Possibly my last word on the Coast to Coast walk

Coast to coast wrapup

We finished the Coast to coast walk 5 days ago. My feet are starting to recover and I am now away on a business trip for a couple of weeks – Brussels, Barcelona and Copenhagen. It’s the way to roll.

In packing for the trip I put away some of my winter wardrobe – thick pullovers etc – and retrieved some of my summer stuff –  loud but tasteful Hawaiian shirts – you know me. Whilst I didn’t lose any weight on the walk due to the high intake of compensatory calories I’ve found that my shirts are a more comfortable fit and I am almost comfortable with the next notch in on the belt. All good stuff.

I have had time to reflect on the two weeks on the trail. How do I feel having finished? I feel good about it. Sometimes I glow. 190 miles from coast to coast. Wow. 🙂 Would I do it again. Not a hope in hell.

I caveat that last remark. I would consider such a challenge but it would have to have better planning. We took on too much on a daily basis. Shorter distances giving us time to enjoy ourselves should be the order of the day. This can be a problem for people with limited holidays. Two weeks is usually the maximum sensible time off work. Every additional night also adds to the cost. It comes as no surprise that the people we met taking the easier, longer option were retired gentlefolk (I just added that gentlefolk bit in for effect).

There would also have to be a solution to my sore feet. This could be an experimentation with different insoles, anti bruising agents such as Arnica cream and Voltarol gel for the reduction of pain.

I have noticed since finishing and since the tiredness has worn off (I was completely knackered for a couple of days afterwards) that I am now quite relaxed. This must be the byproduct of lots of exercise, being extremely focussed on the task in hand,  not thinking about work and the absence of TV, internet and telephony from my life. OK I did have some connectivity but this was sporadic and limited. Possibly a lesson there.

I am also happy with the cash we raised for Cancer research UK. It could always have been a lot more but actually considering it was mostly done through Facebook and with very little proactive effort once the walk had started it’s a goodly sum. Remember I was doing it in memory of my Mam who died a year ago to the day we started walking. She was in my mind as I walked along and I think it appropriate that I smile as I now think of her.

Having completed the challenge I now feel up to taking on others. Not this year but I will be giving it some thought. Ideas are welcomed.

I guess I will finish by thanking everyone who supported us on the walk and especially to my gorgeous wife Anne who has to put up with a lot and who came to meet us on her birthday. She was greeted by a husband writhing in agony on the bed because of his sore feet and treated to a sit down fish and chip supper in the Shap Chippy. Very salubrious but it did the job.

To those of you who have been kind and generous enough to donate cash to Cancer Research UK I will be in touch with you individually whenever i can fit it in over the coming fortnight. I am away on business until a week on Friday.

Worralife eh? 🙂

Oh and one final word on A Wainwright, the designer of the coast to coast walk, national treasure, icon to walkers everywhere and a complete and utter b&^%$£d swine for being the architect of my suffering over two extremely tough weeks that I can now look back on and smile.

PS look out for the movie – remember I have 36GB of pics and vids to sort…

Coast to Coast walk Bed and Breakfast review

Coast to coast walk Bed and Breakfast review – the best and the worst

Coast to coast walk bed and breakfast reviews – you heard it first on trefor.net.

We stayed at 13 bed and breakfasts whilst doing the coast to coast walk. Suffice to say that we were all sick of the sight of a “full English” by the end of it although I did finish off with one thinking it might be my last for some time.

By and large all the places we stayed at were of a good standard – Ajax and Luke had a couple of duffers. We weren’t always in the same place. The one exception was the Arncliffe Arms on the penultimate night which was pretty low quality pub accommodation with no outstanding features. The only other slight disappointemnt was the New Ing Lodge in Shap. It was run by a nice young couple who seemed to me to lack experience. For example the heating wasn’t on and some of the rooms (Ajax’s) didn’t have kettles. They were running the place on a shoestring it seemed.

I’m not going to mention all the places we stayed. You can check out the post for each specific day of the walk for this information. It is fair to say that a few of them did stand out from the rest for a variety of reasons.

The number one for quality was the Manse at Reeth on day 7. This won for the general high standard of the room and en suite (touch control temperature shower) and the overall quality of the breakfast. Although the bacon was slightly overdone they provided fried bread when asked even though it wasn’t on the menu. Breakfast overall was v good. They had soda bread on the menu!.

The Manse was right next to the green in Reeth which was very convenient for the pubs and on the coast to coast walk route. It is worth noting that these rural areas of the North aren’t totally geared up for tourists. Pub kitchens often closed early. Some friends came to meet us for that day’s walk and their pub/hotel stopped serving food at 7pm on a Saturday night. The only place in town still serving was the Buck Inn which was pretty low quality freezer fare. My rare steak came medium. My family insists that I’m not allowed to order steak in pubs for this very reason but hey…

The other places worth a mention are the Keld Lodge Hotel, West Cote near Chop Gate/Clay Bank Top, the Glaisdale Lodge near Patterdale and the Willance House in Richmond.

