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Coast to Coast

startcoast2coastWhy would you walk from one side of the UK to the other, through 3 National Parks, starting and finishing by the sea, passing by rivers, lakes, mountains, bluebell woods and the most amazing views in the UK? Life often seems too complex and I enjoy having only two things to think about each day. Which way am I going to walk? What am I going to eat and drink today?

The Coast to Coast walk was worked out by Alfred Wainwright and is now one of the UK's greatest long distance walks. It is 192 miles long and runs from St Bees on the West Coast to Robin Hood's Bay on the East Coast, passing through the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors.

bluebellWainwright did it in 12 days. If you want to follow in his footsteps that's an average of 16 miles a day, but some days are longer and some are shorter due to places to stay for the night. The shortest day is 4-5 hours, 10.3 miles and the longest day is 9 hours, 22.65 miles. Experienced hikers will tell you that the 20 mile point can be a bit of a wall, when your body starts complaining - just tell it to shut up for the last 3 miles!

You do need to be able to map read to do a walk like this, although you can cheat these days and get a SatNav that shows your exact location overlaid on an OS map. But take spare batteries and it may be advisable to have a backup paper map in case of electronic failure in the Lake District as it is the most rural part of the walk.

The walk can be done from late April to the end of September. May and September is recommended to miss the busiest period.  The weather is not traditionally as good at those times but with the more recent unpredictable weather patterns they could be better than Jun-Aug!

There are a great selection of Ales to be sampled at the end of each day when you arrive wet after walking all day. Boots off and proped up next to a log fire, that first pint is a truly great experience. We did have to enforce a strict 3 pint rule though. 3 pints before dinner and another 3 after! Also no talking about that first pint until after 2 o'clock whilst walking.

gateonwalkThere are many places to stay along the walk - Pubs, B&Bs and people's houses. You can save yourself a lot of time by using a booking service where they reserve all the accommodation en route for a small fee http://www.sherpavan.com/ They can also transport your bags for you and help with transfers to/from start/finish.

Just a few tips to finish off with - have a box of plasters, take a pair of crocs or something to put on at the end of each day, gloves and hat and full waterproofs required, and last but not least, there is only one Indian restaurant on the walk (in Richmond) - don't miss it!



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