Introduction

Welcome to our coast to coast blog. The intention is to update this as we wend our merry way across the country so anyone who wishes to, can see how we are getting on with all our ups and downs.

As a way of introduction, I’m a 50 something father of 2, living in Selby. One of the 2, Kieran, is 16 and has just finished his GCSE’S.

I completed the coast to coast a few years ago coast to coast journal and have completed other LDP’s and thought it would be a good idea to do a bit of father and son bonding by doing the coast to coast walk again. I was very surprised when he agreed to do it with me but also very pleased. It will make a change from playing cricket together for the mighty Selby although he’s a far better player than I ever will be.

Having decided to do the walk, I suggested we try to raise some money for charity and although he wanted to raise money for himself!! he agreed. It would be great if you could support is by donating using the just giving page.

So we are now less than a month away from setting off and I’m getting a little excited and a bit nervous.

I’ve tried to make sure that the blog follows in date order, however in order to do this, I’ve had to make the latest post older. Therefore, when you get to the end of Day 6, go to the foot of the page and click on “older posts” and this will take you to Day 7 and onwards. Sorry for the confusion.

I’ll post our itinerary soon and what training we’ve done which is very little I’m afraid. Below is a pic of Kieran at his prom last week.

20130710-163751.jpg

Training

In order to do a 200 mile walk over 13 days you need to have a reasonable level of fitness right?

Well, yes you do and having done it before I can vouch for that. The plan was to go out at weekends and do 12/15 mile walks to get some miles in the legs. Best laid plans and all that mean that I’ve only managed to get out once do far. Very nice it was too, a 12 mile walk from Buckden taking in Horsehead and Firth Fell out of Litton and down Old Cote Moor back to Buckden. So 2 x 2000 foot hills to give the legs a blast.

20130716-171514.jpg

20130716-171543.jpg

I’ve also been attending Jamie Broughton’s boot camp at 6.15am 3 times a week which will hopefully help a bit. Jamie got fed up of getting up so early so now Danny runs it and makes us work harder the bugger.

Kieran of course with the confidence of youth, reckons he doesn’t need to as he’ll boss it and me! Lets wait and see eh!

Itinerary

Here is our intended itinerary for our trip if anyone cares to join us. You will be very welcome. Day 1 is Wednesday 7th August 2013.

Day 1 – Selby to St. Bees by train – Abbey farm house B & B.

Day 2 – St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge – 14 miles -The Cloggers B & B.

Day 3 – Ennerdale Bridge to Stonethwaite – 16 miles – Knotts View B & B.

Day 4 – Stonethwaite to Grasmere – 8 miles – Glenthorne Guest House.

Day 5 – Grasmere to Patterdale – 8 miles – White Lion Inn.

Day 6 – Patterdale to Shap – 17 miles – Brookfield Guest house

Day 7 – Shap to Kirkby Stephen – 20 miles – Fletcher House B & B.

Day 8 – Kirkby Stephen to Keld – 12 miles – Keld Lodge.

Day 9 – Keld to Reeth – 11 miles – Hackney House B & B.

Day 10 – Reeth to Catterick – 14 miles- St. Giles Farm.

Day 11 – Catterick to Ingleby Cross – 20 miles- Elstavale B & B.

Day 12 – Ingleby Cross to Great Broughton – 12 miles – Wainstones Hotel.

Day 13 – Great Broughton to Glaisdale – 19 miles – Arncliffe Arms.

Day 14 – Glaisdale to Robin Hood’s Bay – 19 miles – Home.

Oh dear

Have hit a bit of a snag. While playing cricket for the mighty Selby 4th team, I was taking a “quick” single when I felt a twinge at the back of my leg. Thought nothing of it but when I set off for another found out it hurt. A lot! I’d pulled my hamstring and had to have a runner for the rest of my innings (29, top score thank you for asking). I couldn’t move in the field (even less than normal) and we lost so not a great day.

More importantly, it’s only 4 days before we set off on a 200 mile walk so a dodgy hamstring is not great. No thoughts of cancelling though. May have to see physio and take lots of pain killers with me.

Must remember I’m 54 not 24!!!!

Day 1 – Selby to St. Bees – 7th August 2013

If the rest of the trip is as good as today, we are in for a good time.

The day didn’t start too well. My decision to have 1 bag for the 2 of us was not the best idea. It’s far too big and I’ve brought too much stuff.

