Coast to Coast – Day 2

Kirkby Stephen to Keld – 14.5 miles

At breakfast we spoke to two walkers who were doing the C2C from east to west. They told us just how muddy the Pennies had been for them and advised us to wear gaiters; this information did nothing to ease my apprehension. As we were leaving, Steve spoke to another couple from Germany who were on a cycling holiday and planned to travel to Kendal that day. After wishing them a safe journey we were soon ready for our walk. Saying goodbye to our hosts, and packed lunches put away, it was time for one last selfie.

Then we were off to find Frank’s Bridge and the start point.

From the bridge we headed across the field and on to the quiet Hartley village. After passing a quarry it’s the first strenuous climb of the day and as we climbed,

in the distance we could see Nine Standing Rigg. At just less than 700m this is the highest point of the final stage towards Robin Hood’s Bay. The terrain became soft under foot, the temperature cooler and the winds picked up; the bonus was that we had fantastic views.

Approaching Nine Standards there is a resting point and its here we had a coffee before reaching the columns

at the summit. As we approached the columns they looked more like very large cairns,

purposely made, but for what reason still remains a mystery. As we got near we could see just how impressive they were,

but there was a slightly eerie feeling as there was nothing else around. There are many theories about them; one is they were erected to ward off any Scottish invaders who would have seen them and thought that there was an army camp there. At the summit we decided to take a break,

put on warmer clothing and prepare to deal with any peat bogs. Whilst gearing up another walker appeared. He also decided to put on waterproofs and in chatting to him we found out he was from the Netherlands and walking alone. We were soon ready and off to tackle what lay ahead. There are three routes to choose from depending on the season and conditions – Green, Red & Blue. We chose the blue route, this path crossed over the moor to reach Whitsundale Beck and we knew that once we arrived at the beck it would be just a case of following it to Ravenseat Farm.

Traversing the moor would take us in to the Yorkshire Dales National Park and out of Cumbria. The moor was easy and thankfully, due to clear visibility,

we could see the way posts.

The ground was soft in places and easily navigable, not as we had been told by walkers over breakfast. We arrived at Whitsundale Beck and decided to have lunch; this was when we had our first signs of rain but luckily it was only a short shower. Following the beck was pretty tiring as it zig zagged, with the ground being loose boulders, rocks, banks to climb and soft underfoot. As we neared Ravenseat Farm (which has been in TV programmes with Julia Bradbury doing the C2C and “Countryfile”) we passed an elderly couple we thought were just out for a stroll. We continued on to the farm where we had cream tea & scones in the barn. The elderly couple appeared, they too had stopped for tea. During Steve’s chat with them he found out the gentleman aged 80, was from South Africa, whilst his 70 years old wife was from Sussex. They were also doing the C2C and heading for Keld, our next accommodation.

We had finished our tea & scones when a number of non-walkers arrived. At this point we were ready to set off in the drizzle to finish the day’s walk so we said our goodbyes and were off following the beck again, heading south until we reached the B6270 road. It is here that the guide book suggests following the quiet road in to Keld, approximately half a mile away. The rain eased as we walked along the road, passing Wainwath Force, a pretty waterfall.

We walked on until we arrived at our next accommodation, Keld Lodge,

and were shown to our rooms where the obligatory freshening up took place. As there was no signal for any mobile phone, I had to use the rural phone box down the road to call home.

When I arrived at the phone box I found the directory; it was mouldy. There were cobwebs in every corner and spiders wandering around. PLUS, to my embarrassment, I had to read how to use the phone. After calling home, I returned to the Lodge, met up with Steve & Lynn to have a pre-dinner drink and then finished our evening with a lovely meal before retiring to our rooms.

Keld is an old Scandinavian name meaning “The Spring” and is the head of Swaledale; it’s actually the crossroad of the Pennine Way & Coast 2 Coast. It’s a quiet little village but in the 19th century it stood at the heart of the lead-mining industry. The River Swale, which rushes through the village, is dyed brown from the peat.

It’s where the C2C divides to a higher or lower route. The former takes you over moors and passes derelict lead mining areas scarring the landscape; we felt we wanted to see more of the villages of Swaledale, so we opted for the low level route.

