Junglie Aircrew on the Coast 2 Coast
Three veteran Aircrewmen from the CHF, based at RNAS Yeovilton took time out to complete an epic Cycle adventure across Northern England from the Port of Workington in the west on the Irish Sea to Tynemouth 136 gruelling miles eastwards on the North Sea.
In normal circumstances crossing the backbone of England, the Pennines, would have been a big enough challenge, but as the dying remnants of `Hurricane Nadine’ lashed the country, a late September start was beginning to look like a bad choice. However without lifejackets to hand, full waterproofs and warm cycling gear became the order of the day. The weather went on to conjure up howling winds, driving rain and makeshift lagoons alongside the paths and disused railway lines that make up the Sea to Sea route. Despite this the team took three days. The `Coast to Coast’ (C2C) is best ridden from west to east to take advantage of the prevailing winds and the more favourable gradients. However the record time for completing the `C2C’ is 10 hours and 11 minutes on an east to west route.
“It was a daunting adventure which we’d trained for, but the winds and heavy rain made the whole route even more of a challenge. We could have canoed some of the roads and tracks,” said WO John Sheldon.
Setting off on the two wheel trek were WO1 Aircrewman John Sheldon, C/Sgt Pete Wooldridge and CPO John Fagan; accumulating more than 117 years service and clocking over 14,900 flying hours between them. The team was ably supported by CPO Aircrewman Ian Hewitson; on hand with warming cups of tea and a plentiful delivery of bacon sandwiches to keep up the calories.
“It was great to be out on the road cycling across the Pennines.” CSgt Pete Wooldridge added. “We certainly had the full force of the bad weather, next year we shall look at doing it again with some sun on our faces.”