In September 2003, the Smithsonian magazine had an article titled “A Walk Across England“, about the pathways linked into a coast-to-coast walk from St Bees in the west to Robin Hood Bay in the east. This inspired us to start considering such things, and led more or less directly to our Hadrian’s Wall Walk, as a less challenging walk.
By 2011, we were ready to try the big one, 200 miles. (They say 190 miles, but there are alternative paths in places, and sometimes extra mileage to the B&Bs; besides, all guidebooks lie.)
We began with Carl and Renee, with a trip to Stonehenge (sleet in June) and Wales, to see some areas that might have been connected to Renee’s ancestors, and general sightseeing. We rode horses, and took the train to the top of Mt. Snowden. In Dolgellau, we met a fish-and-chips shop owner who was planning to take his steamboat to Egypt, and have his trip up the Nile filmed for a TV show. Carl then returned home, and the rest of us took the train to St Bees.
We used Sherpa(?) to handle reservations and move our bags, and planned on 13 days of walking. The walk passes through the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, and North York Moors National Parks. We had driven through the Lake District on an earlier visit, but it’s even better from the mountaintops. The banner picture on this backlog is from the walk. I think the ponies can smell an apple in my backpack.
This was the first trip we used our cell phone as a phone (not just for wi-fi access to email, etc.). Renee was able to talk to Carl, and update him on our progress.
Walks like these put you in contact with other people who start around the same time and have a similar itinerary, at least for a few days at a time. For several days starting about midway, our path overlapped with Gordon (from England), Brian (from Australia), and Daniel (from West Los Angeles). After a few days, Renee got Brian to admit he was celebrating his 50th birthday, having left his family at home.
After we returned home, we contacted Daniel when we went to Los Angeles, and had dinner with him. To hear more about Brian, see our walk of the West Highland Way.
The C2C is challenging, and walking for so many days takes a toll on your feet. Our preparation was generally good enough, and we all survived without serious problems. I think 13 days was too much, though, and don’t expect to do such a long walk again.