Worse than that, when we got to the station, I realised that I’d forgotten Kieran’s railcard. Janine made a valiant attempt to go back for it but made the wrong decision to go through town and got stuck at the level crossing. She just got back to the station when we pulled out. Much debate with the guard and Janine got the station staff to photo copy the card and gave the number to ring for any guard to ring to prove we had a card. The Leeds guard let us off and talking to the guard before we set off from Leeds and Carlisle did the trick.

20130807-212958.jpg

20130807-213036.jpg

So we arrived ok in Leeds and made the connection for the train to Carlisle. With the weather set fair, it was a lovely journey up, going through some of my favourite places. How they ever thought of closing this line god only knows. The stations now look great and the train was busy. I know it’s sad but going over Ribblehead is still a thrill.

20130807-213508.jpg

20130807-213540.jpg

20130807-213610.jpg

Best of all, when we got to Carlisle, there was a double header charter steam train with 2 black fives (I think). Well the day was just getting better.

20130807-213904.jpg

20130807-213932.jpg

We had an hour to kill before our connection to st bees so we had a cup of tea and a cake. I’ve never been on this line before so was looking forward to it. More so when we set off and it didn’t have the welded track so still had the clickty clack of old. Also, some stations were requested stops so only stopped there if you told the guard. Never heard of that before. The last bit was along the coast past RL strongholds of Workington and Whitehaven.

So we lugged the oversize case to our B & B, Abbey House Farm, which is lovely. We went for a walk down to the beach and walked along it. It was a beautiful evening and Kieran couldn’t resist exploring the rock pools. It was like been on holiday again. We reminisced about previous hols in France where he spent a lot of time exploring the rock pools. We headed into town and went to one of the pubs for tea. Kieran had his first pie of the trip and it was a proper pie i.e. short crust pastry top and bottom and not a stew with a puff pastry lid added at the end. That is lazy and is not a pie. Anyway, I had a Thai red curry and very nice it was too.

Just winding down now and getting ready for tomorrow. Have ordered smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for breaky. Kieran has gone for the full English as he aims to have one every day. Not sure I could do that.

So, we start tomorrow. The weather looks ok so 15 miles tomorrow. Will hopefully update after we finish.

Day 2 – St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge. 8th August 201:

According to Map My Walk, we walked 16.23 miles and burned 2763 calories. How many pints and pies is that? Also the height gain was 4900 feet which is a lot. No wonder our legs ached.

There’s no Wifi here or 3G so will publish with photos when I can. There’s wifi in the pub so yeah.

Breakfast was very good and we can highly recommend Abbey House Farm B&B. You got fluffy towel dressing gowns so what’s not to like. It did all the little things very well.

So today was our big set off. We did the boot dipping, picked our pebble, had our photo taken with our Barrett Steel t shirts, took the photos of another group who were embarking on the Coast to Coast and set off up the cliffs. It’s a 300′ climb to the top of the cliffs, so not easy but once up there, straight forward. On the cliff top, the book says that a seat was “the loneliest seat on the walk” but thankfully the group that set off at the same time as us were keeping it company, so I took a pic. It was a lovely morning and it’s a lovely start to the walk even though you are walking 3 miles in the wrong direction before turning in land.

We were soon in Sandwith and successfully negotiated a tricky bit where many go wrong. We went to Moor Row along the old railway passing the working men’s club where me and Dale had such a “fun” time last time I did it. As it was lunch time and we were passing the local bakery we decided to call in. Smashing little place. They had some super home made pies and cakes but as we had our packed lunches we just got a caramel shortbread and a drink. As there was no where to sit, the lady in the shop lent us 2 deck chairs so we could sit outside the shop. We looked a right pair of numpties and got some strange looks but it was fun. When we set off, I left my walking poles but luckily just when I realised, a guy who was in the shop at the same time as us, pulled up in his car. He had chased after us with my poles and just caught up with us. Very kind thing to do so thank you.

We went passed Cleator cricket ground which looked very nice, passed the shop which had no pies and started our climb of Dent Hill. Kieran came into his own and galloped up the hill. I of course, didn’t gallop up the hill. Still I got there in the end and the views were great. We could see where we had come from and ahead of us the hills of the Lake District. Far better than last time I was there. We made our way down the stupidly steep descent down to Nannycatch valley and followed the valley round. We eventually hit the main road and made our way down to Ennerdale.

We found out that our planned dinner venue, the Shepherd’s Arms, was closed as it was flooded on Monday, so we’ll have to eat at the Fox and Hounds. The landlord at our B & B, The Cloggers, has kindly booked us a table as it’s the only place in the village to eat.

It’s official my 1 bag strategy is an epic fail as it’s too heavy, so I have to off load some stuff in a bag provided by the landlord. Bad me. Oh well.

