Across England on the Coast to Coast walk part 2
Well … today’s the day.
The first of 18 that see us walking from the west coast of the UK to the east coast. Through Cumbria and Yorkshire. Following Alfred Wainwright’s famous Coast to Coast walk.
It’s been organised for us, so all we have to carry are our backpacks. Luggage will be transported between our nightly accommodation.
We’ve got B&Bs, hotels and farm stays lined up, some in the middle of towns, some in the middle of nowhere, and we’re looking forward to them all.
Recommended backpack inclusions are emergency medical supplies, water, lunch, snacks, raincoat, and little shovel/wipes/plastic bags for if you’re caught short.
It doesn’t take long—an hour or two on the road—to realise that’s WAY too much. In subsequent days we reduce it to band-aids, water and the minimum amount of food we think we’ll need.
As for being caught short—just make sure you do your ablutions before you head off in the morning and you can ditch the shovel etc as well.
Oh, and make sure your backpack is lightweight and waterproof—because if rain doesn’t soak it your sweat will.
But all that knowledge is in the future. Today we fortify ourselves with a full English breakfast (part of the package) and sandwiches packed by the B&B host.
Then it’s off and into the great outdoors, heading for the Lakes District. That’s those mountains in the distance.
The first day covers 14½ miles. Mid-morning sees us puffing and doggedly panting up our first slope, Dent Hill.
Nearly killed John who began to feel very poorly early and didn’t improve for hours. At one point as we were slogging it to the top I had visions of calling in Air Rescue! But being a man he said he’d manage, and he did.
That smile on my face, you may notice, is definitely forced. In fact, our kids commented on our smiles after a few days of receiving photos, asking:
‘Are you having fun yet!’
The Lakes District is a hike of five days through the toughest countryside on the 4 out of 5 difficulty-rated walk, so we know we’re not in for an easy time.
Dent Hill turns out to be the worst we encounter that day; the rest is along tracks and over fences, this one deer-proof.
We make it to Ennerdale and our overnight accommodation mid-afternoon, but as our hosts aren’t home we find the nearest pub and have a beer. Boy! Does it ever taste good—though as you can see, those smiles haven’t re-surfaced yet.
This becomes the pattern for the next 17 days. Hitting the road early so we arrive at our next destination at a reasonable hour.
Next week: Through the Lakes District with gritted teeth.