Nearly the Coast to Coast Walk.
Walkers: Sandra and Mel Wilkinson
The Inspiration: “It’s a good expedition although I say it myself: ideal for the connoisseurs of fine scenery.” A. Wainwright.
Preparation: I had been
keen to do the ‘coast—to—coast’ For
years but only when Mel saw the programme on the television did he agree to do
it, walking only, not running! The only problem was that we only had 8 clays
holiday and you really need 12 days to do it comfortably so the decision was
made to stop at
started to work out which were the best places for the overnight stops and we
booked the YHA and guest houses well in advance. The longest days were to be at
the beginning, averaging about 20 miles, and slowing down towards
The Journey: We started and stopped at Barrow as the
train broke down but finally arrived at St. Bees to dip our toes in the
At the first village (Sandwith) six miles into the walk we looked for a pub for a dinner time drink - Mels birthday - but both pubs were shut. This situation continued for the rest of the walk, we wondered if Wainwright was a teetotaler or just a sadist?
From the summit of Dent near Cleator, (no not a wrong compass bearing) we could see the Ennerdale ridge and the start of the
climb of the day was Great Bourne where the farmer had put up notices — “Keep
to the Path”, “No Wainwright Walkers here”, he also kept a beady eye on all who
came near with the aid of his nifty motorbike. So a detour along the public
footpath on National Trust land is Foulton Tarn to ascend the many calmed
summit is required.
On to Red Pike, High Stile and finally Haystacks where one has to be then careful not to trample on Wainwrights ashes! At
The third day dawned grey and misty but as experts with map and compass we ascended Greenup Edge with ease to approach Calf Crags as the sun broke through. From here its an easy walk (Jog!) to Gibsons Knot and Helm Crag (the Lion and the Lamb) descending to the
over to Shap goes by way of Kidsy Pike and the head of Haweswater and a
panoramic view of the Lakes is promised from the summit ridge - not to be! Yes
you’ve guessed it, the weather was doing its best again and we couldn’t even
see the other side of the valley from the youth hostel. Still, this was only a
minor irritation for us as the company was good (we had made friends with two
American ladies) and as an extra bonus we would come down towards Haweewater
Riggindale where the eagles were nesting. Again the weather changed as we passed over the ridge and by the time we had traversed along the side of Haweswater we were in need of liquid refreshment (all that water and you’re not allowed to drink it!) Onward to Shap, there’s loads of pubs there!
Into new country now and its all limestone. First past Oddendale village
(where?) then past Robin Hoods grave (how many of them are there?) — its only a
pile of stones, to join the Orton road. A short cut here to save a lot of road
walking and onto
the best bit. A lovely climb up to Nine Standards Rigg to the Pennine watershed
day was promised next as we intended to go over to Swinnergill and look at the
relics of the old lead mines. Looking at what remains it is sometimes difficult
to imagine how many people worked in the mines but the engineering feats that
they undertook were incredible. On the way down Whitsun Gill you can see the
‘last of the old timers’ still washing and grading his stones to produce excellent
aggregate through a home made grader (furniture van actually!) Was it Jim
Newtons firm I wondered! We were really on holiday from now on doing a
fantastic ten miles a day along the Swale, and it really is a photographers
paradise and its nice to know that the field barns are now at last protected
‘from the developers. Our walk as you can gather had somewhat ground slowly to
a halt as the next section offers little in the way of easy return to base
until you hit the
Sandra and Mel Wilkinson.
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