The Red Rose Coast to Coast Walk

Friday 25th July

Undertaken by Andy Macdonald, Tim Eastwood, Heather Eastwood, Becki Brier, Kevin (Death) Hopwood, Sandra Wilkinson And  Becki’s friend Chris.

Arrived at Sandwith to stay at Tarn Flatt Camping Barn. Having established where we were sleeping we unpacked the cars. This is where everything went disastrously wrong. One bottle of whisky, which was carefully packed between a towel and a Buffalo jacket had worked its way to the bottom of my bag and as it was dropped gently on to the floor it broke! At this point the bottom fell out of my world and out of the bottom of the bottle, leaving the contents of my bag covered in Islay single malt. Good news though, due to a fine bit of organisation nearly everything was in dry bags. More good news, another bottle had been brought along to celebrate the beginning of this epic walk.

And after two years of trying I finally got to sleep with Becky (however, I also slept with Death, Heather, Tim, Chris, Taz, Bramble and Tico). Early to bed for an early start. Ear plugs were compulsory to prevent being kept awake by Deaths snoring.
Heather’s new roll mat must not be as good as my old cheap one, as she needed to use half of mine in the middle of the night.

Saturday, 26th July

Having had a restless night in the Camping Barn due to Deaths snoring we awoke about 7 bells, 45 minutes before we had set the alarms. Coffee was on the go within minutes and cereal was eaten. Then Tim and myself set off in both cars to drop one of them off at Ennerdale Bridge, then we drove back to Sandwith to pick everyone up to go down to the beach at St. Bees, and the off.

Becky and Heather were regaled in matching T shits bearing the slogan “ARE WE THERE YET”. Toes were dipped in the water, photographs taken, pebbles collected and away we went. Up along the coast in a north westerly direction away from St Bees... and away from Robin Hoods Bay. After about 5 miles of mostly cliff top path we stopped for dinner, further away from Robin Hoods Bay than when we started.
After a 20 minute stop, we were off again, trying to get nearer to the final goal. We had a reasonably straight forward section of walking to Cleator, then on to Dent, a 344 metre monster, which had to be tackled straight up the front. A breather was taken half way up, and another at the top. On the downward section we had a slight disagreement about the way on at a sign that pointed right and the map saying we should go left, but after a bit of head scratching and a look at the book, we took the left and headed down the chimneys’ to Nannycatch Beck and the last push to Low Cock How Farm, our stopping point, and a beer. After a brief stop Tim and myself headed of to St Bees to pick up the Land Rover and drove the car over to Seathwaite, our destination for tomorrow. One more beer on our return, then some photos of the sunset and then to bed


Sunday 27th July

Everybody was up by 7.30 am, mostly due to being in bed at 9.30 pm last night. Heather set to making sandwiches and asked everybody “who wants tomato on their cheese and tomato sandwiches?”. Much hilarity and laughter ensued! Then we packed the Land Rover ready for walking. Chris was not walking today so she was taking the Land Rover to Seathwaite at her leisure. We set off from Low Cock How Farm in misty conditions down the hill to Ennerdale Bridge and on the Ennerdale valley. After several hours of walking and never seeming to get any closer we finally go to the head of the valley and the Black Sail Youth Hostel. We stopped here for lunch in the shade of a tree e and filled up with water. Heather managed to embarrass herself by telling a passing walker he did not look hot enough so needed to walk more. His response was that he had run from St Bees that morning and was hoping to be in Stonethwaite by tea time (aaargh!). Then, suitably refreshed, we headed up the valley a little further and saw our next mammoth task. A 300 metre staircase to the heavens. All the time we were walking in the Ennerdale valley the sun has seen fit to grace us with its presence on the hardest uphill sections and on the monster that is Loft Beck, it was no exception, with the wind also taking a sabbatical.