So it’s been a super day, weather perfect and a lovely walk. Tomorrow, is another hard day with our steepest climb yet up Loft Beck. Also, we hope to meet up with Karen, Matt and Mike Aka the young hostellers ( though not as young now) who we met last time. They are walking the other way from Honister so we should bump into them somewhere between Loft Beck and Honister. Should be another good day.

20130808-192541.jpg

20130808-192559.jpg

20130808-192622.jpg

20130808-192650.jpg

20130808-192704.jpg

20130808-192718.jpg

20130808-192725.jpg

20130808-192741.jpg

20130808-192819.jpg

20130808-192829.jpg

20130808-192901.jpg

20130808-192913.jpg

20130808-192925.jpg

20130808-192935.jpg

20130808-192946.jpg

20130808-192957.jpg

Day 3 – Ennerdale Bridge to Stonethwaite – 9th August 2013

Apparently today we walked 16.75 miles, climbed 4891 feet, used up 2897 calories which from now on will be called beer and pie points.

We ate in the Fox and Hounds last night as there was nowhere else. It was ok and they had the local brew on which was passable. Our landlord had had a bad experience there once so had a bit of a downer on it but we found it reasonable. It is a community run pub which has to be applauded and good luck to them.

Sherpa wanted me to take some stuff out of my bag as it was too heavy so had de-camp some stuff into another bag.

Anyway, onto today. First full day in the lakes and it was at times tedious and at others very hard. Thankfully, the heavy over night rain had cleared by the time we set off but the cloud was still covering the tops. The forecast was for the day to improve so we hoped by the time we went up Loft Beck it would clear. It also forecast a shower at 11.00am.

The first part of the walk takes you round Ennerdale water and we debated whether to take the north or the south route. The north being longer but dryer, the south shorter but with a higher chance of raging streams to cross after last night’s rain. We decided on short and wet. All went well until we reached Robin Hood’s Chair, a rocky out crop you need to scamble over. At the top, I thought I’d take a nice shot of the lake but one of my poles fell over the edge and it was impossible to get it without risking life and limb. Silly old me. They were a prezzie too. Still got one though.

Once at the end of the lake, we planned to take the northern path to Black Sail YHA but it was closed due to forestry work so we had to double back and take the southern path. This bit was the tedious bit not helped by Kieran’s hunger pangs and not believing me saying that Black Sail was just around the corner, over the next brow etc. We eventually arrived and tucked into our pack up and made use of the facilities for tea. We talked to a couple of guys who had passed us who took our photo with our Barrett Steel shirts on. Another couple came past and to our surprise didn’t stop. They also took the wrong path away from the hut as did the guys and were too far away for is to call them back. Luckily we had Keegy the navigator who got us on the right path towards Loft Beck. This looked as steep as I remember and Kirean shot off up. I didn’t. We were pleased to see the the no lunch people and the guys were back on route. I could see 2 people at the top and thought I’d never get up there. Then I spotted someone coming down and realised it was our friend Matt and the two at the top were Karen and Mike who sensibly decided not to go down to come back a steep 2000′ climb.

Anyway, I eventually made it to the top to be rewarded with some fine views. It was great too see Team Beer again (with Kieran replacing Dale as a trainee member). We stopped for a cup of tea and cake at Honister Slate mine cafe (no caramel shortbread. Scandalous!) eventually making our way into Stonethwaite. The Hostellers are unsurprisingly stopping at Borrowdale YHA while we are at Knotts View B & B a small traditional B & B. Sherpa have provided me with a bag to put my stuff in which is good. Also, it is shared facilities here and me and a fellow guest were needing a shower at the same time. As he was going out for 6.39 and said he would shower in 7 mins I couldn’t argue with such precision and relented. He was true to his word so hats off to precision showering.

Off to meet Karen et al in a mo for a few beers and a meal at The Langstrath.

Back from the pub and it was a good evening. Nice food, beer, company and what has now become our traditional whiskey tasting session.

The only problem was that nobody knew the cricket score and what was worse, nobody seemed to care. Outrageous! As we are in a dead zone as far as mobile signal goes and no wifi we are still no wiser. Hopefully we can find out during the day as we get out of the valley.

Will post this when I can.

20130810-153924.jpg

20130810-153938.jpg

20130810-154112.jpg

20130810-154130.jpg

20130810-154154.jpg

20130810-154212.jpg

20130810-154227.jpg

20130810-154259.jpg

Day 4 – Stonethwaite to Grasmere – 10th August 2013

Today my walking app thing says we walked 8.96 miles, gained 3343′ in height reaching a high point of 2100′ and earned 1806 beer and pie points.

