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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Monday, 5 May 2014

Day 2: Cleator to Black Sail Hut Youth Hostel

This is the second in my series of posts about the Coast to Coast walk. I arrived back in London yesterday and am writing these retrospectively. I had decided that due to the unreliability of the internet I would not bother to take my netbook with me on this trip.

Day 2:

After a good hearty breakfast we needed to pack our luggage ready for collection by 'Packhorse'. As we were staying off the beaten track tonight we wouldn't be seeing our luggage for a couple of days so needed to pack clean clothes and overnight necessities in our rucsacs.

 The Hotel where we stayed in Cleator.
 Our daily photo outside the hotel which once was a school - hence the title above the door. I was using the self  timer on the camera but I think I should have given myself 10 secs not 2 to get into a more suitable position.

We were all in great form today, ready for the 15 miles we had ahead of us. In fact we were so happy that nobody took any notice of which direction we were walking in - least of all the man with the map!

 It was a couple of miles later whilst looking back at the village we had started from that realisation struck. We had not read the map correctly and had missed the path. Not wanting to go back we found an alternative route which would add another couple of miles onto today's walk but served as a lesson to us all to expend more energy on map reading than chatting.

 Steve and Jim discussing appropriate outfits for the day. Steve never let us down when it came to a slightly different colour co-ordinated look.
 A tree had fallen down recently and was blocking the path but Jim and Paul, with their superhuman strength, managed to hold back the branches so the rest of us could get through.

A steep ascent brought us to the top of Dent Hill with its panoramic view to the Irish sea where we started and then round to the Lakeland mountains in the distance.
 We could also just about see Ennerdale Water which is the most Westerly of the Lakes and the first of the Lakes we needed to walk around.

We could also see Scafell Pike in the distance - the highest mountain in England (which is not very high compared to other mountains around the world).

 Before descending into the valley from Dent Hill we had to climb this tall stile. The height of the fence and stile is to prevent deer straying from their protective area.
 Different methods were used to scale its height.

Always time for a photo.
 Coming down from Dent Hill the gradient was so steep we almost rolled down. In fact that would have been much easier on the knees.

 Once we had reached the bottom we just had to follow the beck (small stream) which would lead us to Ennerdale Bridge.
 A well balanced manoeuvre by Tim.

 We now had a clearer view of Ennerdale with the peaks rising above the water.

In the village of Ennerdale Bridge we made a slight detour to the pub 'The fox and hounds' mainly because I wanted  a comfort stop but the pub had closed! It wasn't until later that evening when I looked at the guide book that I discovered there were two other pubs in the area we could have visited. Neither Paul nor Tim would come clean about who was responsible for once again not reading the information in front of them.

A couple  more miles and we were almost at the Lake. The map showed the path hugging the South side of the Lake for about 3 miles so we were hoping to make up some time along the lakeside path.

However the path was made up of loose stones and rocks making it difficult to walk as your ankles were being sorely tested trying to keep your feet flat on the path.

We had to scramble up and over this section!

Another photo stop by Robin Hood's Chair. Also time for us to play 'Guess how many miles we've done now?' Tim's gizmo was recording the mileage so we liked to try and outsmart one another with the most accurate guess but not so much fun today as we all assumed we had walked much further than we had actually walked.

 We had all thought that the path along the lakeside would be like a walk in the park but that was not the case.

 Another attempt with the self timer!

Once away from the water's edge we were able to speed up a little as the path was much flatter.

Once we had crossed the river we had views of the high mountains on either side of the valley. We were now marching along at a good pace.
 Tonight we were staying in a Youth Hostel in the middle of the valley in a very remote area. It is a long time since I have stayed in a Youth Hostel but I know they are very different now with far more facilities, so I had high hopes.
 A sign appeared telling us it was 3 3/4 miles to the hostel. If we continued at the same pace we should be there in an hour. We were quite tired by now and ready for a rest. Then we came across a second sign much further along the path which also said we had 3 3/4 miles to go. My back was aching, my legs were aching so I decided to put a spurt on and just try and get there as quickly as possible as I'd had enough for today. Then a bit further along the path was another sign put there by the Forestry commission saying that the path ahead was closed due to essential forestry work and we would have to go on the lower path and then ford the river. This was the nail in the coffin for me but after a group  discussion we decided to carry on anyway. Luckily the path was open and we eventually arrived at the  Black Sail Youth Hostel

The hostel was not quite as I had imagined. It consisted of one male and one female dormitory and a 'suite' which was a small room for 4. It also had 2 toilets and one shower.The small kitchen provided food for us all and a communal room for eating and socialising.

 There was space for two men in the male dorm but no room in the female dorm so Tina,  myself, Steve and Paul shared the 'suite'. Spacious it was not. I would be lying if I said I had a good night's sleep.

 However the views from the hostel were special. We were hoping for a clear night so that we could watch the stars  without light pollution getting in the way but no such luck.


  1. Such beautiful views. It looks like a fun group to hike with. I like your dramatic flair in the first group photo. :-)

  2. WOW, what an awesome hike! The scenery is beautiful..Looks like you were with a fun bunch of people.. Thanks for sharing your trip!

  3. Enjoying your posts. It would be helpful if you guesstimate the distance you do each day. Also please think about doing a post on your equipment, like boots, clothing, backpacks, water, snacks. I see some walking poles in one of the pics-- I love my Nordic walking poles! Can't wait for the rest of your trip. Love to hike but wonder how long hikes everyday would be. And maybe add some info about how the luggage was moved between hotels. I know I sound noisy. I'm guess I am, but enjoying your posts so much. Thanks.

  4. Such a lovely place, beautiful scenery.

  5. I would have thought the trails would have been better marked since others have done this. In fact this is what I first considered http://www.ramblers.com/pdfs/sgt/Coast%20to%20Coast.pdf but opted for the Cotswolds. Is that the same as your itinerary?

    I'm looking forward to reading your next installment tomorrow.

  6. OMG; happy for your wonderful hike♪♪♪ I always think if only I had a gorgeous nature like other blog friends, I would be healthier for walking p;)

    Sending you Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

  7. What a great undertaking. You all look like a bunch of kids having a wonderful time in the outdoors. The hostel REALLY looks interesting.

  8. indeed a very tall stile. I climbed one 1/2 that height, and it was hard.

  9. I would love to go for one of these long walks!

  10. 15 miles in one day! What an adventure!

  11. What an amazing hike - the scenery is gorgeous.

  12. You certainly walked through some lovely countryside. I loved your timer shots! I too have had some really interesting ones.

  13. Wow! What an adventure! Great and nice photos!

  14. It is such a joy to travel with you, (without all the walking). You write very nice travel journals. When I was young I have slept in youth hostels with my sister on a bike holiday. I remember large rooms with bunk beds. Here nothing has changed much....

  15. Well, in spite of a poor night's sleep, I can tell this adventure was a memorable one in lots of good ways, and my goodness, such gorgeous scenery! I had to smile at the three photographers all engrossed in capturing the ultimate winner for the day. :)

  16. Beautiful trip. I should love to walk around there.

  17. In total and continuing awe! Thanks for showing the hostel -- I wondered what they were like.

  18. It has been ages since I left you a comment but just wanted to let you know still here reading and enjoying. :)

  19. It makes me tired just reading what you did.


Thank-you for reading my blog. I would love to read your comments.