Keld Lodge was a former Youth Hostel. It wasn’t salubrious but the staff there were terrific and was the first place to automatically include fried bread on the menu. Keld is a million miles from anywhere so we also ate there and had a terrific evening meal. You felt as if you were in an oasis. I asked Dave the waiter whether the sauvignon blanc was local and he replied it was made in Wensleydale:). Keld Lodge btw is in Swaledale which was my fave bit of the walk.

Grisedale Lodge (day 3) was run by Christine and John and the food was of the highest quality. The bread was homemade and the Cumberland sausage at breakfast was the meatiest I’d ever seen. Bought from the butcher in Shap. Tom had a high quality home mixed muesli. We had had a really hard day when we arrived at Patterdale so Tom hit the hay whilst I staggered to the pub (Lion? I’ll look it up) with Ajax and Luke where we had a good solid meal and met the Canadians.

West Cote (day 10) was different to the mainstream. The landlady Judy was a serious star. We had to call West Cote in advance to let them know when to pick us up as there was no phone signal at the top. In conversation I asked her if she minded me arranging an Amazon delivery the next day – my feet had been getting very sore and my GP sister Ann had advised Arnica cream (is this a social call or a medical call says Ann? :).

Judy said she would pop into town and get me the cream and I added more tape and blister plasters to the list. We eventually ended up walking tp West Cote rather than getting a lift and when we arrived I was not only proffered the Arnica cream but Judy fixed me up an ice bath for my feet.

We also had tea and scones on arrival. That night Stuart ran us down tp the pub, another Buck Inn, owned by a German chef named Wolfgang. We had a German meal rather than the normal pub fare (hunter’s schnitzel)  and afterwards had a beer with both Stu and Wolfgang.

Breakfast was very different. You could choose the usual cooked stuff but I elected for cheese with homemade toasted bread. Our second and final home made bread experience. There was a terrific selection of local cheeses including three from a 180 year old dairy from Wensleydale.

The story goes that the dairy had been sold to a large conglomerate that had decided to shift production to Lancashire. Wensleydale, a Yorkshire cheese made in Lancashire! The prospect was unthinkable. A management buyout ensued and the cheese stayed local. In a nice touch, Nick Park of Wallace & Grommit (more cheese Gromit) fame gave the dairy the rights to use the Wallace and Gromit branding for ten years. I didn’t used to like Wensleydale but this was terrific and I am now a convert. As well as homemade bread Judy presented us with homemade jams and marmalades.

She was very knowledgeable about the area and threw herself into the B&B job with enthusiasm. She was also on the committee of the Riding for The Disabled Charity – a top girl all round.

Willance House (day 8) in Richmond was a real pro outfit. The rooms were of high quality. Colin the proprietor was very attentive and was perfectly happy to provide us with a bacon sandwich at 6.30 am so that we could make an early start on what was the longest day’s walk of the trip.

I would return to all the aforementioned B&Bs again. I can recommend a three nighter in Keld, Reeth and Richmond which have fairly easy walks between each stop.

Complete list of our coast to coast walk bed and breakfast accommodation. There are pictures of all the locations mentioned (I think – maybe not all the actual B&Bs but certainly the locations) if you go to the relevant day’s blog entry. Click on the album links to see the pics and vids.

So there you go – coast to coast walk bed and breakfast reviews. Only a few coast to coast posts left in me plus a video which might take some time to produce as I have so much material. It will be worth the wait:)

Coast to Coast walk gadget review

Coast to Coast walk gadget review

Coast to Coast walk gadget review includes Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Runkeeper, OS Maps online, Fitbit, Pangea Tracker and the Leatherman multitool.  I carried with me a number of gadgets and used 2 main Apps on the coast to coast walk. Here’s what I thought of them.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

The Edge was bought several weeks prior to the coast to coast walk as my Oneplus2 had failed miserably in the rain during the Llanberis training week. In fact it died on me. The edge claims to be waterproof and can withstand being under 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.

I tried it out in the rain before going o the walk and had no problems. The camera is brilliant and the phone feels great to hold.

Under true field conditions the problems showed themselves. Firstly the rain was so heavy that every time a raindrop hit the screen the phone thought I was pressing a button. It went haywire. This was particularly inconvenient when I needed to use the GPS.

At our lunch stop under a soaking wet railway bridge I dropped the phone and subsequently found I’d cracked the back. At least the screen survived for me to be able to use it on the rest of the walk.