Coast to Coast – Day 1

Kirkby Stephen to Robin Hood’s Bay

We arrived at Kirby Stephen in the afternoon; our taxi was waiting to take us to the town, about a mile from the railway station. We arrived too early to be let in to our accommodation so we crossed the road to a tea room where we had a refreshing pot of tea and a slice of homemade cake.

We checked into our B & B just after 4pm. After being shown around the property and discussing where to eat for the evening, it was time for a stroll around the town looking more in depth at the history of Kirkby Stephen as we had more time than on our last visit. Whilst out and about we booked a table at the local pub for our evening meal, as suggested by our hosts, then it was off to find the start point ready for tomorrow and to check out the historical sites. Kirkby Stephen is a little market town on the west side of the Pennines and it was granted a market charter in 1361. The cobbled square is where bull baiting took place until 1820 when, one day, a bull broke loose killing some bystanders. Another interesting tourist site is the 13th century red stone church but unfortunately it was closed when we visited. At the other end of the town, near our accommodation, we saw a road sign showing destinations in miles and furlongs. We ventured on to find Frank’s Bridge by the river; it’s thought to be named after a local brewer of the 19th century. After crossing the river we found the first sign for the Coast 2 Coast, so here was our starting point for tomorrow. We walked on along the path until we came to a seat which was overlooking part of Kirkby Stephen. We sat for a while, chatted, and spoke to some of the locals walking their dogs before making our way back to our B&B.

After the usual phone call home, announcing that we had arrived safely, we set out for our evening meal. The evening was very pleasant and the meal was delicious, washed down with a pint or two of “Black Sheep” beer. What could be better? Then off for our final stroll around Kirkby Stephen before a good night’s sleep ready for tomorrow.

Coast to Coast (East)

Kirkby Stephen to Robin Hood’s Bay

Since finishing the first part of the C2C in May very few training days took place for me as there was so much going on: writing my journal, booking the next stage of the C2C, my birthday, Steve’s birthday, holidays – all on top of normal domestic / gardening duties etc. There was just enough time to check equipment and purchase any new items before we set off on the final part of our Coast 2 Coast adventure. With very little training my only apprehension was crossing the Pennines, otherwise known as the watershed or the backbone of the British Isles. I had heard, read and seen the video about the Pennines peat bogs / troughs, mud and how hard it can be crossing over from Cumbria in to the Yorkshire Dales. It was soon to be put to the test as now we were off again.

Route

Day 1 Home to Kirkby Stephen
Day 2 Kirkby Stephen to Keld 14.5 miles
Day 3 Keld to Reeth 12.5 miles
Day 4 Reeth to Richmond 14 miles
Day 5 Richmond to Danby Wiske 12.5 miles
Day 6 Danby Wiske to Ingelby Cross 10.5 miles
Day 7 Ingelby Cross to Great Broughton 12 miles
Day 8 Great Broughton to Blakley 8.5 miles
Day 9 Blakley to Egton Bridge 12 miles
Day 10 Egton Bridge to Robin Hood’s Bay 17.5 miles
Day 11 Robin Hood’s Bay to Home

Coast to Coast – Day 8

Kirkby Stephen to Home

A taxi was booked for us as the railway station is about a mile away from the B&B and we had a little time to look around Kirkby Stephen before it arrived. We were homeward bound , starting with a ride on the Settle to Carlisle railway;

the scenery was brilliant and the journey was relaxing after the walking we’d done.

At Carlisle station Steve went off to purchase sandwiches for lunch and before long our next train arrived to take us south to the Midlands in our reserved seats. Unfortunately, we just happened to be on an earlier train so our reserved places were not valid, as we found out, and had to move to another carriage where, luckily, we found vacant seats. At Wolverhampton we were met by our wives and finished the journey home to Stourbridge. For Lynn it was an overnight stay at Steve’s before returning to South Wales the next day.

Coast to Coast – Day 7

Shap to Kirkby Stephen – 20.5 miles

At breakfast this morning was a team of Derbyshire firemen who were cycling the Coast 2 Coast for a children’s charity and today was to be their last day before returning to duty. We chatted a while, then they were off.

