Coast to Coast Walk Day 0 – the journey to St Bees

Coast to Coast walk day 0

Track my progress to the St Bees starting point live

Coast to coast walk day 0 is basically me getting to St Bees for the start of the journey

Didn’t get much sleep last night. Kept getting up to go to the loo. The excitement starting to take effect.

Had a good cooked breakfast – it’s the way ahead for the next couple of weeks:) Thought I might as well start as I am clearly going to be doing going on. Didn’t take long to finish packing and decided I’d take my Osprey laptop bag as it will be easier to keep all the cables there. I can put the bag inside my NorthFace base camp duffel bag for transportation between venues. There’s a lot more stuff in there than if i was carrying it all on the walk.

At 10.30 we set off to drop the duffel bag at Ajax’s house. They are taking it up for me which will make life a lot easier on the journey there. First stop is Newcastle at 13.40 where I’m meeting Joe for 40 minutes during the layover. It’s then a 90 minute journey across to Carlisle and then an hour and ten minutes or so to St Bees where I will arrive at 17.55, all being well.

Had a flat white and a piece of caramel shortbread at Newark Northgate – starting the calorie consumption already:)

At “Darlo” the train filled up with NUFC fans who had already been “celebrating” for some time. They filled up the std class carriages and overflowed into first. We were all getting off quite soon so it didn’t really matter other than some chap who got on at Durham and started talking loudly to a pal about the wallpaper he had just put up, the fact that Newcastle Brown Ale was nearly three quid a bottle at the station whereas it was 4 for a fiver at ASDA and about the fact that he was sitting in first with a std class ticket.

We’ve all done it although my incident a few years ago was totally inadvertent. I thought I had a first class ticket and didn’t discover my mistake until after I’d eaten a full breakfast. I was quite prepared to pay to upgrade but the guard never came along to inspect my ticket – result!

I’ll update as we go along here.

coast to coast

Pics from Carlisle station



Anker PowerCore charging two devices on the train to St Bees – a nice feeling.


Arrived in St Bees at exactly 17.55 as timetabled. Nice run along the coast. Lots of village names I’d never heard of. A lot of folk got on at Whitehaven in party mood. The Stonehouse Farm B&B was right next to the station. Carole Smith met me and showed me to Room1. Ordered packed lunches for the morning. Ham rolls, fruit and juice. Breakfast at 8.15 – they already have a party of five at 8am.

Before the others arrived (an hour after me) I strolled down to the beach which is the start of the coast to coast. I figured the weather today is nice whereas tomorrow it will be horrendous. Might as well get some nice pics in before the rain.

Dinner at the Queens Head. Manor Hotel was fully booked. It was fine – 4 pints of Lancaster Bomber and a 16oz gammon, egg and chips. Bed at 9.30.

B&B wifi 19.44Mbps down 4.93Mbps up. EE mobile hotspot 3.58Mbps down 1.36Mbps up.

Friday and I’m all set to go

Early doors in the Prince of Wales for a pre coast to coast meeting

Spent the day getting ready for the coast to coast. Bought some ibuprofen, paracetamol and spare torch batteries from Boots in the Carlton Centre. Not anticipating needing to use a torch but you never know…

Did consider buying some more maps to supplement the coast to coast map sent by the travel agents. The trouble with the one I have is that it is purely for the coast to coast route. If we need to divert around mountains we have no map. Went to GoOutdoors for a skeet but decided against it in the end. There are 4 maps just for the Lake District!

Anne and I went to the Prince for early doors to meet Ajax, Sue and others. Ajax can’t set off until after lunch tomorrow because Luke, his son and a fellow coast to coaster, is having a “haircut”. I get there at 17.55 and Tom an hour later. Will wait until everyone gets there to have dinner.

This is the last entry for a couple of weeks now whilst I move operations over to We have raised £1200ish so far and haven’t begun the walk yet. I’m optimistic the number will rise significantly.

See you on…

Thursday Thursday the rain has come

deafening noise in conservatory

Started packing today. Got all the technical stuff out and it is pretty much ready to go. Will need to make sure the first aid kit is fully stashed. Will need to make sure I have enough underwear and other evening stuff. 2 weeks away. Some opportunity to launder clothes but I think I need to assume we won’t get the chance.

Broke through the £1k mark with donations today including a contribution from Joe’s girlfriend Charlotte who is a student and therefore not particularly well off. From hereon it’s onwards and upwards with an especial pressure on to make sure we complete the walk.

Got a few work bits to finish off but basically now on the glide path to Cumbria. Had my haircut at Tom Visconi’s in the Bail this morning. Took a before and after photo. Not sure I can see the difference but Tom definitely took a load off. Don’t want to be having unruly hair on the coast to coast walk do we?