The phone was kept in my waterproof coat pocket. This pocket filled with water because I left the zip open to access phone/gloves/stuff. This didn’t particularly seem to affect the phone but the battery did run out during the afternoon and my external charger wouldn’t work because the phone detected “moisture in the USB port”. The next day I left the phone in a dry bag in the rucksack and used my GoPro in it’s waterproof case.

The GoPro worked fine but needed the images and videos manually backing up which was a faff.

After day two the weather was near perfect so I reverted to the use of the phone which I kept wrapped in my merino buff, really just to prevent condensation (from my profusely sweating body) getting to the screen and affecting its responsiveness to my finger. I needed fast responsiveness to be able to quickly take pics.

At around the middle of the afternoon I’d retrieve the external charger from the dry bag and plug it into the phone. One charger with 7800mAh was enough but not over the top. After a couple of days I left the second spare power pack in my main bag that was transported between B&Bs.

Apart from the camera, which with 36GB of pics and vids taken was the most used app, the most useful app was Runkeeper. Runkeeper told us how many miles we had come and therefore how many we had yet to go. It also told us how long we had taken and the miles per hour walking rate. This was all important info especially as we needed to try and keep up the pace over the long days and distances. My overall pace was hampered by heel blisters that slowed Tom and I down over the 12 days.

I was also able to broadcast our progress live using Runkeeper. Once the activity had been started, son Joe at Newcastle University would log in, take the link and insert it in the day’s pre-written blog post. Images and videos, uploaded in real time where there was connectivity, would also be transferred into the pre-created album of the day.

Connectivity was very poor along most of the route. Bear in mind Wainwright (forever labeled Wainwright the sadist in my mind) took you away from roads and up steep sided mountains wherever possible. The Lake District connectivity was especially poor, both mobile and fixed. In the interest of survival and resting my knee, hammered on the day 2 descent from Honister, Tom and I sometimes took an alternative route by road, avoiding rocky descents.

Poor connectivity didn’t stop the Runkeeper tracking from working. It would just wait for some bandwidth availability before updating the online database.

The other great app I used was the Ordnance Survey online mapping tool. Before the trip I created the exact replica of Wainwright’s route for each day using the tool. This was then downloaded onto the phone for offline use. Essential for a route with little connectivity. The absence of mobile data connectivity didn’t stop the GPS from working. Whilst we mostly used a paper map we did find it very convenient to resort to the Ordnance Survey which would then tell us whether we were off course or not. This saved us time and effort on quite a number of occasions and I very much recommend it if you are into the outdoor recreation game. I wouldn’t rely on the OS Maps app as the main navigation tool. It feels like it uses a lot of battery power although I have no data to back this up. Also in the rain it is safer to use a map securely stored in a waterproof map case or even a waterproof map.

I had with me a Fitbit Surge watch. Tests had determined that whilst this did work as a tracker the battery life was not sufficient when using GPS. The latest we got in was 8.15 pm on the second day. The phone battery could be supplemented by the external charger but this was not possible with the Fitbit as the socket was underneath the display, ie resting on your wrist.

The Fitbit would be great for the intended usage – running, working out etc where the times involved might be in the lowe hours rather than days.

I carried with me at all times the Pangea Tracker. This gave me a reliable backup for Runkeeper and also a portal that will allow me to access the whole route when back at base and with some time to properly write up the whole walk (whenever that might be!).

Other gadgets worth mentioning include the Leatherman multitool. I only used it once and that was in the evening at the B&B. Whilst being a really cool boys toy it didn’t take me long to decide that less weight was better than invisible coolness and this was soon relegated to the duffel bag and the transporting van.

The duffel bag btw was a North Face Basecamp XL. Fantastic bags. Really robust. As well as my clothes it also carried my Osprey laptop bag. I used one of my Chromebooks during the evenings, exhaustion permitting, to update the day’s blog. The chromebooks are so cheap as to be almost disposable and taking it along was an acceptable risk.

I think that’s it on the coast to coast walk gadget front. I used the premium, paid for versions of Runkeeper and the OS maps.

The coast to coast walk has been a major feature in my life for the last few weeks. Check out all the posts in the coast to coast category on this blog.

Coast to Coast Kit List

Coast to Coast Kit List

Feet are starting to recover from the coast to coast walk. I removed all the remaining plasters last night and have been giving them a good airing. No further details are necessary. I’ll soon be switching this daily diary back to my personal website philosopherontap but for now, whilst I have coast to coast stuff to say, it’s going onto trefor.net. Today I thought I’d talk about my coast to coast kit list. The gear that I took along on the walk. I figured that I’d need all the help I could get and decided that price wouldn’t be an obstacle to buying the right kit. This didn’t necessarily mean I ended up paying top dollar for everything. It just meant that I chose what seemed right for me without worrying about the money.