By the time we got to the top of it, it felt like two bad things had happened. Firstly that our legs had gone through 10 rounds with a professional wrestler and, secondly that our bodies had been put in a microwave on full power for 6 hours.
But still, we had got to the top and it was all downhill from here WRONG!!
In true Lakeland fashion there was more uphill to reach a traverse to get on to the shoulder above Honister Slate Mine. After someone had a sense of humour failure at there being more uphill, we gained the height, made the traverse and made our way on to the Old Tramway above the slate mine. Then down the pass to Seatoller and the pub. 16 miles and 8 hours later we arrived at the Yew Tree Inn to find it had turned back into a shop and didn’t do draught ale any more, just expensive bottles of lager cider and other naff beers. So one bottle each and then we continued on our way to the camp at Seathwaite. Tea, of stew and dumplings, was eagerly consumed so we could have a proper beer and sleep.

Monday, 28th July

Everybody was tip at about 7.30 again, more or less raring to go. However this is day three and this is the day that notoriously causes the most problems regarding motivation.
Cars had to be shifted to Gasmere for the end of the walk. The land rover was not performing brilliantly hut we were sure it would do. So, having dropped it off at Grasmere it was back to Seathwaite to start the walk. First bit of good news. Pete, the farmer, told us about the weather being cloudy for the day so was going to be cool for the walk up Stonethwaite valley. However, he was a bit wrong. The sun was doing the same trick as yesterday, coming out when we were going up hill, and disappearing behind clouds when we were stopped or on the level.

At the end of Stonethwaite valley is Lining Crag and another staircase to hell. It looked like that coming up the valley when it came into view, but when you got to the crag it is not as bad as seemed. Still, the sun comes into play and the complete lack of breeze.
Having gained the top of the ridge we had a slight rest for repairs to my heel and then downhill to Far Easedale and Grasmere, where we took a side road to avoid the centre of the village. The final kilometre seemed to go on for hours. Finally we made it to the Shepherds Arms on the A591, two pints and then I walked up the hill to get the Land Rover. I started it up and the mis-firing was worse than this morning. But still I drove it to the Shepherds to pick up weary and foot sore passengers and dogs. We set off up Dunmail Raise at 5mph. There was something seriously wrong. At the top of Dunmail Raise is a lay-by with an AA box, number 487. Hurrah !!! Ring the AA from their box. ..WRONG!!! The box is a non operational listed building without a phone. Luckily Becky had a phone with both charge and signal. So the AA was called. She also called the campsite so see if Sue, Pete the farmers girlfriend, could pick some of us up and transport us to the site. While waiting for the AA man to arrive I recreated the scene from Fawlty Towers where Basil gives his car a “damn good thrashing” for breaking down. After waiting about 45 minutes and watching out for a BLUE VAUXHALL FIESTA, she arrived, driving a GREEN ROVER MG, and took Tim, Heather, Death and Chris with 3 dogs back to Seathwaite, while myself and Becky waited for the AA man to deliver the news that the Land Rover was irreparable. He finally showed up looked under the bonnet and diagnosed the problem as a split in the air intake hose. 5 minutes later the hose was temporarily repaired and we were on our way to Borrowdale.

The camp was deserted as Chris and Heather were cooking in the barn. Tim and Death were round a neighbours fire, telling tales of the days events. After tea I decided to make use of the new showers at Pete’s, and also wash some of my clothes while showering. So I went to the shower laden with clothes and shower gel, got dressed in all the dirty clothes put the money in slot and stepped in to the shower. As the water cascaded I washed each item with shower gel then took them off and let them rinse on the floor. Finally, after all the clothes are washed and I am standing naked in the shower with rinsed and wet clothes at my feet the shower timer runs out. Time to dry off and something about drying my clothes.

Here is today’s little quandary. How do I dry myself off when my towel is back at the tent? I struggled with this problem for all of about 30 seconds after which I decided to squeeze as much moisture as I could out of a base layer and use it as a towel then squeeze it out a gain and put it on. Luckily it was still warm outside so I didn’t get too cold. Then I returned to the neighbours fire and told them what I had done. I was ribbed mercilessly for a while. A tot or two of whisky was drunk for a night cap then off to bed in readiness for tomorrows allocated mileage to reduce the distance to the end still further.

