Whilst I may still add some retrospective detail to my Day 12 (final day) post, not least because I met some inspiring Americans at Intake Farm who deserve a mention, this is intended to be my final new post on this CtoC blog. As such I will try and cover the remainder of my afterthoughts.

I’ve left writing this post at least a week, because I’ve had quite mixed feelings, and I wanted to mull over things for a few days first.

The first thing to say is that – no question – this is a superbly conceived walk, which passes through a fantastic range of scenery. From the high fells and open moorland plains, to delightful little valleys, streams and woods, this walk has it all. It’s easy to see why this has become such an internationally renowned path.

My own personal favourite days were when the scenery was more ‘local’ in nature; I found I enjoyed the small villages, the lead mines, the smaller secluded valleys (Nannycatch springs to mind) and indeed the quiet woodland paths as much as anything. Chris Jesty’s recommended walk up to Measland Forces was well also worth the small detour. And, given my other hobbies, it was perhaps not surprising that I also found the Coastal elements a real highlight.

The main emotions I had on reaching RHB were mainly ones of relief rather than achievement – which is interesting given that Wainwright wrote about regret when finishing the CtoC, but relief for the Pennine Way. There was no regret for me, in fact I didn’t even hang around in RHB very long, more than anything else at that point I wanted to be home. And the relief I felt was not because of the nature of the walk itself; I believe it had everything to do with having finally put to bed all those years where the previous failures hung around my neck.

And even that relief has been slightly tempered by a gnawing thought that, to do this walk properly, I should have taken camping gear. I suspect this is a legacy of all the multi-day longer walks I’ve done in the past, which almost without exception involved carrying tents etc. It almost seemed like cheating to be spending up to 8 hrs each day out in the (occasionally harsh) elements, but then reverting to all the conveniences and luxuries that modern life has to offer for the other 16 hours.

So, did I enjoy it? Yes, definitely, but not as much as I’d expected. And certainly not enough to make me want to get out there in the near future and do something similar. I probably get the same overall levels of personal achievement from setting faster times when running, and I’ve realised it’s actually more rewarding when your efforts help your kids achieve something worthwhile.  And neither of these obviously require long weeks away from the family. So whatever walking trips etc I do get around to next will definitely involve the kids. (So watch out girls, you have been warned!)

Given the circumstances outlined above, ten full and two half-days walking was about right for me. Any shorter and I might have struggled; even now, a week after finishing, my feet still feel somewhat tired / bruised. But if you do have the luxury of time, allow yourself a fortnight. There’s plenty I’d have liked to stop and explore, but didn’t really have the chance.

I’ll save any future long distance walks for when I’m newly retired – which was indeed the exact situation of many of the folk I met en-route. The trick will be staying fit enough in the mean-time…

For the record, here’s the accommodation I used, listed in preference (overall enjoyment) order, favourite first: Grasmere YH; Keld Lodge; Swan House (Nr Ingleby Cross); Intake Farm (Littlebeck); Lion Inn; Brookfield House (Shap);  Bridgedown House (Richmond); Black Sail Hut YH; Patterdale YH; Parkside Hotel (Cleator Moor); Kirkby Stephen Hostel. I am slowly adding more comprehensive reviews of each of these to the main Walking Places Forum:


I’m not a huge fan of those B&Bs where you feel like you’re staying in someone else’s house –  in these I tended to go out else hide myself away in my room. I prefer the freedoms and facilities of hostels and pubs, and would concentrate my efforts on finding more of those next(?) time.

Many thanks to everyone who has read this blog, and particularly for all of the kind comments. I’m still aware I owe one or two people more personal replies, which I’ll also belatedly try and catch up on.

Finally, a pleasing footnote is that I’ve heard that Andy from Richmond and ‘the Brothers’ – who together formed the main ‘bubble’ I was in for a few days – also all finished the walk. Well done to you all!



This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 at 20:53 and is filed under Afterthoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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