As we looked into the garden area we saw the couple we had met in Patterdale, the ones who suggested we walked alongside the lake as an alternative to the high level route.

After a quick freshen up it was 08:40 and we set off to find the path, which was at the opposite end of Shap. Passing through a small housing estate we found the bridge over the Settle to Carlisle railway and into pastures heading to another bridge to take us over the M6.

After crossing the motorway it was on to Hardendale Quarry; we could still hear the traffic in the distance.

Traversing fields we headed towards the hidden walled village of Oddendale. The weather now, compared to when we set off, looked like it was improving as the sun began to shine and the views kept improving; we could see for miles. As we headed south walking across the Westmorland Plateau, we came to one of many limestone pavements

until we arrived at Lyvennet Beck where we stopped a while for refreshments, as other fellow walkers passed by.

It was now onwards toward Robin Hood’s Grave. There were more limestone pavements until we reached a road leading to Crosby Ravensworth. Here we had a slight detour due to a misreading of the map but it only added an extra half hour to our walk and, hey, we’re still friends – at the moment! (It’s not a blameworthy culture, Mr Thomas, but I’m glad it wasn’t me navigating.) After correcting the error

we could see walkers in the distance and we followed them till we saw the sign to Orton.

Here we decided to avoid the village to make up some time and headed to Orton Scar; the views were awesome.

After an hour or so we decided to stop for lunch, the first time today when we sat down and removed our boots. The feeling of the feet cooling down was fantastic! Half an hour later we were off again towards Sunbiggin Tarn, crossing Ravenstone Dale Moor. It was here we had to stop in our tracks as a farmer was moving his flock of sheep to other pastures; there must have been a hundred sheep with a few lambs, guided by sheepdogs and helpers. We stood still as they passed, watching the dogs keep control.

We were now heading to Smardale Fell looking for the bridge and the final section of the day. As we were going across Ravenstone Dale Moor we met four women walkers who had become separated into two small groups. The rear party appeared tired but after a brief chat and a worthy rest they became one group again. It was hot in the afternoon sun, time for a little refreshment stop.

Now walking downhill we passed an old railway cottage

and then could see we had arrived at Smardale Bridge.

Here we stood taking in the scenery and making good use of our cameras. We crossed the bridge heading uphill (not what we wanted nearing the end of the day) when Lynn spotted Smardale Viaduct in the distance.

We walked on till we arrived at one of the many summits where the views were fabulous

and we could see Kirkby Stephen in the distance. We arrived at the end of the moor, climbed a stile and were met by a pony looking over a wall

at us.

After the obligatory ‘a-a-h-h-h-s’ and a stroke of its head, we looked around for the sign we had wanted to see all day. Then we saw it – Kirkby Stephen.

Crossing the field and under the railway bridge we had arrived. As we were heading down the narrow road towards a bungalow an elderly lady in her garden asked if we were walking the Coast 2 Coast. She was quite friendly and chatty, telling us which way we had to go to find our accommodation and suggesting places to eat. We said our goodbyes, thanked her for her assistance and walked into town to find our B&B.

We got there at 7:20pm after the longest day of the walk. Our host was very pleasant and welcoming, and whilst we settled in our rooms he brought us refreshing Old English lemonade; it was like nectar. We were soon refreshed after showers and phoned home as we knew our wives were concerned about today’s very long walk. We met up and discussed where to eat before painting the town red. After crossing the road to The Kings Arms Hotel for a celebratory drink or three, we headed to the Indian restaurant, as recommended by our host, before testing the pillows on our beds.

Coast to Coast – Day 6

Patterdale to Shap – 16 miles

We were talking to Adam about the alternative of walking alongside Ullswater Lake as the weather forecast was not good. Today was to be the highest point of the walk so we decided that for safety we would plum to walk alongside the lake. Adam came up with a better suggestion which was to take the Ullswater Steamer to Pooley Bridge. So after breakfast, bags at the ready, packed lunches tucked away, Adam said he would take us to the jetty.

Now feeling a little guilty that we wouldn’t be completing AW’s (Alfred Wainwright) original route, we purchased our tickets alongside other walkers we had met over the past few days – they had also decided upon the safer option. We boarded the boat and were soon off sailing the length of Ullswater.