Did a few jobs for Anne. Dismantled the desk in tom’s room and reassembled in the loft. Anne has been painting the loft. V nice it is. I also moved some shelving that had been discarded to the bottom of the garden into the attic. We are going to put the router, NAS box, RIPE Atlas probe and CCTV box on it. Oh and also the 16 port Fast Ethernet switch. I need to invest in a GigE switch. They aren’t expensive and I’ve had the old one for over ten years now.

Popped to the Star for a couple of pints early doors. Figured there wasn’t much point doing the heath kick at this stage. Looking out of the window at the rain we noticed some “youths” doing a deal in the car park opposite. Something was handed over in exchange for something else. Seemed like an odd place to be selling drugs in full view of everyone.

Anne cooked a nice sole in white wine sauce with new potatoes and green beans and I polished off the last of the wine. Now I’m on the Spanish brandy. A bit of a toothache. Again. It’s because I had some chocolate earlier. Lesson there.

Good chat with dad. Tried to hook him up on Facebook in a chat with me and Hannah. Trouble is he is using an iPad and I’m not and I can’t see what he can see so don’t find it easy to give him the right IT support.

Oh and the noise in the conservatory was deafening during the rain. As the header says:)

Wednesday – the leaving of Luxembourg

snow at the airport

Had a pleasant time in Luxembourg although these meetings are always exhausting. The hotel was pretty average – soft mattress and below par breakfast but the problem is that finding places to host a couple of hundred o so people at a sensible price ain’t easy.

A few of us were leaving at the same time so we got two taxis to the Airport. Luxembourg airport is quite small so it was a breeze to get through security. Richard and I travelled on the Heathrow Express into town and then tubed it from Paddington to Kings Cross where i was able to change my ticket for an earlier train. Bought lunch (pint of milk, cheese sandwich and packet of McCoys flame grilled beef crisps) and ate it on the 13.30 train nowf.

Nice to get home. Anne and I arrived at the house at the same time and had a cuppa before she set off to pick up John from school. Was the first proper cup of tea since leaving for Luxembourg

Last night I had beans on toast with Lincolnshire sausages for tea before heading to the Eastgate Tennis Club for the Wimbledon ticket draw.  John is a member. We got a result. Second Thursday. Ladies semi finals day. Centre Court. We can’t make the first week where there is a lot more tennis action around the site but ladies semis isn’t bad. You also get to see a mends doubles semi final match.

Focus at home is now very much about getting ready for the coast to coast walk which starts this weekend. Weather forecast is wet for our Sunday start day. Hopefully the weather will quickly move on before then. I’ve used the weather forecast for StBees screenshot from yesterday to give you an idea of what is in store.

Don’t forget I’m raising cash for Cancer Research UK whilst on this Coast to Coast walk. The JustGiving page is here. The start date of the walk coincides with the anniversary of my mother’s death on May 1st last year. Mam was Chairman of the Marown & District branch of the IoM Anti Cancer Association.

Weather update for Coast to Coast

Coast to coast weather update

As I get nearer the big day (travel to St Bees Saturday, walk Sunday) I’ve been looking a lot more closely at the weather forecast for the area. The forecast has been wet with wintry showers on high ground. Looks like we may get the wintry showers out of the way but the met office has been consistent in Saying that Sunday is going to be very wet.

At least the wind is going to be at our backs. The biggest problem with the wet weather is going to be that we may not be able to access some of the higher ground. This is a dual edged sword because on the one hand it will stop me from killing myself on the uphill sections but on the other hand I’m not sure there is always a low level workaround.

In the TV programmes you see Alfred Wainwright, and subsequently Julia Bradbury, sitting out the wet days in cafes. We don’t have that luxury of time.  Apparently the Julia Bradbury series took 6 weeks to film whereas our budget for this walk is 12 days.

I have pretty much everything I need now although I’m sure there will be time for a stroll around GoOutdoors in Lincoln just in case I’ve missed something. I’m thinking thinner gloves that allow you to use mobile phone screens whilst wearing them. I also need to make sure I have all the right blister plasters, just in case.

This morning I will be spending doing work type stuff but from lunchtime on the focus is packing and getting ready for the off. I am meeting Ajax, one of my walking buddies, for beers early doors on Friday and will want to be packed by then.

Last Tuesday in Luxembourg

26th April 2016

Another full day’s conferencing at Euro-IX 28 in prospect. The day has started with “Ethernet and the Serendipity of Relativity” by John D’Ambrosia, “PeeringDB 2.0 for IXPs” by Arnold Nipper and “RIPE Atlas for IXPs” by Kaveh Ranjbar. All good stuff.
Walked past the queue at the front desk during the coffee break and said to myself I was glad i wasn’t checking out this morning. Then realised I’d left my room key in the room and had to join the queue.

