Coast to Coast – Day 1

Home to St Bees

Steve had arranged our train from Wolverhampton to St Bees via Lancaster; the timing was early, (09:30) but excellent as we only had a short wait before boarding the London to Glasgow train. He had also reserved seats, good man. With the minimum of stops we arrived at Lancaster station only to see our next train arriving. We boarded, stowed our luggage and settled down for the next hour & half taking in the scenery of the coast line to St Bees.

We arrived a little early to book in to our accommodation so decided to find somewhere for lunch. We found The Queens Hotel, just up the way from the station. As we entered the pub / hotel with suitcases & rucksacks we could sense people looking at us, guessing that these three veterans / pensioners were intent on walking the Coast 2 Coast. Bags deposited in a corner, table secured and Steve having checked we were still OK for food, we perused the menu for a culinary Cumbrian delight. One fish & chips, one prawn salad with baked potato and one ham & cheese toastie, all washed down with a pot of tea worked out just right.

After lunch, having inspected the map and asking two locals the way, we ending up listening to the politics and issues surrounding their local school closure before heading back towards the train station to find our B&B.

We arrived to a warm reception, shown to our rooms, informed of house details, times and advised of where to eat in the evening plus how far away it was. Our host then showed us a map of a circular walk around St Bees and suggested we try it. The weather was clear, sunny and welcoming so we decided to do it. It was approximately an hour in total, walking down to the C2C start point,

then along the beach where it was so clear we could see the Isle of Man in the distance.

We exited the beach past the golf course, over the railway lines and back into the town where we saw the suggested eatery, The Manor House. Inside it was packed and people were drinking outside; a quick check on the time showed it was 4:30, which amazed me. It made me think, “Why aren’t these people at work?” Steve suggested we book a table, go back to our B&B, rest and phone home before returning for our evening meal.

At the B&B our host informed us the people we had seen were probably Sellafield workers who have to leave by 7:30 as this was the time of their last train home. Sure enough, when we arrived at the Manor it was a lot quieter than earlier on. Sitting down with our aperitifs, we ordered our meals and whilst eating the manager came over to check everything was OK. He asked if we were doing the Coast 2 Coast, to which we replied, “Yes.” He then drew up a chair and told us how many times he’d walked it. He told us of the health issues with his knees and then suggested the best way around Ennerdale Lake and other interesting things to look out for. After his chat he wished us well and was off talking to other customers.

After a hearty meal it was back to the B&B to settle down for the night, putting any apprehension and nerves to sleep, ready for tomorrow’s start.

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