Tuesday, 29th July

Today was a departure from the norm. One car was taken to Patterdale and half the party walked from there to Grasmere and the other car was left at Grasmere and the other half of the party walked from here to Patterdale. It was a fairly easy walk with a couple of steepish up hills to Grisedale Tarn but the sun had decided - to stay away for most of the day. Today’s walk was a day of two valleys, and we were to walk the entire length of both of them. The two halves of the party met about half way exchanged pleasantries and continued to their respective ends.

When we arrived at Patterdale we had the task of booking in at the campsite and erecting tents before the others arrived. As we were walking down the White Lion, team two arrived at the campsite to shower and get changed. Team one walked to the pub and had a couple of swift ones then walked back to camp. We met the Land Rover going the other way. It was shuffle time again. Time to take the car to Shap for the next stop. Becky and Heather in the Land Rover (I get the feeling they were a bit pissed off at having to do the shuffle thing) and Tim in the Toyota. The dogs are completely shagged out but I am sure they will continue after a good nights sleep.

Wednesday, 30th July

Having had an epic nights sleep at Side Farm, which really should be called Slide Farm, as all the pitches are on a slope, we carried on the path up the hill at the back of the farm on the way to Angle Tarn. As we reached the tarn, which was a bit of a hike uphill, the weather took a turn for the worse. As this was to be our last day in the Lakes the weather decided to throw it all at us. Wind, rain, mist and sun. The only thing missing was the snow. However, it may have been cold enough for that. We battled against the wind to Kidsty Pike, picking up a lone coast to coaster called Dwayne along the way, to the highest point of the entire walk. Then thankfully, downhill to Haweswater and lunch.

Suitably refreshed, we carried on down the entire length of Haweswater, across several fields then eventually to Shap Abbey. This is still three quarters of a mile from the Bulls Head, which is where we were to camp for the night. As we approached the abbey we had a message from Chris, who was not walking again today, telling us that the Land Rover would not start in Penrith. So she had arrived by bus at the Bulls Head but everything was still in Penrith. We arrived at the Bull to find them very welcoming (25% off food if you pre book a camping pitch for the night). A couple of pints and I was volunteered to go and fix the Land Rover (Just a loose wire on the starter motor). I drove Chris to Penrith to pick up the Land Rover and had to find the starter motor first. Two or three tries later I had to look at the manual to find out what it looks like and where it is. Then a matter of seconds and it was started and we were on our way back to Shap. The cars were unpacked and tents pitched, then a couple of pints and a nightcap for good measure in readiness for bed to allow swelling ankles to go down and sore feet to revitalise. Heather was very very tired and had drawn on a great deal of reserves to get her to the end of today’s walk, but she still had time and energy to give nursing consultations to fellow coast to coasters. So to bed to rest weary bodies, minds and feet

Thursday, 31st July

Sub title for this diary entry is “When the going gets tough - The tough go shopping”
We packed all the tents and gear into the Land Rover after having taken the car to Bents Farm. Then we were off having been warned there were heavy showers on the way. We walked down Main Street and straight into the New Balance Factory shop to have a look at the bargains available. Tim said “Bring ‘em for a long walk and they cant avoid going into a shop. Bloody typical”. After shopping we headed down Shap main street, then over the motorway and on to the moors. A random chap walking his dog warned us of a herd of suckling calves in the field ahead of us, and told us of a way to avoid them. However, when we got there, there were only sheep. So onwards over the M6 motorway and to the monotonous rolling hills between Shap and Bents Farm, which is about 3 miles short of Kirby Stephen.

We made good time, considering the state of Heather’s feet, and stopped on Crosby Ravensworth Fell before the rain started. And, boy!!! When it started, did it start. Within 10 minutes my waterproof was no longer waterproof but more like a sponge. About half an hour later my boots and socks were also doing a good impression of being sponges. Squelching along for another couple of hours we finally made it to Bents Farm, having had a minor disagreement about which direction to take (and telling Death to shut the up!!), and sanctuary from the rain. After scouting round the barn, Tim and myself went of to collect the Land Rover from Shap and parked it right outside the door of the bunkhouse, took out the contents and had a tea of spaghetti Bolognese, which was very much needed after the trials of the day. After tea came the daily ritual of sorting out the finances, which turned into a nightmare as Heather had taken some drugs for her pained feet and these had started to mash her brain so figures wouldn’t work. After some more brain mashing Tim said he would take over the accounts stop Heather from doing too much.