The first port of call were the boots. I have a slight problem when it comes to choosing footwear in that my left foot is sized 9 but my right foot is sized 8. Ordinarily this isn’t a problem because a pair of sized nines does the job and I hardly notice the looser fit in the right foot.

When it comes to walking 190 miles up hill and down dale as in the coast to coast the story is different. Both feet had to be a comfortable fit with not too much play. I tried on numerous pairs in both Blacks and GoOutdoors but never felt comfortable enough to make the buying decision. Instead, on one of my trips taking kids to university  (Hannah to Durham and Joe to Newcastle) I stopped off at the Alt Berg factory shop in Richmond.

Alt Berg is a wonderful shop with a factory attached. You can see them making the boots whilst you sit there fitting your own. They supply the armed forces and are willing to sell you a mixed sized pair. Unfortunately they didn’t have a wide enough fit for my feet and I ended up with a pair of Meindl Meran GTX in size 9 1/2. Very comfortable.

The story unfortunately didn’t end there. After ten or so practice walks i concluded that the left boot was rubbing a toe and took it back to see whether they could do anything. They used a very hot tool to put a bulge where the boot rubbed but a couple of walks later I found that this had a knock on effect of allowing my foot to slip forward in the shoe and rub other toes.

I was running out of time. We had a walking holiday in snowdonia coming up fast on the rails and after that only a month until the coast to coast. My boots needed to be right. I but the bullet and bought a second pair of the Meindls at size 10. I wore the ten on the left foot and the 9 ½ on the right. This does mean I have two pairs of odd sized shoes , one of which is no good to me, but needs must. The odd pair are a perfect fit!

My socks were Bridgedale merino fusion Trail. These were really comfortable. I had three pairs. One on, one off and a spare in my day bag. I’d wash that day’s socks in the shower each evening and dry them overnight on the radiator, or the B&B/hotel drying room.

I bought pretty much everything other than the boots in GoOutdoors where they not only match the cheapest price online but let me have a further 10% expedition discount.

My day sack was a Deuter Futura 32. This is a great bag that adjusts both chest and hip straps to your size. It’s got a lower compartment for your waterproof, an inner slot for your camelback and all the straps and pockets you can think of. I was really pleased with this bit of kit.

I bought several base layers, both short and long sleeved and synthetic and merino. I ended up just using the North Ridge short sleeved merino and  Rab long sleeved merino/polyester job. These were not only comfortable but had great wicking properties and I felt a lot more comfortable having the long sleeves on the hot sunny days as protection against sunburn. The sleeves were looI needed to cool down.

I bought a couple of cheap thin Hi Gear half zipped fleeces but didn’t use them much at all. The weather was not cold and I didn’t need the extra insulation. In fact I spent half the time just in a base layer.

I did use my Berghaus full zipped fleeces a good 50% of the time. The layering system works really well. Zips go up and zips go down dependant on my body temperature. These fleeces have large side pockets that are map sized and really handy.

I had two of most things except for the Marmot Red Star outer/waterproof. This is a pretty minimalistic lightweight garment designed to be windproof and waterproof but not particularly warm. On the first day, which was very wet and windy, I left the pocket zips open and the pockets filled up with water!

When wearing base, fleece and outer and climbing I found the small of my back was often soaked. Dripping even. The wicking properties were phenomenal and I never felt wet.  When we stopped I’d dry off in no time.

All the clothes got a wash a couple of times during the walk but otherwise mostly dried off each night. The previous day’s kit would be put away in the morning and reused the following day. Our bags were carried to the next night’s stop by a company called Packhorse.

One item that proved essential were the Lowe Alpine gaiters. These saved me from having wet boots on a number of occasions, especially in the Lake District. They were chosen only because I had trouble finding a pair that fitted but were perfectly good.

My Montane Terra Stretch trousers were fantastic. Lightweight and comfortable, very breathable and with side vents that stayed open pretty much all the time after the first day which was the only really wet one. I had Berghaus waterproof overtrousers.

The merino buff was used mostly to wrap my phone in after it was dropped and cracked in the rain on day 1. Finally my Tilley hat was fantastic. Used come rain or shine and very versatile.

I’m running out of steam here and it’s bedtime so that’s all you are getting from a coast to coast kit list description. I’ll add more tomorrow as I think of it.

ciao

Coast to coast walk reflection and advice

Coast to coast walk advice

Coast to coast walk advice for first timers. Advice to people thinking of doing the coast to coast walk.

Our build up for the coast to coast was tremendous. It started at the end of March when I pushed the button, went through lots of training walks and stints in GoOutdoors splashing the cash on kit, and the promo activity designed to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. No that it is all over I thought I’d stick some reflections on the experience that could help you if you are thinking of doing it yourself.

weather

In the week or two running up to the start I stopped training, partly due to being away a lot on business, and started to focus on the weather for the trip. It was looking particularly black for day 1 which is how it eventually turned out.

