Archive for June, 2015

Coast to Coast June 2015 – Day 13


The final day weather was tremendous as we set off from Grosmont on the final 16 miles of our C2C. A relaxed final day and we made the most of the weather with a long and enjoyable tea stop in Littlebeck Woods at the Falling Fosse tea shop. It’s always a delight to find it and in bright dappled sunshine – it is a beautiful spot next to the waterfall.


Ladies who take tea!


the male contingent


It’s always a real pleasure to find the first signpost for RHB, you just have to remember that AW never walked in a straight line and therefore it’s always longer than the sign may say!

At last RHB comes into view across the headland….. 

Some of the group could hardly walk ………… 

The happy group at the end of 192 long miles, and out of 182 possible group walking days, they achieved 181.5 – an excellent result and the best overall achievement I’ve guided…….so far!


Thanks to everyone for making this a memorable two weeks, full of fun, hard walking, lots of unforgettable moments too many to mention and new friendships made. As ever, the Sherpa Expeditions team made it all possible and trouble free ………….apart from the 192 ish miles 😉

Visma, Maureen, Amanda, Dilshan, Zoe, Fred, Mario, Rick, Ed, Sheila, Robin, Doug and Heather – you were wonderful. Best wishes also to our other friends, Richard, Mary and Stephen who we walked many miles with along the way. We never did see what happened to Sponge Bob Square Pants, Sophie and her dad or many of the others we met along the way, but assume that they also completed the challenge. Well done to everyone, and have safe trips back home and may the memories of June 2015 and the C2C remain large.


See the website at Sherpa Expeditions to make your Coast to Coast dream a reality.


Coast to Coast June 2015 – Day 12


The penultimate day of the C2C is a short one that helps weary walkers to recover a little before the final day into Robin Hoods Bay. The 13 miles are relatively flat and descending from the moor over Fryup Dale into Glaisdale and the Esk Valley.

After visiting Fat Betty where it’s customary to leave her an offering (probably why she’s called Fat Betty) we made our way with weary limbs and aching feet into Glaisdale where the locals were out in force to greet us.


Heather, Amanda, Mario, and Fred with Fat Betty

We even managed to catch the peloton as it headed through the village !

At Beggars Bridge, Dilly found a new roommate, and it looks as if she may need less food than Fred


Dilly’s new roommate?


Amanda proves she can do two things at once

So we arrived in Grosmont for an afternoon tea and a good period of rest as we meandered around the home of the North Yorks Moors Railway, the loco shed, and watched the diesel train weekend unfold. The loco shed is accessed through a tunnel made by none other than George Stephenson ( the father of the Railways) and houses some of the most important steam trains ever built. 

The town still shows the evidence of the ironstone smelting works that used to dominate it, but also provides a pleasant diversion from the thoughts of foot weary travellers. Tomorrow we climb out of Grosmont after breakfast and begin the 16 mile finale – but it wouldn’t be Wainwright if there weren’t a few little twists and turns to come as we near the east coast with our pebbles from St Bees.


The group are going to finish strongly and with only Maureen missing one half day of the walk the completion rate is going to be very high – 92% compared to the average of 75% – a tremendous achievement. But let’s not count our chickens yet – with one day to go!

For more information on how you can become part of the Coast to Coast story see the website at Sherpa Expeditions or at Lakeland Mountain Experience

Coast to Coast June 2015 – Day 11


It’s always a tough day – 21 miles of up and down over the ‘five bumps’ after the 26 mile day. Most people have never done any walking of this length back to back and it is something of a challenge. The ascent is 1100 metres and steep up and down five times before hitting the moor for the final time, and then a long walk along the old Rosedale railway track that seems to go on for ever – not just 8 miles!

Lunch just before the Wainstones and a little bit behind schedule but still making good progress with the whole group doing really well on a hot and humid day. The climbs were certainly testing everyone’s endurance and mental fortitude.