After this epic, Heather went to change her shorts and on the way past Tim, said “You smell very attractive, dear”. His retort was that she “smelt very attractive too, especially better since she had removed her repulsive socks”. A bit of chat and a couple of whiskies then we all off to bed for another early night. After an absolutely wonderful nights sleep in bunk beds with mattresses, we all arose fairly early to set to the mornings tasks, which had by now become almost mechanical in their execution. Getting rucksacks ready, sorting dinners, packing up Land Rovers et cetera. Once all jobs were done and feet had been attended to, we were ready to set off. Chris, who was not walking today, was going into Kirby Stephen to do some shopping and then on to Keld to set up the tents. As we walked down the field from the bunk barn back to the path Heather said “There’s going to be a lot of huffing and indeed puffing today as my foot is pretty swollen, so be warned!“

The walk to Kirby Stephen was very pleasant as the cloud cover was good and it was not too warm. We made good time and were walking down the main street within about an hour and a half of setting out, Lo! And behold! A sports shop was spied and Becky, Heather and Death were inside before you could say “Comfy insoles”. Then Tim was dragged in to pay for Heathers purchases. One by one they came out bearing their goodies, three pairs of insoles for their boots. Then, once the insoles were installed we were off again.., to the pie shop for a pasty. A helpful gentleman told us the way to get to the path after making a fuss of all the dogs. Fully refreshed-ish from our stop we continued on to Hartley on the road above Hartley Quarry and to Hartley Fell and finally to the Nine Standards Rigg, where we had another brief stop. Then onto the hardest part of the walk so far, the way across the fell to Keld. This part of the walk is very badly eroded as it is the main Pennine watershed, the route was not so hard to follow since it was only windy thus far and the markers we were to follow were easy to see. As we approached Whitsundale Beck, however, the heavens opened and for almost the entire last 3 1/2 miles it rained very heavily making the paths, such as they were, very slippy and the boggy bits very boggy. Finally we reached the road to Keld and after another kilometre or so we arrived at Keld and the Park Lodge campsite, to be welcomed by Helen, Samantha, Katy and Chris. The tepee was up as was Tim and Heathers tent but the Land Rover was still at Bents Farm having not started, again, even though it had started in the morning before we set out. The Land Rover was retrieved from Bents Farm, while a couple more tents were erected then some of waked up to the Keld Lodge for some eagerly awaited and much needed sustenance, both liquid and solid.
Crawling into tents, in the rain, at about 11.15, it was straight to sleep to dream about not having to get up and walk in the morning...BLISS!!!

Saturday, 2nd August

Day off!! No walking!!

We drove up to the Tan Hill Inn for a few beers after some of the party went shopping and others went off to do washing, both of which were greatly appreciated, as nobody seemed to have any dry, clean clothes for the continuing walks. Heather constructed a tea of chilli, tomato sauce and pasta and as we rested afterwards Mel and Sandra turned up out of the blue a day early. It was Sandra’s birthday so we had coffee and walnut cake for an evening snack.

Sunday, 3rd August

After taking down the tents and having a leisurely-ish breakfast, we said goodbye to Helen, Samantha, Katy and my companion for the last 8 days ,Tico and headed off to Reeth. The walk up hill was uneventful. But once over the top we came to the Lead Mines above Gunnerside with old buildings, mine levels, smelting mill and hushes. It was commented on that it would be fascinating to go back in time and watch the men working to see how they made everything work smoothly and produced the lead from the hillside. Wreckage from years gone by just abandoned and left for the elements and the wild life to pick through and use for shelter. Then down hill to Surrender Bridge and, following advice from the Park Lodge camp site owner to keep high, we followed the path out into the wilds. Past a few houses on the top of the hill to Helaugh, and then through a very picturesque village and along the river when we ran into Mel and Sandra, who had been walking else where. Into Reeth and a couple of beers, then onto the camp site for tea. Listening to Mel and Sandra bickering over lost water from the kettle caused some amusement. The men folk were dispatched to the pub for a couple of hours while the ladies chilled and chatted at camp. The owner of the Orchard campsite was very helpful and friendly, not as described in the Coast to Coast book, but it transpires that he has only been there 12 months, so maybe the new edition of the book will reflect this.

