Day 15: Epilogue & Final Thoughts

Bags packed at “The Villa”

Back to London

Woke up the next Friday morning and Gabriel and I almost didn’t know what to do with ourselves.  It was the first day in 2 weeks where we didn’t have to get up, eat, gather our gear together, and start walking.  Instead we enjoyed a final evening in a Victorian Bed & Breakfast, a final full English breakfast, and a final goodbye to “the trail”.

The British Museum

Breakfast conversation was unusually good this last morning as well.  There were about 6 others at the table who asked us a number of questions concerning our hike and what we experienced.  I must say I was often asked by the British folk both at this breakfast as well as for the last two weeks some form of the following question, “So, how has Hong Kong changed since the handover?”  My answer would elaborate on areas where Hong Kong hasn’t changed at all as well as areas I feel have changed a fair bit.  Oh, how I do love International discussions…

“Jersey Boys” in the West End
London Olympics 2012!

After breakfast we packed our gear up, ran into Robin Hood’s Bay to get Gabriel a souvenir Coast to Coast T-Shirt, and then caught the bus to Scarborough where we would transfer to a train that would take us on a 3 hour trip back down to London.  We checked into a Travel Lodge hotel in Covent Garden which, I must say, lacked the style and atmosphere of the bed & Breakfasts I had grown accustomed. :)  We had enough time to get showered and changed for our big celebration though.  Two months earlier I had asked Gabriel what West End show he would like to see to celebrate the end of our big adventure.  He responded, “Jersey Boys!”.  So I managed to get two tickets…second row!

What an amazing show.  A perfect and joyful end to what was darn near close to the perfect trip a father son can have.  The next day we toured the British Museum for about 3 hours before we headed out to Heathrow for our flight back to Hong Kong!

Final Thoughts

If you are thinking of tackling the Coast to Coast, here are some things to consider:

* Packhorse was a helpful and reliable company for organizing everything for us.  Find them here:

* A rest day!  Not really needed for a 14 day trip but Gabriel and I said one day where we didn’t have to rush out the door in the morning and could pause to enjoy our surroundings would have been helpful.  Rest day suggestions: Grasmere, Patterdale, Kirkby Stephen, and Richmond

* People for months asked me what training I was doing for the hike. The answer??   I didn’t do any beyond the occasional workouts and runs I do anyhow.  It can be tough in sections for sure but if you are moderately fit and set in your heart you will finish it…you will finish it.

* Having said that make sure you do everything to protect your feet.  Gabriel and I wore liner socks with a good hiking socks over them.  Plus some form of blister relief bandages and creams.  I went blister free for 200 miles by taking care and Gabriel was mostly blister free.

* Enjoy other people!  Probably the most fun he had was the interaction we had with each other and all the wonderful people we met.  Be proactive…introduce yourself and enjoy a laugh, a meal, and some ale with a new friend.

* Navigation:  We chose NOT to use GPS as we wanted this to be an adventure and risk getting lost at times.  If you go sans GPS don’t think you you won’t need a compass…you will! For all intents and purposes we did the whole walk with the Trailblazer “Stedman” guide which has about 100 hand drawn maps…and a compass.

* Talk to God:  Let’s face it, there are ALOT of hours to fill and people are not always around.  God is…and there is perhaps no more beautiful place to chat with Him than in His creation…and if you listen carefully, He tends to speak back :)

* Enjoy!  And if these posts have helped you in any way, leave a comment and let us know!

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About Steve Hackman

This is a blog of my son Gabriel and I's travels across England on the Wainwright Coast to Coast walk. I'm a 45 year old American living in Hong Kong and Gabriel is a 14 year old high school student. This is a father - son adventure I'd been planning since before Gabriel was born.