Coast-to-Coast, 2010

Coast-to-Coast, 195 miles, 11 walking days, May 2010

St. Bees – Ennerdale Bridge – Rosthwaite – Patterdale – Shap – Kirkby Stephen – Keld – Richmond – Ingleby Arncliffe – Blakey Ridge – Grosmont – Robin Hood’s Bay

This is the walk, the one all long-distance walkers aspire to, the trail made famous by the great Alfred Wainwright in the ‘70s: the Coast-to-Coast. The 195-mile trail crosses the breadth of north England from St. Bees on the Irish Sea coast in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea coast in Yorkshire, passing through the hard-walking Lake District, across the Vale of Eden and over the Pennines into easy-walking Swaledale and the Vale of Mowbray through to the Cleveland Hills and, finally, the bleak but fairly flat North Yorkshire Moors. It’s a demanding walk with many strenuous ups-and-downs but rewarding with beautiful places in the Lake District that can only be reached by foot. Along the way, we made many trail buddies, spotted a red squirrel at Burnbanks, visited Harry Jenkins’ memorial at Bolton-on-Swale (he is said to have lived for 169 years), survived getting lost in thick fog on Lining Crag in the Lake District, overcame several blisters (Carol) and an angry bunion (me), met Fat Betty (a medieval 12th century wayside cross/marker stone) on Danby High Moor, and sampled some fine fish and chips washed down with excellent local beers. We even found time for a ride in a steam train at Grosmont.

Retrospectively, I would have reduced the mileage on some of the days (we had four 20plus-miler days), reversed the direction of the walk from Robin Hood’s Bay to St. Bees, and spent more time exploring the Lake District but the Coast-to-Coast was an exhilarating walk and a true feather in our walking cap.

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