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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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TV star Timmy Mallett's Solway cycle

It is apt that Timmy Mallett can use one of his best-known phrases to sum up his feelings on Cumbria: “Utterly brilliant”.

Timmy Mallett photo
Timmy Mallett dips his bike in the sea at Whitehaven before setting off

The wacky former children’s television star, chart-topper and artist, has declared the Solway as one of the world’s finest coastlines after cycling along it.

He and friend Steve Smith – husband of television presenter Lorraine Kelly – this week completed the coast to coast cycle route along Hadrian’s Wall.

They set off on their 160-mile challenge from Whitehaven, heading for Silloth then Port Carlisle. They then dropped in at Carlisle’s Tullie House museum, shared lunch with a plane-spotter at Carlisle Airport, battled with Romans at Birdoswald and enjoyed an evening in Gilsland Spa.

Followers of the star, famed for carrying his pink mallet in the 1980s, kept up with his progress on Twitter, until he and Steve reached Tynemouth on Thursday.

Timmy said: “The Solway coast is beautiful – fantastic.

“When you say Cumbria people automatically think of the Lake District and not the rest of it. I’ve been all over the world and seen great coastlines, but the Solway coast has to be one of the finest coastlines anywhere in the world. It’s just brilliant – and brilliant for cycling.”

The former I’m a Celebrity. . . contestant’s parents – Rev Michael and Nancy – retired to Penrith and before setting off on the coast to coast he and Steve stayed with Timmy’s long-term friends Peter and Irene Messenger in the town before heading west to Whitehaven.

And after setting off, they were delighted by the reception they got as they bumped into fans and fellow cyclists along the route.

“The first night we stayed at the Hope and Anchor pub in Port Carlisle. It was great. We enjoyed some super food, great company and nice beer,” Timmy added.

He and Steve, from Dundee, decided to cycle coast to coast as a personal challenge.

Timmy, who has an exhibition of his artwork in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, is now a champion for cycling in Cumbria – praising work to upgrade the Sustrans cycle route between Maryport and Allonby – and hopes to take to the county’s roads again.

“I’ll be back like a shot. Any opportunity I get and I’ll be back,” he said.

“I’ve done cycling in Cumbria before, along the Haltwhistle to Alston trail.

“I’d like to do the coast to coast across the Pennines – but it’s all uphill. Hills are great – for going down.”

See Timmy’s pictures of his journey through Cumbrian on Twitter @TimmyMallett.

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