We got totally soaked on day 1. My waterproof coat pockets filed up as I had left the zips open to take things in and out. The Martin wainwright Guide Book was totalled and I lost my specs (Oakleys).  I’d removed them as my blurred vision was better than looking through blurred specs. The boots got thoroughly wet – no gaiters were going stop the lakes of water we had to paddle through from filling up the boots.

My gloves also got soaked through. They were supposed to be waterproof but weren’t. Make sure you have a decent pair.

As it happened whilst day 2 began wet the weather for the remaining 10 days was near perfect. On occasion it was too perfect – heat isn’t good for walking. 10 degrees with a gentle breeze is just about right. We were lucky. The average number of days’ rain in the lake district in May is 16.

We were lucky. Especially on the last day where the sun came out as we were walking in to Robin Hood’s Bay and allowed us to enjoy the experience sat outside the Bay Hotel with friends and family.

The enjoyment would have been really curtailed had we not had nice weather most of the time. Be prepared.

preparation

Although I did around 150 miles of walking in preparation for this trip it was mostly on flat roads around Lincoln. This was no preparation at all for the underfoot conditions on the coast to coast.

The Lake District in particular was a real swine (language and true feelings toned down for a Universal audience). There are few nice smooth paths and many steep ascents and descents.

Beware of lakeside paths. They are no such thing. They are merely areas of rock designed to hurt your feet and slow down progress. The dotted green line marking a “public footpath” gives no hint as to the difficulty of traversing said path. One mile an hour can be the going rate on such paths.

Ascents were actually less trouble than perhaps might have been forecast. As long as you take things steadily you can make good progress. On our last day we had a 1 in 3 hill to climb out of Grosmont and did this without stopping in just over 30 minutes. Likewise Loft Beck, the ascent to Honister Pass near the Black Sail Youth Hostel was far less trouble than anticipated and we managed it in an hour.

The big problem are the descents. These are bone jarring knee knackering “paths” that slowed us down big time and in the case of Honister resulted in my having to nip to Keswick in the morning to buy a knee support. Thereafter we planned some of our days to avoid the steep descents.

This had the side effect of also avoiding some ascents although it did usually mean a longer walk around the hill. It was more important for me to get from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay in one piece than to do it heroically but in bits, or not even to make it to the end at all.

How fit do you need to be?

This is where I should comment on Wainwright as a cult figure and how fit you need to be to do this walk. Old Alfred Wainwright was a life long fell walker. Any comments he makes about how long it should take you to walk a specific route should take this into consideration. When AW says a good walker should easily complete a stage in a day he really means it is easily doable if you are superfit.

Some stages are obvious ones to split into two days. In fact whilst we completed the walk in 12 days I’d say 14 or 16 would make the experience that much more enjoyable. Our days were spent concentrating on making progress to the end point B&B rather than making detours to see interesting stone circles or graves. With a 12 day schedule it was all about survival.

We met a party of retired persons who were walking East to West and taking 19 days. That’s 10 miles a day and a very comfortable pace. Worth thinking about if you can spare the time and afford the night stays. A daily mileage of 10 – 12 is good. Consider 15 to be a long day. 19 – 23 miles is just making it hard for yourselves.

There were plenty of walkers along the route who were eating up the miles on whatever surface they chose. It is doable but they were largely people for whom walking was part of their lives.

So when you read the Wainwright book and get fired up about the whole prospect of doing the coast to coast just remember you need to be pretty fit.

The other comment here relates to the Julia Bradbury Coast to Coast TV programmes. Julia made it look easy. In fact this was partly because they allegedly took six weeks to make the series. You weren’t going to be able to do the walk and stop off to meet the people she interviewed en route in 12 days, especially with a film crew in tow. Moreover she gave no real indication as to how tough the walk was going to be. Buyer beware:)

The last observation here is that both AW and JB would spend some days sat in cafes drinking tea whilst the rain pelted down. It just isn’t safe to go out on some of the hills if visibility is poor or non existent. Lethal in fact.

The problem here is that old AW would just go out on nice days as he lived a short drive away and in any case talked in terms of arranging the next night’s accommodation the day before or even on the day of the walk. This is not practical when you are on a timetable with accommodation booked and paid for months in advance. The coast to coast walk is so popular now that places get booked up very quickly. We spoke to ca couple of ladies, Alison and Betty who had tried to book the Lion in last December but it was full. great place to spend the night though so no wonder.

