and tales were abound of 3 feet deep bogs stretching for kilometres. After the Nine Standards Rigg the course wound down in to Whitsun Dale off the Swaledale Valley, exactly half way across the country, the next transition at Keld took the racers off on mountain bikes in blustery conditions.
Team planetFear's solo female competitor Sally Ozanne cycling in to the Wensleydale Valley, on day 3 Sally had claimed back 18 minutes from 30 minutes down behind Fi McBryde after suffering two punctures on day 2, Sally was by this point fighting for first place with Fi and the tension was mounting.
Day 4 and competitors started at 5am onwards from Northallerton for the final push towards Robin Hood's Bay, the day started with a road bike to Swainby and then a run over Carlton Bank to transition at Clay Bank.
Stage 15 followed the line of the dramatic Carlton Bank which forms part of the Cleveland Way, competitors were now a matter of hours from the North Sea and Robin Hood's Bay, with the sea now visible over the coastal plain towards Whitby.
Day 4's racing and pF's Sally Ozanne had sadly dropped time on Fiona McBryde, going in to day 4 only 14 minutes behind, Sally was now certain to take second place whilst Fi maintained a comfortable lead for first position.
Male Solo podium - Stewart Lynch 1st (centre), Chris Hope 2nd (left) Kim Collison 3rd (right)
Female Solo podium - Fiona McBryde 1st (centre), Sally Ozanne 2nd (left) and Dawn Westrun 3rd (right).
Mixed Team podium - Team Accelerate 1st (centre), Team adidas Terrex 2nd (right) and Berghaus Adventure 3rd (left).
More reports and info can be found on the adidas Terrex Coast to Coast website - http://www.adidas-ar.com
Full results available via SPORTident
All Images - Dave MacFarlane
Video available shortly - Check back soon.