We had filled rolls for lunch which made a very pleasant change from yet another full blown 3 course meal. I often find myself making up a sandwich on these occasions but today I didn’t need to.

My video of the weekend social went down very well. I was last on before the thank yous.

Now I’m just chilling out in my room before meeting the guys at 5pm and heading into the old town.

Monday night social

big beer company

Euro-IX 28 Luxembourg

Aside from the tours of the SES and RTL facilities the one thing that stood out yesterday was the amount of building happening in Luxembourg. I described it as capacity expansion for when the existing buildings begin to overflow with gravy.

Today, Monday, we are getting down to the nitty gritty of the conference with a problem with the wifi giving some cause for concern. The folk that live and work in the internet industry are heavy consumers of bandwidth. It was fixed during lunch so we are back up and running now.

This morning I worked on a video of the Sunday Social. I’m not an expert iMovie user yet but it is easy enough to produce something reasonable. I’ll post it tomorrow.

Had a bit of a dip before heading to the bar and then out for the social which was at a brewery in the middle of town.

Also got the live tracking mode working for runkeeper. You can see the route to the brewery and back here.

sunday in luxembourg


Tiring day began with breakfast followed by a trip to the SES satellite groundstation/HQ and a visit to the RTL studios.

Back for a nap in the room before heading down to the social. Bed at midnight hence the brevity of this entry. Watch the vids and look at the pics – vids and pics


Last plane to Luxembourg just leaving town

ELO gig at the O2

Turn to stone & don’t bring me down- ELO gig at the O2

Absolutely fantastic ELO gig at the O2 last night. Ended up at the Sky Bar on the 18th floor along with everyone else at the hotel that wasn’t at the Indian wedding. Heaving it was. We shared a table with a couple called Alison and Terry who happened to be coming to Lincoln for the Steam Punk festival next August Bank Holiday.

The night was somewhat tempered later on by some know smoking in his hotel room and setting off the fire alarm. We all trooped down the stairs and out through the emergency exit. I had the sense to throw some clothes on but quite a few people were in their dressing gowns.

What really annoyed me was the fact that there were no staff in sight. I had ot call the hotel in the end to get them to send someone to the fire assembly area. I have asked for a report on what they will be doing to prevent it happening again. I don’t mind the fire alarm. It’s the lack of staff presence to tell us what to do is what got me.

The poor night’s sleep was made worse by two idiots talking loudly in our corridor at 6am.  On the upside the hotel is a terrific hotel. The staff were great. Room v comfortable.

When we arrived our room on the 11th floor wasn’t ready so we accepted one on the 3rd which may or may not have been a mistake as it turned out to have a view only of an huge air-conditioning vent. You could just about see Canary Wharf if you stretched your neck to the side.

The room had the side issue of having a walkway outside its window and when Anne came out of the shower she found a bloke in a hard hat and high viz jacket stood just outside.

Breakfast was terrific this morning. Perhaps one of the best hotel breakfasts i’ve seen. Tom arrived at around 10.20 to go off for some sightseeing with Anne whilst I Ubered it to LCY to catch the 12.10 LG4594 to Luxembourg.

More from Luxembourg as I have it…

Pics and vids here.

If it’s Friday it must be the ELO gig at the O2

merino buff

lost merino buff found

Anne and I are off to Laandan to see ELO. Staying at the O2 Intercontinental so quite looking forward to the trip. This morning all we’ve done really is to get ready for it. Couldn’t do any work. Did check out my new Anker PowerCore. Bit of a weight to it. Charging it up on the train South. Also installed my new 200GB SD card on the phone. It isn’t 200GB though. More like 189GB. It’ll still do.

Hannah rang. She is in London for an interview for a grad scheme job. She had arrived an hour early at the somewhat plush offices near the Tower of London. Good planning. She can now go and sit in a caff for an hour and turn up relaxed. In one sense this is very much her interviewing the company as well so I think she is just going to enjoy the process. Hansk is meeting us for an early dinner at the hotel before catching a 19.30 train nowf.

We turned up early at Newark Northgate giving me plenty of time to collect my return ticket for next Wednesday. Unfortunately the machine didn’t recognise the booking reference number. Turns out it was a print at home job and I hadn’t printed it off. Doh. Sent Tom the PDF using Facebook Messenger for him to print at work and bring along tomorrow morning.

There is a woman effin and blinding a few seats away. She is on the phone to someone talking about some legal matter. Effin and blinding doesn’t fit well in the First Class  carriage. I should complain to the guard. Get her shifted up the back 🙂

After ELO I’m off to Luxembourg for the Euro-IX conference.

Note the featured image shows me modeling my new merino buff – thought I’d lost it but found it in the pocket of my Timberland wax jacket when I put it on today.