The rainy day alternatives can be a very long way round (eg Patterdale to Shap) and in some cases there are no obvious ones.

first aid kit

Essentials – lots of Compeed blister plasters and/or Duoderm blister treatment second skin. Plenty of spare sports tape or medical tape (and scissors) – these blister packs come off easily in the boot and need strapping down. Safety pins for popping blisters – the theory is that you leave them untouched but a fluid laden blister can be really sore in a boot. Antiseptic ointment (Savlon), Vaseline for places that can get sore when rubbed together – I lashed it on in spades and it did the job. Deep heat for sore muscle relief. Paracetamol and ibuprofen – I had really sore feet an they seemed to help plus I had a toothache at the start of the walk and the drugs seemed to take that pain away. I’d also pack Voltarol pain relief cream or gel for the feet and also some Arnica cream for bruise relief. Finally don’t forget sun tan lotion and after sun.

Oh and by the way. Nothing to do with first aid per se but take a roll of toilet paper with you in a plastic bag… It’s a top tip.

map reading

The coast to coast walk whilst signposted in many places cannot be done without constant reference to a map which needs to be readily accessible – we used a map case hung around the neck. We also used a compass, at least several times a day. If the weather turns bad this is even more important especially on the moors where there are few landmarks.

I also subscribed to Ordnance Survey Online and pre planned the route for each day making each one available offline. If we were unsure of our position we would whip the phone out to check. The GPS would tell us if we were even a few feet off the planned route. It was brilliant.

You shouldn’t rely on the phone though as the battery won’t last all day when using GPS. I carried two spare external phone charger although I dispensed with the weight of the second after a few days as one was enough.

I bought a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge specifically for the walk as it is waterproof. The heavy rain on Day 1 however made the phone next to useless an the screen would respond to each raindrop as if I was pressing icons. I also dropped it in the wet slippery conditions smashing the glass on the back. That’s £630 worth of dog and bone!

The phone wouldn’t charge in the wet – the os detects moisture in the connector and stops it.

On day 2 I left the phone in a dry bag in my day sack only getting it out for essential purposes and using a GoPro in a waterproof case for pics and vids. After day 3 I resorted to carrying the phone in my pocket wrapped up in a merino wool buff to keep away moisture (sweat mostly). I took 25GB worth of pics and vids which would not have been so easy had I had to stop and get the phone out f the bag each time. The Edge is a brilliant phone.

A few people en route commented that they thought the Wainwright Coast to Coast should be better signposted and be made a National Route. I’d be against this. Some of the adventure is in having to find your way. Too many sign posts would be a dumbing down and becoming a National Route would also result in a lot more paving going down.

Mind you I’m all in favour of zipwires taking you across deep valleys and obviating the need to go down one side and up the other. One long zipwire from coast to coast would also work but I suspect be impractical and I suppose counter to the spirit of the game 🙂

I’m going to talk about kit in another post. But I hope this coast to coast walk advice helps you in putting together your plans for your trip.

Coast to Coast walk Day 12 – the finishing line

Coast to Coast walk Day 12 – Glaisdale to Robin Hood’s Bay

Follow the final day here.

Coast to coast walk Day 12 is apparently one of real mixed emotions. We will be excited to have completed our challenge but also disappointed that the walk is over. This was succinctly put by Alfred Wainwright when he compared the coast to coast walk with the Pennine Way. “I finished the Pennine Way with relief, the Coast to coast with regret” .

The last day is not a short one. We pass through Grosmont and its steam railway – I once saw the Sir Nigel Gresley A4 Pacific in the station there and have the steepest climb of the walk to get out of the village. A killer it would appear. After that we have a long day headed towards the coast. Our wives are coming to meet us at some point along this route. It will be great to see them 🙂

I am also looking forwards to the celebrations in Robin Hood’s Bay although whether any of us will be in a fit state to do anything is another issue.

Update

Wearily took our time to stroll down into RHB after a footsore (again) day. Called into Grosmont to see the steam trains and had a can of pop and a kit kat. Then the worst climb of the trip – 1 in 3 out of town. Was pleased to say I did it without stopping. Just took it easy.

Fantastic welcoming committee at the pub in RHB. Anne, Sue and Anna Agius and Stu and Jezzer. Very emotional now we’ve finished.

Tom has cramp in his leg – just picked it up on the way down into RHB. In consequence we are going to eat in the Victoria Hotel opposite the B&B to save the walk down into the village again. This does give us the problem of how to communicate this with the Canadians and the Dutch who I said we’d meet at the Wainwright Bar. Will see what I can do to message them. I have Paul’s email address.

starting B&B The Arncliffe Arms, 1 Glaisedale Terrace, Glaisdale, YO21 2QL
forecast/actual km  29.55/2149 – cut off the hedland in the interest of time
forecast/actual time  9h 09min/8h 15min
weather  cloudy with sunny spells – hazy so couldn’t see the sea
Elevation up/down m  747/578
breakfast  fry up at Arndale Arms – pretty average
lunch  cheese & pickle sandwich, cheese and onion crisps, mars bar and an orange
dinner
finishing B&B Raven House, Victoria Terrace RHB YO22 4RJaLink to Coast to Coast walk Day 12 Photo Album.