Time for a group selfie.

We arrived at Pooley Bridge (still raining) at 10:15 am, then set off along with everyone else to find our alternative route to the village of Askham. This was quite a lot of road walking which can be hard on the ankles, but we persevered

until we arrived in Askham

The village was quiet,

no one around, but there were signs to Askham Hall and river. We needed to find the River Lowther as our plan was to follow it to Bampton Grange, Rosgill then on to Shap Abbey.

At the river

the path led us through a forest of the Askham Hall estate and as we cleared the forest the rain stopped, the clouds lifted and the sun shone through, Yipppeeeee!! From here on the walking was flatter than we had experienced the past few days because it was farming land. As the sun began to warm us up we decided to have lunch, facing Crookwath Bridge and Helton Village in the distance.

Whilst here we saw the couple from Shropshire crossing the bridge and waved to them, but thought they wanted to avoid us as they didn’t acknowledge our gesture.

As we lunched the local wild life became curious and approached, maybe looking for nibbles. Being tight,when it came to food we left nothing. (Sorry, sheep.) It was now on to Bampton Grange and Rosgill still following the river,

with the rolling hills in the distance.

After we had left Rosgill we stopped to check the guide book and map when a gentleman came out of his house to ask if we were walking the Coast 2 Coast. He followed on by talking of his exploits of the C2C then gave us a leaflet of a walk on the Pennines for us to consider when we had finished. After he told us where the path was he left us, bidding us happy walking.

Now back by the river, heading towards Shap, we could see other walkers ahead and suddenly we espied Shap Abbey in the distance.

The abbey, which was founded in 1199 and dissolved by Henry Vlll in 1540, was a pleasant sight as we knew we were near our next B&B in Shap. We decided not to go looking at it because we were feeling tired but there’s a sting in the tail here. As you turn to walk away from the abbey there is a hill, a steep one at that, and at the top there’s a cattle grid to walk over. Just everything you want when you are feeling very tired!! We arrived

at our B&B, were shown to our rooms and found out where to eat, before having a well deserved shower plus rest prior to phoning home. Our host had suggested a little pub just down the road; after a 10 minute walk we found it and had a well deserved pint or two. The food was plentiful and with a good atmosphere the beer wasn’t bad either. Once we were fulfilled with fodder and liquid refreshments it was time to head off for another early night.

Coast to Coast – Day 5

Grasmere to Patterdale – 7.5 miles

(Not many photos today as the weather was so bad).

Now fully refreshed and after having breakfast whilst looking out at the rain through the window, Steve offered to go to the Co-op to get sandwiches for lunch. On his return we were soon ready to go – it was still raining.

Bidding farewell to our hosts and checking rucksack covers we were off.

As we crossed the A591 to Keswick Road we saw the couple from Shropshire again. Having said our good mornings and a brief discussion about the previous day’s walk, it was on to find the bridlepath leading to a hill called Great Tongue.

There was no let up in the rain and the higher we climbed, the lower the mist. At the base of Great Tongue the path divided; left for Little Tongue Gill -steeper route- or a steadier climb via Tongue Gill. We chose the latter.

As we climbed the mist became thicker. We were getting very wet and it was getting colder as the winds had increased. Ahead we were able to see the Shropshire couple so we could follow them at times. Halfway up a steep section we came across a National Trust volunteer – a young woman working on the path, building steps using an iron bar and a spade. She was soaked and covered in mud and with her was her dog which just wanted to play. We enquired how far it was to Grisedale Tarn and she said it was about half an hour, with a smile on her face. She added we would be close when we saw her partner who was higher up the path near the tarn. After exchanging pleasantries we continued and eventually saw her partner who was also soaked but he seemed happy in his work ???? As we reached a level in the climb we couldn’t see more than 20 yards in front of us and assumed we were at Grisedale Tarn.

We picked up the path to our right, now descending. As we did we saw water lapping up the shoreline, this had to be Grisedale Tarn (600m). We could only see possibly 2-3 metres of it, the rain was persistent, the wind got stronger. We arrived at what looked like the outlet from the tarn and checking the map we found we had to cross the outlet. Luckily there were four large stones that appeared to be placed strategically for us to step across the stream which, in the present conditions, was wide.