Monday 4th August

Another leisurely breakfast after the rain had stopped, then Tim, Becki and Mel took the cars off to Applegarth camp barn before Mel brought the other two back and drove back home to play golf for most of the week. Then we hit the trail to Richmond. The sun was out and everyone was in good spirits. Sandra was trying to get us all to sing as we headed up the ‘Nuns Steps’ But we were all too warm and gasping for breath.
The book describes this as the most boring part of the walk but the views over the rolling countryside were stunning. Up hillock and down dale and finally to Applegarth Scar came into view and the wonderful camping barn. I was shamed into washing my offensive socks in a bucket. We nearly all took advantage of the shower, but after Tim had been in he professed that it was not the biggest of shower cubicles as every time he bent down to wash his legs, his arse opened the door in a bid to escape.

Many happy minutes were had reminiscing about the state of Deaths red legs.
He looked like he had a pair of pink leggings and skin coloured socks on. Becki had nearly wet herself three times laughing today following him and catching sight of the glowing beacons he had for legs. A fry up for tea and a trip to Richmond for much needed alcohol stock replenishment. I finally got to replace the broken bottle of whisky today. The rain kept coming and going making the drying of the washed socks , rushed affair between inside and out, but mostly everything was nearly dried.
Having returned from the shopping trip and armed with a pot of plain yoghurt,
Death set about smearing the yoghurt on his legs to cool down the sunburn. No sooner had he finished one leg and started on the other Bramble came up and started to lick his yoghurty leg, yoghurt being her favourite thing in the whole world ever. Much laughter ensued.

Tuesday, 5th August

After a very good nights sleep in the sheep pens of the camp barns, with sleeping bags, pillows and mattresses provided we set off along the path on a 12 mile walk to Danby Wiske. The walk through the wood was very welcomed after the heat of the morning. We arrived in Richmond and took the opportunity to do a bit of shopping for socks, baccy and other stuff, as we had taken one car to Danby Wiske early this morning. Some spectacular views of Richmond castle were seen from the route. We left there and followed a woodland path next to the river all the way to Bolton on Swale. Then we had 5 kilometres of road walking and a bit of field walking before getting to Danby Wiske and the White Swan public house. After a pint and a bit of a relaxing time we were treated to the best meal we had had in ages of game pie with dumplings and vegetables, with 16 of us round one table, mostly coast to coasters with 3 other guys who were fitting fire simulators for the Army at Catterick barracks.

The amount of conversation was incredible since most of the people had never met before. The was Shaun’s, the landlord, idea. And a fine idea it was too. Tea only cost a fiver. After tea Shaun invited everybody to have a game of darts so everyone would get to know each other better. By the end of the game everybody was on first name terms and we raised £20 for charity. Finally we were away to bed bellies full of good food and fine ales.

Wednesday, 6th August

Today started slowly as we only had eight and a half miles to walk today. We had a leisurely breakfast and coffee and tea with Shaun, the landlord. While having tea Sandra told us of a happening the previous evening. When she was waiting for her turn on the dartboard she picked up a tubular object and started to fiddle with it. This belonged to Jen, who was also doing the coast to coast. Sandra said “This is a mighty fine torch, but how do you make it work”. Jen replied “its not a torch, it is my insulin administrator!!“ . They laughed then and we laughed about it again today.

