As I opened the curtains and peered out I noticed that the tops of the fells were hidden by cloud but it was at least dry, so I hoped for a dry and clear day‘s walking. Today was to be a fairly short day to Grasmere, climbing up and over Greenup edge and then either following a track down the valley or taking the high option over the ridge of Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag. As I set off along the track which climbs out of the Borrowdale by the side of the imposing and scary looking Eagle Crag, I needed a wee and decided to nip into a handy sheep fold. Unfortunately I realised, just in time, that a huge walking party were headed my way so I pretended to stop and have a drink until they moved past and out of sight.

Sadly their leader decided to stop them and give a talk on something interesting a few steps beyond the sheep fold (and still in full view of it) so I had to abandon my plans for answering the call of nature for now.

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After breakfast the hotel landlord kindly drove me back to Ennerdale Bridge, where the surrounding fells had almost completely disappeared in the mist although it was still dry. He looked at the waterfalls cascading down to the lake and proclaimed that I may get wet feet if I go round the southern shore, so he recommended taking the northern shore round Ennerdale instead.

I thanked him but had already decided to ignore his advice as the southern shore, although tougher, is more interesting- the northern shore is basically a slog along forestry tracks. There was a slight diversion in place to reach the lake and here runners started to pass me in all directions- I guessed this must be the Saunders Mountain Marathon as I had been speaking to a couple of runners taking part at breakfast. I was to see runners all day- in fact it was quite disorientating at times as they were running in all directions to reach various control points.

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I did it! I have walked from one coast of England to another, a distance of around 192 miles in twelve days…

It was a fantastic walk and a great adventure. I was amazed at how varied the route actually is- I walked along coasts, through villages and farmland, climbed mountains, trekked across bleak and barren moorland, explored ancient ruins and old mine workings and crossed over the roller coaster paths of the North York Moors.

I had chosen to park in the secure car park at the caravan park at Kirkby Stephen and use the Packhorse service to transport me to St Bees to start the walk. As I drove to Kirkby Stephen the hills were obscured by mist and the rain hammered the windscreen, which didn’t bode well for today’s walk.

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Walking Home From Work

‘I can see a pair of eyes ahead’ I heard Helen say. Already rather spooked by the perfect darkness of the towpath apart from the little circle of light cast by my head torch, this rather casual statement filled me with cold fear. Who, or what else was walking near the canal at two o’clock in the morning?

Following our aborted attempt to walk home from work to Helen’s home in January we had decided to do it again; only this time we were going to literally walk home after work instead of walking at the weekend. We both showed up in the office as usual on Friday (after dropping my car off at Helen’s), put in a full work day then changed and walked out the door with everyone else at 5pm.

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Cometh the hour…

Well the time is almost upon me. After many years of wanting to do this walk I am finally about to set off on the Coast to Coast!!

I am driving up to my sister’s in Poulton today and then on to Kirkby Stephen Friday morning for my lift to St Bees- and Day One!

I will try to update on my Facebook page when I am able- WIFI allowing…

… bring it on…

Coast to Coast- an Introduction

In four day’s time I set out to walk the Coast to Coast across England. Despite being such a popular long distance route, the Coast to Coast is not a National Trail- it was devised by master fell walker and writer/ illustrator Alfred Wainwright, who first conceived the idea of a walk across England linking three National Parks- the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors.

Wainwright wrote and illustrated a detailed guide to his chosen route, although he then rather contradictorily stated that he would encourage people to create their own variation on his route. However it is the path he devised that is the one most people follow- although parts of it have changed slightly over the years to avoid private land or to use permissive paths.

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Training for a Long Distance Walk

As I write this, the Coast to Coast is less than a week away. Crazy! I have wanted to do this walk for so many years- and now it is almost time. All the planning, all the training have led me to this point.

I hope I’ve done enough. I think though that when you have committed yourself to a tough physical challenge there is always going to be that nagging doubt at the start line that you could have done more…

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Event Report- The Baslow Boot Bash

Phew that was a scorcher! Considering that the last time I did this event (2015) it poured all of the night before and most of the day, it couldn’t have been more different.

I had the pleasure of introducing Helen and Sue to each other and we also kept leap frogging Steve, who walked with Sue and I two years ago, and his friend Linda.

The start of the Baslow Boot Bash is just near the field which serves as a car park, but we needed to walk to the village hall to register- I think queuing to get through the cage- style gate into the grounds of Chatsworth took longer than the walk!

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A rather wet weekend in Wales…

It was the first time I have had to queue for the privilege of standing on top of a mountain. There was no view apart from cloud, mist and more cloud, but a 200 yard long stream of people had formed a line and were patiently waiting for their chance of a ‘summit selfie’. The irony is that most of them had not actually climbed the mountain.

We were on top of Snowdon- Wales’s highest peak. As it was a Bank Holiday weekend we had elected to climb the quieter Rhyd Ddu path and to descend by the Ranger’s Path. When we started our climb the weather was glorious but by the time we reached the South Ridge leading onto the summit the cloud had descended like a blanket, leaving us to traverse the (mercifully straightforward) ridge in near white-out conditions.

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A long walk in the Dark Peak

Eek! I start the Coast to Coast five weeks today!! How the heck did that happen? It felt like ages away and now it’s knocking on my doorstep…

I have been training. Back to back walks at the weekends, walking in the evenings, running up hills and hitting the gym- concentrating on inclines on the treadmill and using the summit trainer. I have had a bit of a niggle in my right Achilles though so have had to ease off a little this week- can’t risk injury now!!

Helen and I completed a long walk in the Dark Peak on Sunday. We haven’t done much walking in the Dark Peak area of Derbyshire- we both confessed it scares us a little- so when Helen found a route in a walking magazine we decided to go for it.

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