Today is the fairly short up and over day from Stonethwaite to Grasmere. We met up with Karen, Mike and Matt who were staying in the youth hostel of course and set off on the steady climb out of Borrowdale. As we climbed, the views looking back were fantastic. We passed a nice couple we keep bumping into and had a quick chat. We are not sure but we think they are Dutch. Eagle Crag loomed to our right as the climb got steeper as we reached the top of Lining Crag. This provided a chance for photos and for Kieran to ring home to check on the cricket score. The landlady had kindly found out this morning and it wasn’t good news. However, at this point Australia were 76-4 so better news.

After Lining Crag, we continued onto Greenup Edge where we had to decide whether to take the high route or low route. The weather was perfect, so we quickly decided on the high route. The route was pretty clear. Kieran was mythering for his lunch as usual so we stopped at a suitable place. After lunch, we continued along the ridge towards Helm Crag which has a “lovely” steep climb to finish on. The views down to Grasmere however were spectacular so more photo ops.

With it being a Saturday, it was pretty busy up there, including a man with a pick. We did consider whistling hi ho but decided against. Following him, came more people with shovels and we thought it would be funny if there were 7 if them. Unfortunately there were 10 of them so that ruined the joke a bit.

An easy walk down into Grasmere and our digs, The Glenthorne Guest House. I stopped here before with Dale and it is quite an unusual place. It is run by Quakers, so we were told we were booked for dinner bed and breakfast and everyone ate together. I told them I didn’t want dinner but they said I had to as it was a weekend and they don’t do single nights just B & B. When I said we were seeing friends they said fine and would knock the price off. Also, breaky was at 8.30 and we had to all had to eat together. They did serve tea and cake in the lounge at 4.30 which was very
nice. Rooms good also. Ensuite, so no landing dashes today ( or fluffy dressing gowns unfortunately).

Went into Grasmere to get a replacement stick and Kieran got some Grasmere ginger bread.

Meeting Karen et al at 6 to go into the village for food as it will be busy.

Tomorrow another short up and over day. Will publish with photos when I get wifi.

20130810-222805.jpg

20130810-222819.jpg

20130810-222843.jpg

20130810-222903.jpg

20130810-222918.jpg

20130810-222934.jpg

20130810-222945.jpg

20130810-222959.jpg

Day 5 – Grasmere to Patterdale – 11th August 2013

Today apparently, we walked 8.81 miles, gained 3000′ in height, reached a high point of 1995′ and earned 1569 beer and pie points.

It was another short up and over day today, leaving the tourist honey pot of Grasmere, climbing out of the valley and down into Patterdale. There is an option to do one of 2 high routes, either Helvelyn and Striding Edge or St Sunday Crag or we could do neither and just follow the valley. Much would depend on the weather.

As mentioned before, we were stopping at the Glenthorne B & B which is also a Quaker retreat which meant that there was no set places and we all had to eat together which I really enjoyed. We were talking to a nice couple and sister/in law and it made a nice change. I’ve not given any ratings for breaky yet but have received requests so this one was a 4/5. Only 1 ration of bacon, scrambled egg, bit of tomato and mushroom. No black pudding and not much of it. Best one so far has been the first one.

The weather unfortunately was not as good and it was raining as we met up with Karen, Mike and Matt. We went into Grasmere for our lunch and got a pasty, caramel shortbread and D & B.

We set off in the rain but it started to clear. It was going to be one of those on/off days with the waterproofs. When we reached Tongue Beck, we decided to take the slightly less steep right hand route and slowly (in my case) made our way up. On the way up we passed the could be Dutch couple who it turns out are German (close). They are a nice couple and make me feel better as they are slower than me so I can pass them thinking ” oooooh I’m rapid” I’m not of course.

When we reached Grisedale Tarn we had to say bye to The Hostellers. Matt is going to be a dad in January so the very best for him and Tracey and Karen and Mike tie the knott in November so best of luck to them. Sometimes I feel I’ve seen they grow up as they reach these life milestones. Nice people and will look forward to seeing them again soon. So we took a photo or one of the guys from the group we saw in St Bees did and bade our farewells.

20130811-154250.jpg

We now had to decide which route to take. The other group (must think of a name for them) decided to go via St Sunday Crag but looking at the weather, which was closing in again and the wind was getting up, so we decided to play safe and go down the valley. We stopped for lunch at the outward bound hut and I managed to leave my hat. Not doing well this trip! I have another with me.