The walking today was mostly flat field- hopping with stiles and gates so we made good time to the Bluebell Hotel. Time for one beer, then we put the tents up and decided we would shorten tomorrows walk by doing an extra three miles up on the ridge we would be walking tomorrow. So Becci Heather and myself drove round to the car park at the top of the hill while Tim, Death and Sandra walked from the Bluebell. We met half way and crossed over said our farewells and continued back to the Bluebell. We arrived back at the Bluebell at about the same time. Then Tim and myself took the car round to the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge, which was a hell of a long trek by road. We found the Frenchies had arrived at the Lion Inn but were probably inside using the facilities. Then we drove all the way back to Ingleby Cross having left the car, to a tea of risotto and tortillas and cheese and biscuits with coffee and settled in for a quiet evening before an early bed as we had a 20 mile ridge walk tomorrow. When bed time came, which f*ckwit had forgotten to take his sleeping bag out of the car before dropping it off at Blakey Ridge? Yes! It was me. However, the weather was kind to me that night and with a pair of socks on and a fleece I survived the night without any major trauma.

Thursday, 7th August

Having been asleep for a few hours I was wakened by Death snoring and Becci talking in her sleep. Then I was woken again at about 4.30 am by a bird that seemed to be saying “Everybody get up”. Then I went to sleep again for an hour or so only to woken about 6.30 by the bottle bank by the Bluebell being emptied. After that everybody was up. The rain set in and we had a discussion about not walking because of the rain. But a group decision was taken and we decided to walk having referred to the old adage ‘Rain before seven, fine before eleven’. Sure enough after an hour the rain stopped and we were able to take off the waterproofs and enjoy the walk up the hill. However the uphills only meant that there would be a downhill. As Sandra said, this was a bit of a corrugated walk, up then down, then up then down. After about 8 miles we arrived at the pre determined point for dinner, agreed with Chris as she was not walking today, and had gone in search of bread and fillings for the sandwiches. She was about 300 yards down three hundred yards down the road in a car park.

We tried ringing her but the calls went straight to her mobile. So to save Heathers feet from any more damage I ran down to get Chris to come up to a lay-by where we were stopped, found her, then had to run back up as there was no room in the Land Rover for me. After a brief stop for lunch we carried on without Heather, whose feet had had enough. Uphill once more, but once on the top it was fairly flat, which was most welcomed as we still had over 8 kilometres to go. We were walking on an old railway track for the lead mines. The only thing wrong was that as it was a railway track it was fairly hard on the feet, but finally came in sight of the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge. We staggered into the Lion Inn at about 415pm to have a couple of beers, then to the tent for a rest before tea. We had a grand tea in the restaurant with a pudding to die for. After eating everyone was a bit shocked when Death announced “I have drunk enough ale”. Shock! Horror! After one more beer we were off to bed. However Sandra’s manservant (me) could not go to sleep straight away as he had to boil some eggs for tomorrows lunch. This only took about an hour. The last thing I remember before drifting off to sleep was Becki talking in her sleep, saying “It’s a mile to the pub!”. I was asleep by 9.30 pm


Friday, 8th August

The morning arrived with it having blown a gale all night. I, for one, didn’t have a good nights sleep, with the wind whistling under the flap of the tent. So I was awake about 6.30 and put on the kettle ready for brews. The rain persisted for a long time, while we packed up the cars. Then Tim and myself drove over to Grosmont to drop off the Land Rover. It took a while to find the campsite and when we got back to Blakey Ridge everybody thought we had broken down and were thinking of setting off without us. They started off and I went back to the car to wait for Tim to set off. On the wall near to where the Land Rover had been parked I found the pole for the tepee and the pegs and ground sheet on the wall where they had been put to be transferred to the Land Rover. So, we put them in the back of the car and set off at a brisk pace to catch up with the others. We followed the path to Glaisdale where we decided not to stop at the pub in favour of the Four Horseshoes at Egton Bridge. However, when we got there it was shut so we headed straight for camp. On arrival everything was hauled out of the Land Rover in preparation for returning to Blakey Ridge to pick up the car. A short five minute rest then myself and Tim were off in the Land Rover.

Having retrieved the car we returned to camp and it was decided that fish and chips was the order of the day. After tea a beer or two was drunk and Death asked if anyone wanted to go north of Whitby to Kettleness to find Dracula. We all declined and Tim, a man of few words said “there was more chance of finding Dracula than anyone actually wanting to go”. So we sat and chilled in the evening sun, waiting for bed time and tomorrows walk.