 

Coast to Coast walk Day 11 – we are staying at the Arncliffe Arms

Coast to Coast walk Day 11 – Clay Bank Top to Glaisdale

Track today’s walk live.

Day 11 of our Coast to Coast walk is another long one with the added attraction of the Lion Inn en route for a spot of lunch. We are also staying at another pub, the Arncliffe Arms.

I quite like the idea of arriving at our destination then rolling downstairs for food and drink.

Update

Got dropped off at the Clay Bank Top car park just after 8. Only just made it through the road works before they closed the road. The Dutch, Leo and Sandra, and Canadians, Paul and Lori, were setting off at the same time. The walk starts with a steep climb here and we were soon outpaced by the pros.

At the top we saw a grouse, the first of many. Poor buggers being lined up for sport.

It was a long and dreary walk. The moors are pretty featureless. We made the Lion Inn at noon and the Agius’ followed at 12.25 – despite only having started at 10.15.They are faster walkers.

We had an hour’s break for lunch and headed out again. Still a long way to go. Made it to the Arncliffe Arms at 5.30ish. An hour later than the others. The accommodation isn’t up to much.

starting B&B West Cote, Chop Gate TS9 7JF
forecast/actual km  29.47/29.78
forecast/actual time  8h 36min/9h 14min
weather  sunny but hazy so couldn’t see the sea from the moors
forecast/actual ascent m  424.6/525
breakfast  Dorset muesli & regional cheese board with toast
lunch  hot beef roll and chips at the Lion Inn
dinner  garlic mushrooms and lasagna
finishing B&B The Arncliffe Arms, 1 Glaisedale Terrace, Glaisdale, YO21 2QL

 

 

Coast to Coast Day 10 – Ingleby Cross to Clay Bank Top

Coast to Coast Day 10 – Ingleby Cross to Clay Bank Top

Track our route live

Coat to coast day 10, whilst relatively short in distance does involve a reasonably hefty climb and hence I’ve added a little more to our forecast time taken. This is also the only place where our accommodation is not directly on the route. There is nowhere to stay at Clay Bank Top and we have to prearrange a pickup from a car park which is in the middle of nowhere where there is no mobile signal. I could of course suggest to the B&B people that they could follow our progress using the live tracking. Maybe I will 🙂

Update

Quite a pleasant walk today with some soreness of foot but heels not as bad as previous days. Gave the blisters an airing last night and redid the plasters this morning.

Last night I called ahead to West Cote B&B as instructed and Judy the landlady offered to pop into town and buy me some Arnica cream. An ice bath and an application of crea later and we shall see whether it has any effect. She also resupplied us with tape and compeed.

Local knowledge is a great thing. The locals in Ingleby Arncliffe considered day 10’s walk to be a seriously hard one. Last night’s B&B folk (Pat and Maurice) showed us a route that took us around the first big climb and ended up being slightly shorter. We also walked directly to West Cote from the Coast to Coast route as opposed to being picked up from Clay Bank Top car park. It was the same distance but took away the need for Stuart to come and pick us up by car. He is going to ferry us back to the path tomorrow morning.

At the junction of the coast to coast path and the road to the B&B there was a cafe called Lordstones where we found it convenient to eat our lunch on their picnic tables. I consumed a jug of iced blackcurrant squash.

The B&B is in a lovely spot next to a working farm. I see lambs, hens and horses in front of me plus a great muck heap to the side. It’s v pleasant sat on the deck writing this update. Judy the landlady is a lovely person and is off tonight to a committee meeting of the riding for the disabled charity.

Starting B&B Ingleside, Ingleby Arncliffe Northallerton DL6 3LN
Forecast/Actual km  18.51/15.36
forecast/actual time  8h/5h (avoided first big climb by walking around it)
weather  overcast but warmish – base layer only for most of walk
forecast/actual ascent m  883.3/354
breakfast  fruit & fibre & 2 bacon sandwiches – did the job fair play & I wasn’t expecting 2 sarnies
lunch  cheese and pickle, scone and butter, banana & piece of cake
dinner
finishing B&B West Cote, Chop Gate TS9 7JF

 

Coast to Coast walk Day 9 – 23 mile monster

Coast to Coast walk Day 9 – Richmond to Ingleby Cross

Coast to Coast walk day 9 is the longest from a miles covered perspective with a trudge between the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorks Moors. At the start of this day we are two thirds of the way to the coast.

Richmond by the way is where I bought my walking boots. The AltBerg factory shop is a fantastic spot and a go to place for serious walkers.