We soon reached the valley bottom where there were lots of sheep. Mainly Dales and/or Swaledales including one who was stood on a wall and looked funny.

As we neared Patterdale, there were some nice views of Ulswater and some scary looking cows.

We arrived at The White Lion about 2pm, settled in and inspected the store for tomorrow’s lunch including the caramel shortbread. Kieran has come up with a rating system for caramel shortbread. This would be based on:

1. Proportion – of shortbread to caramel /chocolate

2. Quality of caramel

3. Quality of chocolate

The benchmark is the one from the cafe in Horton in Ribblesdale which has now reached legendary status. Today’s was a good one and scored 8 on all 3 counts. The Patterdale one will have to be good to beat it.

Just chilling in the room now reading the paper. Will go for tea soon and rest before a tough day tomorrow as we leave the Lake District. The weather doesn’t look too clever either so will probably be another view less day as we reach the highest point on the walk on Kidstey Pike.

Photos taking time to post so will when I can.

20130811-160619.jpg

20130811-160649.jpg

20130811-160710.jpg

Day 6 – Patterdale to Shap – 12th August 2013

Today we walked 17.45 miles, gained 5800′ in height, reached a high point of 2618′ at Kidstey Pike and earned 3042 beer and pie points.

I’m struggling to pick up wifi so sorry if this is a little late being posted.

I was not looking forward to today as I knew it was a long and draining day.

It started well with a good breakfast, best so far according to Kieran but he’s still hankering for black pudding. We got packed up and left about 9ish and called in the store to stock up. We bought some caramel shortbread as Julia Bradbury had said it was the best. We will see!

We got off at about 9.15 and the weather forecast was mixed and started the long haul out of Patterdale. As we climbed there were some fantastic views of Ulswater and St Sunday Crag where there was some mountain rescue activity yesterday when someone got stuck head first and had to be cut out. A reminder how dangerous hill walking can be.

We kept getting a shower as we climbed to Boredale Hause and Angle Tarn which looked lovely despite the weather. We plodded on upwards towards The Knott and onwards to the top of Kidstey Pike. Unlike last time, it was clear at the top and as this was the highest point on the Coast to Coast it demanded a Barrett Steel moment, so we got the t shirts out for a photo.

We could see behind the group of 4 we now call The Bertie’s as they are a group of Allsorts and we couldn’t think of a suitable name. We hadn’t seen Michael and Diana. I hope they are ok.

We continued down the very steep descent to our lunch spot at the bottom near a pretty waterfall. Seemed others had the same idea including The Bertie’s and a Geordie couple. We were the first to break camp and continued along Hawswater. The book said there was a stupidly steep climb and it wasn’t wrong. After that, it was a fairly routine walk to the end of the reservoir and the village of Burnbanks. We had a Mars bar break on the Green before completing the last few miles to Shap. As we passed Shap Abbey we were nearly there.

The contrast between the lakes and the farm land after the end of Hawswater is marked. There’s no doubt that the lakes are well and truly behind us now. We saw a lovely herd of Belted Galloways. Pretty cows.

The bad news was that our B & B was at the very end of the town which added about a mile to the walk. We passed the infamous Fell House where I stayed last time with Dale and the Hostellers. It was terrible, raw breakfast, forgotten pack lunches etc. we still talk about it now so I took a photo for old times sake. It’s not a B & B anymore and getting renovated by the looks. We got here at about 5.30 and got a warm welcome from the legendary Margaret at Brookfield who offered to wash our dirty clothes and treated us to tea and still warm scones and almond tarts.

We had dinner at the Greyhound, talking to David who is going as far as Keld as he did the other half last year. We found out that England had won the Test so we had won the series. Yeah go England.

We hoped to see Micheal and Diana but they didn’t show so I suspect they arrived late. They are bound for Orton tomorrow so we’ll not be on the same track. I told them about the cafe that does their own chocolate so I hope they are ok and enjoy the rest of the walk.

Now onto that caramel shortbread. Using Kieran’s rating system:

1. Proportion- 9. Good proportion of shortbread, caramel and chic.

2 quality of caramel – 8 good

3. Quality of choc – 5 – milk choc used which makes it too sweet.

4 Shortbread – 8 good

So not the best Julia, good but let down by the choc.

Also, Kieran has noticed that we always seem to have “pant time” where we lie on our beds, in pants doing stuff like this. On that vision I will leave you.

20130813-180508.jpg

20130813-180527.jpg

20130813-180539.jpg

20130813-180555.jpg

20130813-180609.jpg

20130813-180625.jpg

20130813-180641.jpg

20130813-180652.jpg