Saturday, 9th August

Again the morning started like a military operation. Coffee, cereal, pack up and move cars for the final day. A place a camp site in Robin Hoods Bay was procured using the sad puppy dog eyes and the tired coast to coasters excuse. Then back to Grosmont for the final leg of the walk. Heather and Sandra were cycling the last leg due to the state of HEATHERS FEET. So we set out from Grosmont, a two and a half kilometre uphill struggle in wind and rain and on to the North Yorkshire moors. Having reached the summit we found it was only 6 miles to Hawsker, Hurrah!! However the last 5 miles was through boggy moor land. Finally after a few leg wetting and knicker wetting moments we got to the end of the moor land. We stopped at Littlebeck for dinner at the hermitage, a folly carved out of a single very large boulder. Here Death had problems with the zips on his waterproofs and moaned and complained that they would be going back to the shop even if they were knackered at the bottom from being dragged on the ground. We arrived at Hawsker for a much needed beer at the Fox and Hounds. Then the final three miles to Robin Hoods Bay.

We arrived at the Bay to the strains of a fiddle (not a brass band , as we expected) and the Rotherham Morris Dancers, here we met Mike and Jen, with whom we had been either walking or passing for the whole of the walk. We shared a bottle of bubbly, which I had carried for the final 14 miles without anyone knowing I had arranged with Chris to buy it, then it was the moment of truth. I had promised two long weeks ago that I would go for a swim in the Bay. I stripped myself of all non waterproof items then went for a swim, twice. Some of the assembled throng did not know how to use their cameras.
I was toweled down by Sandra and Heather, we drank the last of the bubbly then I got changed and we headed for the pub for a quick pint before going back to the campsite for a shower and to get changed.

We then returned to the pub for a celebratory drink or six and some tea.
So that was it. The walk was complete. 192 miles of leg bashing, uphill down dale through rain wind and blistering sunshine. I have met people would like to see again and some that I wouldn’t. I have been to lots of place I have never been before, some I will be visiting again, some I hope I will never see again. But all in all a great experience to be repeated at some time in the future, when the memory of the blisters and aching feet have faded, perhaps just my dog and me, but hopefully with Helen and Samantha. Time to reflect on this massive achievement and to bid old friends and new a fond farewell.

Sunday, 10th August

The aftermath

Having woken early and gone back to sleep then woken again, then gone back to sleep again, everyone woke and praised the fact that we didn’t have to walk today. We then discussed the essential things needed for the coast to coast walk. These are, in order of importance:-

A sense of humour, 110 cans of lager, 12 bottles of beer, 24 cans of Guiness, 3 bottles of rum, 3 bottles of whisky, 2 bottles of wine. - This is on top of the beers we drank in the pubs along the way. Copious amounts of varying types of drugs, legal and illegal. 12 boxes of Compeed second skin, Shares in Compeed, 14 tons of food and one Heather, And a Nurse Gladys Emmanuel (aka Heather)

Things we should have taken:  Swedish Masseur, Jacuzzi and steam room, Naked waiters and waitresses, Hair dryer, Compeed boots (there is a marketing opportunity), Decent weather forecast (not too hot, not too cold, not too windy, not wet), Quad bike (for the North Yorkshire Moors), Waders, Drying Room, Washing machine, Spare feet, New knees, A campsite somewhere between Ingleby Cross and Balakey Ridge with all of the above.

We sat discussing the last two weeks of wetness and blistering sunshine, we sat in the tepee saying it was grand to be able to leave the tepee up to let it dry out in the wind and the sunshine, when without warning it started to rain and it absolutely lashed it down. This time we didn’t care, but laughed at it and all went into the tepee to wait for it to stop before packing up and heading home. On arrival home Heather discovered a parking ticket for her car from Richmond. This was from Chris’s trip to buy things. She bought a dress for £20 (a Bargain), so with the ticket it actually cost her £65.

Andy Macdonald

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