We got across, no problem, and continued heading down the path. At times, when stepping on rocks, the wind would blow and send us off balance, so extra care was needed. The lower we got the less mist there was

but it was still raining. We arrived at the Patterdale Mountain Rescue hut thinking, “Here’s a shelter,” but it was locked.

As we looked around the area we saw the Shropshire couple standing in a doorway at the side of the building. A quick photo, followed by a few words of encouragement to each other, before setting off down to Patterdale.

The path again was uneven, tiring and long,

but we were still able to smile (with relief to be nearly off the mountain).

As we arrived in Patterdale we headed for our B&B located at the other end of the village. Our host Adam took us into our accommodation block, which was separate from the main house, and provided a basket in which to dump our wet clothes and boots. He arranged to bring us a hot drink after we had had a shower to warm up and then he took our clothes & boots away to dry them. As we were having our somewhat late lunch, Adam reappeared to inform us of breakfast and packed lunch arrangements and for a general chat.

He suggested the White Lion for an evening meal and when we were ready he would take us there, which he did. What a host!!

In the pub, whilst having a beer or two, another couple from Black Sail Hostel appeared, said “Hello” and remarked just how tough it had been. We discussed the next day’s walk which was to be over the top – Kidsty Pike, 800m high. As the weather was predicted to be worse than today they made the suggestion to walk alongside Ullswater Lake to Pooley Bridge and, with safety in mind, we agreed to consider it.

After a lovely meal it was a taxi ride back to our B&B for an early night.

Coast to Coast – Day 4

Rosthwaite to Grasmere – 9.5 miles

So after a restless night, a reasonable breakfast and bags set aside for the sherpa, it was outside to wait for the taxi to return us to our start point in Rosthwaite. Once there, as we prepared to walk, the weather was still overcast with pending showers.

We were soon off heading to Greenup Edge (600m). The path followed a stone wall

to the junction of Langstrath Beck and route of the Cumbria Way. Here we continued straight on to Lining Crag & Greenup Edge. We gained height and it was time for a photo shoot

as the weather now had cleared, giving good views over the fells. Nearing the summit we met an elderly gentleman with two dogs having a rest, he was carrying the biggest rucksack ever. Chatting to him we found he was doing the Coast 2 Coast also, but with no time limit. He had set out twenty-eight days ago from St Bees and was spending a few days at various camp sites, moving on when he felt like it. We wished him well and continued.

We arrived at the summit of Greenup Edge after crossing a boggy area. The sun was shining and we could see Grasmere below, so decided to stop to have lunch whilst taking in the views of the Helvellyn Range and fells in the distance.

After lunch we set off heading towards Grasmere Common following Easedale Gill on the way down, again with good views.

We met our man with the dogs taking another rest.

The path down was long, rocky, uneven and tiring but it took us straight into Grasmere village. Before heading to find our accommodation we decided to have a refreshing pot of tea & a cake in the evening sunshine.

Arriving at our B&B we were informed of breakfast times before being shown to our rooms. Steve asked about where to eat and our host phoned to book us in for a meal at a pub/restaurant. Then it was clean up time, a change of clothes and contact made with our respective head offices prior to hitting the high spots of Grasmere.

Lynn hadn’t been here before so Steve & I took him on a guided tour of hotels, shops, Wordsworth’s Grave, the Gingerbread Shop and the flat where Steve stayed last year on holiday. We headed to where we were going to eat and after a beer, a meal and a chat it was back to the B&B for, hopefully, a good night’s sleep.

Coast to Coast – Day 3

Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite – 16 miles

As expected from last night’s weather forecast, I woke to the patter of rain on my bedroom window. Looking outside it didn’t appear too bad, but the forecast was that it would rain for most of the day.

After our early breakfast and a chat of the day ahead, nerves and apprehension put aside, we discussed what the owner of the Manor House had suggested for Ennerdale Lake which was to take the north shore in bad weather as an alternative. The route should follow the south shore on a fine day but, as advised, the path sometimes get washed away in rain, plus there had been a small rock fall near Robin Hoods Chair, so the decision was the north shore as a matter of safety.

