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.

Coast to Coast

Introduction

Last year Steve & I didn’t do any long distance walks due to family events, but we did take a few days away in September to Ilkley, Yorkshire. This time we had an extra member of our little select group – Steve’s long standing friend, school pal and fellow Welsh rugby fan, Lynn, from Llanelli in South Wales.

We walked two days on the Dales way; one day Burnsall to llkey, the next Kettlewell to Ilkley . For the final day we walked over and around Ilkley Moor, starting in heavy mist but finishing in brilliant sunshine. Unfortunately for Lynn, we had just left the Swastika Stones on our way back to Ilkey when he stumbled on some steps and fell on his camera. The good thing was that the camera survived but unhappily he was in pain. After an uncomfortable night and the long journey home to South Wales A&E it turned out that he’d broken a couple of ribs. However Lynn enjoyed his time in Ilkey so much that he said he wished to be included in other walks.

During our first evening in Yorkshire, whilst partaking of an aperitif or two, Steve was talking to a small group of walkers who were walking the Dales High Way, one person said they had completed the Coast to Coast last year in two stages, which created a thought in my mind. Over our next three days the idea was played with, and logistics were considered, but nothing concrete was finalised. We discussed it again over another aperitif or two and it was agreed that I would look into the possibility of the C2C for 2015.

After having considered all the dates, along with inviting other interested parties from home, we finally ended up with just myself, (El Capitano as Steve calls me), Lynn (new recruit and head of kitty / purse) and Steve (foot soldier, map case carrier, head of light entertainment).

So the plan was hatched. After making all the necessary arrangements through our trusted travel operator for the fourth time, “Mac Adventure”, we would set off on 1st May 2015 from St Bees walking across the Lake District, to finish at Kirkby Stephen in the Eden Valley at the base of the Pennines.

Preparation / Training

Having made the necessary arrangements between travel operators and Steve sorting the best ever deals he could with trains, emails were flowing back and forth to each other. It was now left to us to get in as much training as we could. This was important as during the first section of the C2C you have to contend with heights as well as distance. The guide books refer to the walk as moderate to strenuous; more on the strenuous side in my opinion.

The walk consists of almost a mountain a day. Knowing this and the daily distances to be covered, in my case not enough training took place.

I had completed several 15 mile walks, but generally along canal tow paths, along with some days cycling about 18 – 24 miles. Steve, a regular walker of eight to ten miles at weekends and going to the gym, is reasonably fit so only topping up training was necessary for him. When Steve & I walked along the River Severn to Hampton Loade and back covering some 20 plus miles, I knew I had the stamina but we hadn’t practised any hill-walking this time, which was my downfall.

Time had run out in our training plans but, with all kit checked / new equipment purchased, it was now left for us to bite the bullet and go for it, hoping that what training had been done was enough to tackle the first stage of the C2C

The Route

Part 1 St Bees to Kirkby Stephen – May 2015
Day 1 Travel to St Bees
Day 2 St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge 15 miles
Day 3 Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite 16 miles
Day 4 Rosthwaite to Grasmere 9.5 miles
Day 5 Grasmere to Patterdale 7.5 miles
Day 6 Patterdale to Shap 16 miles
Day 7 Shap to Kirkby Stephen 20.5 miles
Day 8 Homeward Bound

Part 2 Kirkby Stephen to Robin Hood’s Bay – August 2015
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
Overview of the Coast 2 Coast