Tuesday, 7 August 2012

A Coast to Coast Walk–stage by stage

The coast to coast winds its way across England.  As the crow flies, it’s 125 miles.  As the path goes, it’s 192 miles.  Through Cumbria and then across Yorkshire (referred to locally as Eden and God’s Country). Vastly different counties with so much varied terrain.  What Cumbria and the lakes has in stunning scenery (world class scenery in my mind), Yorkshire makes up for in its people, villages and variety of terrain.  The Lake District was fantastic, but Yorkshire will always be my favourite.  I’m getting my thoughts on it as a whole together but this post serves the selfish purpose of recapping my thoughts on a stage by stage basis.


Day 1 – St Bees to Ennerdale
14miles / 23kilometres
Fresh and maybe naive, we set off full of nervous energy.  Some rain along the way, heavy enough for full waterproofs but nothing to diminish the smiles.  Randomly, we saw emu chicks as we left St Bees head behind. A steep climb up over Dent Hill and an even steeper descent.  A wonderful day’s walking at the time but unremarkable compared to what was to come.

Day 2 –Ennerdale to Rosthwaite
15miles / 24kilometres
Into the heart of the Lakes District, along Ennerdale Water and then up over Honnister.  Today’s route was full of memory and meaning for me, through a part of the world that many of my loved ones love.  Lunch at black sail YHA.

Day 3 – Rosthwaite to Grasmere
9miles / 14kilometres
A short day, up in the morning and then a few hours down into the arvo.  This is a day to be enjoyed with the views savoured.  Options of a high route (taken by most but not me) offer even better views.  An early arrival in a sweet postcard pretty tourist driven town. Noteworthy scrambling up a waterfall early in the day provided a few hairy moments for me.

Day 4 – Grasmere to Patterdale
9miles / 14kilometres
Simliar to Day 5, climbing for a while and getting our last glimpses of the west coast.  Over a saddle and to be suprised by a lake.  Four options from the top to Patterdale, I took a mid level one and ambled solo in the sunshine.  One of my favourite days walking.

Day 5 – Patterdale to Shap
16miles / 26kilometres
Climbing to the highest point of the walk in the first five kilometres of the day, and loosing all ascent in the next one, undulating for the rest.  We left the lakes behind today.  Force fed freshly baked lemon meringue pie on arrival at our b&b (there are worse fates).  Saw our first sunset of the trip (10.15pm) after staying out later than usual. Hurt my knee some though.

Day 6 – Shap to Kirkby Stephen
21miles / 34kilometres
The first of our long days.  Split my shorts early in the day which meant walking in sweaty waterproofs after lunch when the tear became indecent.  Had a wonderful morning tea of crumpets, saw loads of ancient ruins and just enjoyed the walking. 

Day 7 - Kirkby Stephen to Keld
14miles / 23kilometres
The most fun I’ve ever had walking.  Up and out of Cumbria, past the Nine Standards and through the bogs of the Penines.  Spent hours jumping over the bogs, falling in and getting muddy up to my waist.  Another cream tea and so so so many laughs.

Day 8 – Keld to Reeth
11miles / 18kilometres
A gentle day walking, with neither much distance or difficulty.  Stopped for a few hours for a Sunday lunch and pints before setting off again. I don't do my best walking on a belly full of beer. Enjoyed the familiarity of the Yorkshire Dales.

Day 9 – Reeth to Richmond
11miles / 18kilometres
Joined by some friends of friends, this day zoomed by and I took barely a photo.  Another gentle day to be enjoyed and not rushed.  A bit of a pub crawl around the town and an enjoyable non-pub dinner (a rarity).

Day 10 – Richmond to Osmotherley
24miles / 39kilometres
This day sucked.  Big time.  A long day through the Vale of Mowbray.  Long, mostly flat and mostly muddy.  Not the first time we’d spent in paddocks and agricultural lands but the smelliest most unpleasant day of the trip by far.  I lost my lunch at the smell of one of the farms (dairy farm), to then loose my afternoon tea as we had the misfortune to follow a tractor spreading blood and bone.  My knee was playing up and by the end of the day I was just over it.  Thankfully, we were able to laugh about how foul it had been at dinner.

Day 11 – Osmotherley to Claybank Top
13miles / 21kilometres
A short fun day.  One of the highlights of the walk.  Over the Cleveland hills and into the North Yorkshire Moors.  Hilly, views of the east coast (yes, the east coast we were aiming for!).  Knee troubles though which sucked somewhat at the time. Smiles all around.

Day 12 – Claybank Top to Glaisdale
18miles / 29kilometres
An early start to the day, walking as the mist rose off the moors.  The moors were pretty desolate and a wonderful place to be walking.  Excitement was building and knowing it was the penultimate day gave us some sort of energy.

Day 13 – Glaisdale to Robin Hood's Bay
20miles / 32kilometres
The last day.  A capsule walk almost, covering all of the various terrain of the days prior – bog, forrests, wide tracks, roads, coast, paddocks, hills.  A not so gentle 1 in 3 climb mid morning but relatively flat/downhill for the last fifteen miles.  A lot of time for reflection.  Finished strong, happy to have done it, sad to have finished it.

{ St Bees & the Irish Sea, West Coast | Robin Hood’s Bay & the North Sea, East Coast }


  1. Sounds like it had its challenges apart from the distance. Splitting shorts, falling into mud, losing your lunch, hurt knee..... Sounds like an amazing experience overall!

    1. Yeah, the knee was the biggest nuisance but is fine now. I had to keep it well drugged and got through a lot of ibuprofen. The shorts and bog mostly made me laugh. The lunch was unfortunate but you know what my gag refelxt is like around bad smells.