By the time we hit the moor, we were in need of distraction and it was provided by the many grouse hens and chicks scurrying across our track in that comical way they run. Curlews and Golden Plovers also provided much needed distraction as we headed on for Blakey Ridge and the Lion Inn.

Tired muscles, aching feet and weary souls were in evidence all along the path

Finally, the Lion Inn came into view to provide welcome relief, the thought of a hot bath, sustenance and the knowledge that only 29 miles remained of the C2C. With an easier day tomorrow, the end is in sight and the entire group are doing so well, there is no question of them not walking the rest of the route. 

Blakey to Grosmont tomorrow and a simple 13 miles 😀

For more information please check the website at Sherpa Expeditions or Lakeland Mountain Experience

Coast to Coast June 2015 – Day 10


The longest day! With a diversion around Catterick, this day is close to 26 miles and always a challenge as we walk across the Vale of Mowbray through farmland to the pretty village of Osmotherley. There is a steep final climb up into Osmotherley, just in case you start to fall asleep 😉

The weather forecast according to Kermet looked ok though so it wasn’t going to be too wet

We made really good time to arrive at Streatlam (12 miles in) at noon for lunch and a sock change and everyone looked pretty good for the day.

The day includes a lot of Tarmac and when the sun came out, we were toiling in really warm weather, but I was really impressed with the pace that the group kept up – pulled on by Amanda ( aka Flo Jo). All those carrying blister and pressure injuries battled on without complaint and we overtook many of the other groups who had started ahead of us or started with a shorter distance


As we closed in on Osmotherley, we crossed the every busy A19 dual carriageway (without the aid of a safety net!!) and headed towards the last hill. It is a nasty little sting in the tail, but a steady plod ends with a view across the Vale to see the full extent of our walk from Richmond. 

At last, the weary group made Os and after a shower, cup of tea, and a good meal at the Golden Lion,we started to think about today’s 21 mile yomp across the North Yorkshire Moors – more hills to climb and the long walk along the old railway track to Blakey Ridge.

If I can get the group intact to Blakey, it will be the best success rate of all the C2C walks I’ve done with nearly all (only one half day walk missed) by one of the group – truly exceptional 😀

Dilshan (Dilly), told a couple of us last night that when he signed up for the C2C he thought the 13 day walk was 192km and not 192 miles!! How we laughed as he regaled us with his story of his friend explaining to him that it was going to ‘kill’ him 🙊. 

It looks like another hot day ahead, with only a few splashes of rain forecast – as you know cows sitting down are a sure sign of rain ………..

See you at Blakey Ridge – only 50 miles to go!

For more details on how you could become part of the Coast to Coast story, see the website at Sherpa Expeditions or Lakeland Mountain Experience

Coast to Coast June 2015 – Day 9


    Well it may not be the Grand Depart but it was a departure for a short day into Richmond. The walk is relatively flat today with some lovely hay meadows, cottage gardens, small hamlets and even a C17 transport plane entertaining us in Swaledale.

The hay meadows are a little late this year, but still very attractive as the wild flowers intermingle with the grasses. The cottage gardens are full of poppies and honeysuckle and just bursting into life.

The only problem today seems to be the fact that the midges have bitten me like mad! Bring back the cold weather please !!

  The group are doing very well, and no rest days so it looks very good to get them all across to RHB without stops 😀. They all made Richmond without any difficulty today and in plenty of time for a little retail therapy and a look around a magnificent Georgian town with its buildings. Tonight we have decided on an Italian meal together and most are looking forward to a change of menu despite some really good food along the way.



 Richmond Castle is always a good sight from afar and signals civilisation after days of Dales villages and rough walking.


  Even more welcoming is a pint of real Yorkshire Ale in the sunshine at a pub that values man’s best friend too!

    Mind you, it’s said often that Yorkshire folk speak frankly, and don’t mince their words – this sign perhaps sums it up far more succinctly than I can 🙊


Well, it’s the big one tomorrow – 25 miles across the Vale of Mowbray and it will be a test for everyone. I hope the weather is not as warm as it has been this afternoon otherwise it will be a difficult day. But if we can get tomorrow in the bag, I know the group will make Bay Town without a hitch. Fingers crossed xx.

