Show You The Way To Go

Day 1: St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge (14.6 miles)

I have promised a piece on route planning for the C2C (Coast to Coast) walk that Rob and I are preparing for in a little over two months’ time. In truth, with our trek and our evening accommodation being arranged through a holiday company, Macs Adventure, there is little that we have to do in terms of route planning, although there remains much that I want to do in terms of readying ourselves and in anticipating our walk.

So I have mastered the technology sufficiently well enough to be able to transfer the daily trails from the maps and schedule that Macs have provided onto the OS App on my phone. Excellent value at £30 per year, the annotated OS maps will provide our daily guide for the walk. An example of a daily section of map and the corresponding elevation profile is shown above. The OS technology allows the user to zoom into any section of the walk in order to achieve the desired scale and detail, whilst the mileage and ascent figures self-calculate from the identified walking route. There is also a feature that enables a photographic view, and even a ‘fly-through’ of the chosen route – I tend to avoid these as I find that a good read of the map gives sufficient detail whilst preserving the full experience for the actual walk itself (a bit like avoiding the football scores before watching Match of the Day)!

Our route follows closely the ‘classic’ Wainwright route, starting from St Bees in Cumbria on the Irish Sea and following a generally easterly direction through the heart of the Lake District then over the Yorkshire Dales, before climbing to traverse the North York Moors and finishing on the North Sea coast at Robin Hood’s Bay. In all we should cover around 190 miles and climb an aggregate of 46,000 feet (14,000 metres) over 16 walking days.

By way of background, the route we are taking follows quite closely that described in Alfred Wainwright’s 1973 book ‘A Coast to Coast Walk’. Wainwright’s illustrated guidebooks are a staple for any walker in northern England and beyond, and, indeed, his seven-volume manuscript ‘Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells’ (1955 to 1966) has become the acknowledged reference for those walking in the Lake District. Wainwright’s suggested Coast to Coast journey is proffered as one option of many walking routes: the path is not generally waymarked, consisting of various public rights of way (footpaths, bridleways, tracks and minor roads), permissive paths, and access land. So, despite the lack of National Trail status that has been accorded to such long-distance walks as the Pennine Way and the South West Coast Path, the Coast to Coast route (or routes) have proved increasingly popular with walkers, becoming ‘the second-best walk in the world’ according to a survey of experts in 2004* (see note below).

So what are the specific attractions of the walk? It can certainly be argued that no other UK walk of this length can quite match the beauty and diversity provided by the three National Parks through which the suggested trail passes. The Lake District, with its meres, fells, and forests, the pastures and dry stone walls along the valleys and hills of the Yorkshire Dales, and the expansive moorland plateau of the North York Moors comprise a unique journey that promises to live long in the memory. Add in the short coastal sections at either end of the walk, and the journey encapsulates examples of a great many of Britain’s finest landscapes. I will of course be writing much more on the character of these wonderful parts of our country, and on our experiences as the walk progresses. But for now, musing over the maps, my prevailing thoughts are simply those of ‘I can’t wait – bring it on!’

All the while, of course, the training continues. I know that Rob walks regularly near his home on the Wirral, and also during most weeks further afield with a group of friends around North Wales, the Pennines and the Peak District. How wonderful to have such spectacular hills close to hand!

For my part the Chilterns provide well for my preparations – beauty on a smaller scale. In an interesting addition to my recent walking activities, during the last few weeks our nordic walking leader has instigated an early morning Friday work-out that has entailed meeting up pre-dawn for a faster-paced 4-mile nordic walking circuit (you may have seen some of my sunrise photos in last week’s Blog). I have plans for some more early morning and late evening night hikes, lit only by moonlight (as available!) and a head-torch. Naturally these sorties are unlikely to lend themselves to any great photo opportunities, but the following picture might give some flavour of these walks.

Darkness on the edge of town . . . with my friend Simon, in December

We also have some trips planned further afield, providing walking opportunities in some less familiar parts of the country. So last weekend Rachel and I visited Chris and Mima, our younger son and daughter-in-law, in Cardiff, giving us the chance of a 5-mile walk along the South Wales coast, around Nash Point.

Crossing the ffrwd in Cwm Nash
The cliffs above Traeth Mawr
Spotlights on Exmoor, across the Bristol Channel . . .
. . . and the lighthouse family!

As I say, bring on LETJOG C2C!

* In a Country Walking magazine survey of global treks, as reported by BBC News on 23 November 2004, the Coast to Coast walk was placed second only to the Milford Trek in New Zealand. One commentator of the time opined “The cultural experience is typically British and specifically English. The humour, the personalities and the character of the people you meet – they have a style about them and an environment they generate themselves that cannot be emulated anywhere in the world. But it is not a walk in the park.”

2 thoughts on “Show You The Way To Go

  1. Good one chuck!

    On Wed, 26 Jan 2022, 16:14 Nick & Rob’s Charity Coast to Coast Walk, wrote:

    > nickletjog posted: ” Day 1: St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge (14.6 miles) I > have promised a piece on route planning for the C2C (Coast to Coast) walk > that Rob and I are preparing for in a little over two months’ time. In > truth, with our trek and our evening accommodation b” >


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