St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge – 15 miles
After breakfast, bags ready for the Sherpa carrier service and packed lunches stowed away, we said our goodbyes and headed for the Coast to Coast start point. The weather was a little overcast, cool and windy but the main thing was it was DRY. We arrived at the start point to find a lady walker reading the signs on the monument.
Steve asked her if she would take our picture, then we would take hers.
It turned out that this lady was from New York, walking the C2C with the intention of meeting her cousin at Robin Hood’s Bay, but she was only walking small distances each day as she had a lot of time spare. After the photo shoot she was off whilst we, on the other hand, went down to the sea to collect our pebbles and dip our boots in the Irish Sea.
Pebbles collected and boots wet, we were off heading towards St Bees lighthouse on the cliff top.
We gained height fairly quickly, looking back to the beach and we were soon
on our way
Along the cliff tops
following the coastline past the lighthouse heading towards Whitehaven, now seeing in the distance the coast line of Scotland.
After a couple of hours and miles under our belts it was time to turn inland, passing through a disused quarry on to tarmac road looking to the hills of the Lake District. From here it was our first section of road walking since leaving St Bees.
We were heading to the quiet village of Sandwith where we sat, chatted, had a hot drink, studied the map and greeted other Coast to Coasters. Then it was off again, Steve showing us the way and signs to look out for.
Eventually we had our first sighting of Whitehaven; we also had a closer view of the Lake District hills looming in the distance.
We were now heading towards Moor Row, but first we had to cross a busy road. I suppose it was busier than usual as it was Saturday and also a bank holiday weekend.
At the monument of a walker, erected by the Moor Row residents in recognition of the Coast to Coast path,
Steve pointed out we only had another 184 miles to go!
As we arrived in the village, we were checking the map when a lady jogger stopped and asked us if we were walking the C2C path. She told us of an alternative route avoiding the village; unfortunately this just happened to be a cycle path. At the end of this path we again checked the map as we appeared to be on a housing estate. Steve nipped off to ask someone loading their car, leaving Lynn & I waiting on the corner, when another car pulled up. The lady driver asked if we were walking the C2C and advised us of the route. Our faith in human nature changed; we thought how good people were to stop and help us when they could have just left us. We continued along the road for about a mile and were checking the map, as we could now see a public footpath sign, when suddenly a motorist stopped and asked if we were on the C2C. He confirmed the path we were looking at was the correct one, turning right at the stile. (How nice and helpful of the motorist to stop, we thought.) We followed the path leading to Cleator Cricket Club; it now had begun to rain (well, shower). As we entered Cleator village, walking past St Leonards Church Steve suggested we have lunch in the church porch. Whilst being watched over and eating our food under cover, three previous walkers passed, gave a friendly wave and carried on.
Lunch over it was back on the trail, Steve pointing and showing us the way.
Our first ascent of the day, Dent Hill at 353m, was getting near. The path led us through farmland into forestry plantation, then a long steady climb.
As we cleared the plantation the wind got stronger, blowing into our faces, which added to a tiring climb. At the top someone had pitched a tent!
Despite the weather the visibility was fantastic, but we didn’t stay too long as we began to feel cold. We went along the path over Raven Crag, a steep descent to Nannycatch Gate, then followed the stream through Nannycatch Valley
towards Ennerdale. As we neared the road our path was blocked by horses (big horses) just roaming freely. Lynn took charge and showed them who was boss. He just walked up to them waving his arms and walking poles and they politely walked out of the way. What lovely animals they were! It was now back to road walking and on to Ennerdale Bridge for our second night’s accommodation.
On arrival, whilst we were hanging up our wet gear, our hosts informed us they had booked us a table in the pub at the end of their drive, and then we were asked if we wanted breakfast at 7:00 or 7:30. We opted for 7:30 as it would be Sunday and we thought we could do with a lie in. It was time for a shower, change of clothes and report to our respective H.Qs that we had arrived safely. After a beer or two and a pleasant meal had by all, it was time for zzzzzzzzs.