Update

We made this a slightly easier day for us by walking some of the miles the day before after we had arrived at Richmond. We met old pal Phippo and his mum Val at the Crown in Broughton on Swale (not sure of the name of the village – keep forgetting it – name of pub is right 🙂 and he gave us a lift back to Richmond.

Taxi picked us up from Willance House at 7am the next day and dropped us off where we had ended the previous one. It was a good job we started early. It was a beautifully cool morning in contrast with the rest of the day which got hot and airless.

Initially it was quite a pleasant walk through mixed farmland and country lanes. There were plenty of new birds to see and a site of scientific interest on the verge that had some yellow flowers that I had seen the day before but never before.

As we moved into arable country the trudge through fields and farm tracks was a long one and hard on the feet. For a long time we saw few people although we did meet a foursome coming the other way who were doing the walk East to west in 19 days – far more sensible. The night before they had stayed at the B&B we were using for the night. We met them at a picnic bench near a farm where the farmer had left a cool box of lucozade sports with an honesty box to leave £1.60.

Slow going as my feet were still hurting.

lots more to say. will update later

A couple of miles out from Ingleby Arncliffe we stopped for a breather and began to be caught up by some of the others we had bumped into on the walk. The two ladies, the Dutch couple Leo and Sandra and our Canadian friends Paul and Lori. Bear in mind we had an early start but were slower walkers than most. (This is down to me and my sore feet!)

We carried on in the company of Paul and Lori picking up the pace a bit after our rest stop. A Cliff Bar and an apple boosted my reserves. The last notable “incident” was the crossing of the A19. This was unbelievably dangerous. A real game of chicken. You wonder why they don’t build a footbridge. There must be tens of thousands of people crossing that road every year.

Our B&B was conveniently on the route into the village and run by a nice retired couple called Pat and Maurice. We waved goodbye to the Canadians who had a little further to go. Paul gave me some ibuprofen gel (Voltarol) to try on my sore feet.

Having showered and removed the bandages from my blisters we sauntered down to the Bluebell Pub – Ajax and Luke happened to be just outside our B&B when we went out. They were staying at a farm some way down the road & not massively enamoured with it.

The two ladies and the Dutch couple were in the pub. Prawn Cocktail, Steak & Chios and a cheesecake washed down with lager and red wine and then to bed.

starting B&B Willance House, 24 Frenchgate Richmond DL10 7AG
forecast/actual km  35.18/ forgot to switch on runkeeper and found later via email that the batteries on my Pangea tracker needed replacing (did next morning) so will have to stick with the forecast version. remember we did 5 miles or so of today’s walk yesterday
forecast/actual time  8h 26mins/ 11hrs +
weather  hot – poss hottest day of year so far. not enough breeze on the hot dusty farm tracks
forecast/actual ascent m  245.7/
breakfast  bacon sandwich, fruit and yoghurt
lunch  ham sandwich, cereal bar & apple (didn’t eat the carrot)
dinner prawn cocktail, steak and chips, cheesecake, lager, red wine
finishing B&B Ingleside, Ingleby Arncliffe Northallerton DL6 3LN

 

Coast to Coast walk Day 8 – Reeth to Richmond

Coast to Coast walk Day 8 – Reeth to Richmond

Follow today’s progress here.

Day 8 of the Coast to Coast walk and we are into our second week. I already feel like a veteran. This is another relatively short day where we can finish early in Richmond to chill out a little and maybe get some washing done. There is a high road and a low road option here. I’ve gone for the high road based on reckoning I’ll be getting a little fitter by this stage but we shall see.

Update

The Manse B&B was best seen so far. Great room and everything high class.

Hot day for our walk. We started at 9. Luke and Ajax started an hour later but caught us up just before Richmond. Heat was strength sapping. I wore short sleeved base layer and regretted not using long sleeves.

Water just about lasted until Richmond. Tom and I continued for another few miles to meet Phippo and his mum Val at a pub called the Crown. Idea was to make a start on tomorrow’s walk so that we weren’t doing 22 miles in one day. Promises to be another hot one tomorrow. Had dinner with Phippo and Val at a pizza place round the corner from the B&B. Phippo v generously paid.

We are in bed at 8.25 having set our alarms for 6. Bacon sandwich ordered for 6.30. Taxi at 7 to take us to where we finished off today. Willance House B&B also v high standard. Apparently oldest house in Richmond (circa 1400)

starting B&B The Manse, Reeth DL11 6SN
forecast/actual km  16.93/17.47
forecast/actual time  6h 4min/5h 28min
weather scorching hot
forecast/actual ascent m  408.9/306
breakfast  full eng with fried bread – v good
lunch  pork pie & 1 litre of milk
dinner  ribs starter,diavolo pizza (not hot enough) & tiramisu
finishing B&B Willance House, 24 Frenchgate Richmond DL10 7AG