Cases aside for the carrier, packed lunches away, it was time to don our waterproofs and step outside.

Bidding our host a fond farewell, we were off heading towards the village of Ennerdale and the lake about a mile away. On the way we passed two girls who were camping and having a soggy breakfast; they looked a sorrowful sight. As we looked back we could see two other walkers following and assumed they were on the C2C. We arrived at the lake, mist hiding our view; the torrential rain continued as we turned left for the north shore line. This turned out to be a good decision as the path was good and reasonably flat with just a few puddles. Half way round there was a scramble over some small rocks for about ten minutes, then back on a decent path, big enough for a car to travel along. At times, as the mist cleared, we could see across the lake the two walkers who had been following us; they had taken the south shore route. Our path was heading towards Black Sail Youth Hostel some six miles further on. Along the lonely path we passed an outdoor activity centre and one family. The mist had now lifted a little to give us some views.

After a brief stop for a hot chocolate break

it was on to Black Sail Hostel. The thing about this hostel is that it’s very remote and also, after having seen the DVD of the C2C and watching it on You Tube, this is where I knew we had to climb Loft Beck at 534m.

It looked steep and to add to this it was raining, plus the mist was rolling in again. When we arrived I suggested

we go in to see if we could have our lunch and dry out a little – as we entered there were others doing the same thing. As we were having lunch (damp), in came the other walkers we had seen on the south side of the lake. They told us that they thought we had taken the wrong way but now realised they should have followed us, their path was horrible muddy and difficult. Thank you Manor House manager. Now nourished, and another hot chocolate inside us, it was back outside to find Loft Beck. We headed in the general direction of the beck which wasn’t difficult to find. You could see a torrent of water cascading from the misty hillside above, our path was on the opposite side. After crossing the beck carefully, gathering together to check everyone was OK, a quick look at the map, it was onwards and upwards.

With the wind and rain blowing in our faces, and the rain finding gaps in our waterproofs, it was a tough ascent; a slow steady pace was all we could muster.

The good thing was the path wasn’t just a dirt track, it turned out to be a series of steps, provided by a conservation group I guess. (Thank you people.) The ascent was over in no time. Altough steep and strenuous in the conditions, it helped by having 2-3 minutes stops to come together as we were now in mist. As we neared the top

the winds seemed to be clearing the mist

and as the rain eased we could see cairns to guide us over the mountain top. As we followed the line of cairns the mist cleared enough for us to see Buttermere Lake and valley in the distance.

This clearance lasted about a minute each time and as it cleared we were able to take photos before the mist rolled in again. We continued

towards the old tramway leading to Honister Quarry. In the distance we could see a couple from Black Sail Hostel, they were also looking for the tramway. We met up and had a chat, only to discover they were from Oswestry in Shropshire, a place not far from home in the West Midalnds.

We found the tramway, turned right and headed down towards the quarry with the Shropshire couple now ahead of us. The path was tiring which didn’t help the legs, ankles and feet as they had been taking a pounding all day. We reached the quarry and saw it had a coffee shop so we stopped for refreshments – a well deserved pot of tea & cake. Refreshed, we set off again to Seatoller & Rosthwaite where we were due to met our taxi to take us to Keswick because there were not any vacancies in Rosthwaite at the time of booking. As we arrived in Seatoller we had to follow the river, scrambling over wet rocks and tree roots. At one section there was a wire rope attached to rocks to assist you along a narrow ledge above the river. Lynn and Steve went high as they didn’t see it, but I took the wire route which was fun. Having cleared the scramble area, and passing a youth hostel, we followed a track on to the road leading to Seatoller & Rosthwaite. As we were walking to Rosthwaite our transport appeared. Throwing our wet gear in to the taxi we were driven to our next overnight stay in Keswick.

At our accommodation we phoned home to report our safe arrival. Time for a shower before a well deserved drink and meal. The accommodation and meals were good, along with the beer. The downside for me was that my room overlooked the entrance to a nightclub, which I found out to my dissatisfaction just after midnight. Hence my beauty sleep was affected big time, the noise didn’t stop until 3.30am. I did manage to get a couple of hours sleep, but that was it.

Coast to Coast – Day 2

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.