After recently finishing the Camino de Santiago in Spain, I found myself needing to walk again and remembered there was a walk across the north of England called the coast to coast (c2c). I purchased the Trailblazer guidebook and it describes the c2c as follows:
“The c2c path owes its existence to one man: Alfred Wainwright. It was in 1972 that Wainwright completed a trek across the width of England along a path of his own devising. The result of his walk, a guidebook, proved hugely successful. Though the trail passes through 3 national parks, crosses the Pennine Way and at times joins with both the Lyke Wake Walk and the Cleveland Way, it’s not itself one of the 15 national trails in the UK and because of this, the presence of signposts and way marking varies along the path, from non-existent in the Lake District (BYO compass, GPS & guidebook), to fairly well signposted once over the Pennines and into Yorkshire. In the 200 odd miles (~320 km) from seashore (St Bees) to seashore (Robin Hoods Bay) you’ll have ascended and of course descended the equivalent height of Mt Everest.”
Everyone I spoke to about this walk recommended booking the accommodation in advance unless I was willing to camp so using the guidebook I started calling hostels, B&B’s, pubs and hotels to see if it was going to be possible to start walking in one week’s time. If I could find accommodation, I would go… I must have called over 100 places and heard the same thing a dozen times about accommodation being booked up a year in advance, and “Good luck dear trying to find something at this impossibly late stage…” But perseverance paid off and after a whole day of calls and route planning, I managed to book two weeks of accommodation. My schedule was now completely dictated by where I could sleep each night, which meant some days were going to be long, and some short.
My favourite part in the guidebook was where it talked about the bogs I would encounter:
“It’s well worth your time to avoid the worst bogs by all means possible: backtracking, taking a running jump, using a pole, using your partner as a plank; whatever works for you.”
My fears were:
Falling off a cliff
Suffocate/drown in a peat bog
The GPS stops working
Endless days of rain
Injury or mountain rescue
Daily fry ups with black pudding for breakfast
My hopes were:
I make it to Robin Hood’s Bay in 14 days
None of the above fears happen
I had no idea what to expect, except that the forecast for the coming week was for rain and potential floods. I had already resigned myself to the fact I would get wet, I was of course walking across the north of England. It wouldn’t be a true c2c across England if it didn’t rain, now would it?!