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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!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

From one coast to another

In 1971 a man called Alfred Wainwright came up with the idea of linking up pathways to create a walk which would take you from the West coast of England to the East coast. The route he devised crosses three National Parks: The Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors.

The next few posts will tell you a little of how myself and five others followed in his footsteps across the most mountainous and beautiful section of the walk - The Lake District.

It was arranged that on Friday 25th April we would met up in a pub  in the town of Kirby Stephen on the edge of the Lake District. It was hoped that by 5pm we would all meet together for the first time. The boys all knew one another from work but I only knew Steve, who had invited me to join the group as he knew I loved walking and would be company for his sister Tina. I arrived first as I had been staying in Manchester just a couple of hours away. Then the four boys arrived which filled me with alarm when I saw the amount of luggage they had between them! Unfortunately, Steve's sister Tina had leapt onto a train at Leeds which was going in the wrong direction. Nevertheless once she had realised this minor error she eventually returned to Leeds and was a mere 3 hours late!

Whilst waiting for Tina to find the right platform and train we  were all very polite towards one another as we discussed our fears about the days ahead but this didn't last long as a few drinks helped to break the ice and the banter began which remained throughout the walk.
Paul had arranged all the accommodation, transport of luggage and long term parking of the cars enabling the rest of us to just read his extensive and enlightening spreadsheets and train for the forthcoming physical challenge. Paul was also walking to raise money for a small charity called

Little Hearts MatterLittle Hearts Matter is a national charity offering support and information to anyone affected by the devastating diagnosis of a single ventricle heart condition, children born with half a working heart. It works to raise awareness of the needs of these children and their families.

We knew the walk would be quite a challenge so we decided to have our luggage  transported from one accommodation site to another to at least give us a fighting chance of completing the walk.

Saturday morning dawned dull with heavy rain beating down on us. Not the start we were hoping for but our spirits were high as we boarded a minibus to take us to the beginning of the walk, at the village of St Bees situated on the West coast. We began by following the tradition of many other walkers of collecting a pebble from the beach to deposit on the shores at Robin Hood's Bay on the East coast.

It was still raining when we set off so it was on with the waterproofs. From left to right is Tim (tech wizard), Paul (spreadsheet superstar), Tina (room mate and non reader of train timetables), Jim (a true gentleman with a similar sense of humour to my own) and Steve (long time friend and Bristol Rovers fan)

The walk started with a steep climb up to St Bees Head. As you can see from the sky, the rain clouds had blown away and it wasn't long before the waterproofs could be removed.

We had frequent photo stops but really it was just so we could catch our breath.

 There was a steep drop down to the sea below and quite a blustery wind so care was taken not to be too daring with photos of the edge.
St Bees Lighthouse is 150yds inland from the cliffs. There has been a Lighthouse on this spot since 1717. The present one was built around 1866 and its light can be seen from sea for about 25 miles.

Moving inland and taking our first few steps Eastward we couldn't fail to notice this boat in one of the cottages. The boat is named 'High and Dry' - typical northern humour!

We now had views towards the Lakeland fells which  were beautiful and gave us an idea of what was ahead as we would have to climb over them during the next few days.

Crossing underneath the railway line.

At one point  Paul and Tim couldn't find the path despite a map and a GPS gizmo. Tina and myself did find a path going in what we thought might be the right direction but our suggestions fell upon deaf ears. Somehow I think we might be listened to a bit more in the future as needless to say we had located the correct path.

We were surrounded by the sounds of unknown birds and although it is early Spring in the Lakes this peacock butterfly made a welcome appearance.

The path continued along a disused railway line which we followed for a mile or so.
After leaving the clearly defined  path we traversed across a few more fields before arriving at our next destination - the village of Cleator

This converted old schoolhouse was our  accommodation for the night. We had only walked about 10 miles but it was our first day and we were more than ready  for a shower, meal and rest. 


  1. Bravo - a great challenge for a worthy cause which has touched our family. This trip is something I aspire to do but a badly injured knee is threatening to curtail my activities when I am 60+, so I am quite envious of your band of adventurous wanderers.

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  3. Wow, beautiful landscape and great pics. It was a nice challenge.

  4. Bravo to you for doing that walk. There were so many wonderful scenery shots but the peacock butterfly stole my heart!

  5. This looks like a great vacation and wonderful way to explore your country. Can't wait to hear more about your walk. This looks like something I would love to do someday!

  6. That would be an amazing walk, it's such beautiful scenery. There are times I feel like moving back to England for the countryside.

  7. Another walking adventure! I love the coastal photos.

  8. Such lovely views and I am a little envious. :-). I've never seen a peacock butterfly. Such wonderful colors.

  9. Its a great walk - I've done most of the sections in the Lakes - but never the whole thing.

    Hope you have a great time - doing this walk is still on my bucket list.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  10. Oh boy that is a real challenge, that will take som time to go from the one point to the other. Keep using your female intuition, men always rely on instruments, I have expierenced that several times, they don't believe you even when you are standing in front of the right way. My husband can't walk without a map, he sometimes does not even looks around to enjoy what he is looking for.:)

  11. I look forward to reading your journey. I first got the idea of a walking tour in England when I heard about the Lake District. We decided to start with a less rigorous agenda by doing the Cotswolds this June. Are you posting this after your trip or as you go?

  12. What a fun adventure, with quite a good group, it seems. I look forward to hearing more. Ten miles is quite enough for one day, if you ask me. I also wondered if you are doing this on the fly or if it's now history? :-)

  13. Oh my gosh what a wonderful journey and adventure. I'm envious (of the trip and of your ability to do it!) and look forward to reading your following posts. Had to laugh at the guys' reaction when you and your roommate found the right trail ... sorta' typical, I'm afraid...you're helping to change a stereotype! Are you (or did you) sleep in hostels or camp or ...?

  14. Wow, what a wonderful trip ! I just scrolled through your posts and now I am jealous ! I am just on the other side of the channel in front of Plymouth, but it's a very different world here, although it looks very similar. The whole Normandy coast needs badly to be renovated !

  15. I have read your posts backwards but still very exciting. You are very fit and adventurous. Those mountains look ed like hard work but how satisfying it must have been at the end of each day. You did a lot of miles each day. The pebble idea is fun.


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