For more details see Sherpa expeditions or Lakeland Mountain Experience and see when you can book for a Coast to Coast Challenge 

Coast to Coast June 2015 – day 8


Walking along Swaledale is the prettiest day of all 13 on our epic no matter what the weather throws at you. With a lunch stop at the Kings Arms in Gunnerside and an easy bimble of 11 1/2 miles, stopping frequently to admire the views, commune with nature. It’s a beautiful stroll that re-energises the legs, feet and mind as long as you don’t get stuck in the incredibly narrow stone stiles or Trekkers traps that lie in wait as sprung gates on the stiles.


From Gunnerside the oath crosses moors and hay meadows to follow the River Swale past the suspension bridge to lovely Reeth, the archetypal Yorkshire dales village. At its heart lies a village green surrounded by several examples of those twin institutions of Yorkshire hospitality – the tearoom and the pub! The village was used for many episodes of the 1980’s TV saga All Creatures Great and Small based on local vet James Herriot.

So far the group of 13 are walking really well – only one half day drop out so far and all moving well despite some injuries and fatigue. Without doubt, this is the fittest group so far and their determination is carrying them through each stage admirably.

Tomorrow is another day of relaxed walking – 10 1/2 miles with no hills (well I might be fibbing a little) but nothing significant, but one that allows plenty of exploration in Richmond – surely the best market town on the C 2C – roll on tomorrow !!

For more information see the website at Sherpa Expeditions or Lakeland Mountain Experience

Coast to Coast June 2015 – day 7


The red letter day as we cross the backbone of England, the Pennines from Cumbria into Yorkshire and our home for the next week. The watershed that is Nine Standards, takes all the rain to the east coast instead of the west coast now – so you could say (you’d be wrong of course) that it’s all downhill now ! We have also reached the half way stage having completed over 90 miles of our total estimated 190 odd.

Of course,most ‘Coasters’ remember about this leg is the peat bogs atop the Pennines. This transit though came as a disappointment (to me anyway) because the conditions underfoot and overhead were dry, firm, and clear. In fact the conditions were so benign, I could have worn carpet slippers.
After the non entity of the bogs, we had lunch outside the black hut on Ney Gill in bright summer sunshine (what is going on with this summer weather on the Pennines)

 Entering the gentle pastoral scenery of Swaledale is always a pleasure though and even more the welcoming sight of Keld Lodge and a pint of Black Sheep.



  The River Swale looks limp and wan as it trickles over Wainwath Force in Keld but it proves to be an idyllic spot for us to take a break while Robin takes 40 winks in the sunshine.
For more information please see the website at Sherpa Expeditions or Lakeland Mountain Experience

Coast to Coast June 2015 – day 6


Another good wholesome breakfast and it’s a long day ahead to walk from Shap to Kirkby Stephen (21miles) although most of the climbing has been left in the Lake District! But just when you think the hard days are over you might be forgiven for allowing yourself to briefly assume an easier day of reward – if you did, you don’t know AW very well! But it’s a steady undulating day to allow your increasing fitness to enjoy a realities recovery day.

Across the Westmorland plateau and limestone pavements and you arrive on to Orton Fell and views to the south of the Howgill Fells (unless as today, the mist shrouds them). Even relics and the remains of lost ‘Coasters’ can be found on the moors 😉

A morning stop at Robin Hood’s Grave, allowed us to remove waterproof over trousers and allowed Mario and Rick to remove a little more! 

  A good morning got us to Sunbiggin Tarn for lunch just before 1300 and well on time to arrive in KS by 1630 for afternoon tea and scones. Despite leaving the grandeur of the Lake District, there is still much to commend this day with the route into Oddendale, Ravenstonedale and Smardale.
We arrived in KS on schedule and in 7 1/2 hours of elapsed time, so the best day so far in terms of walking speed for a longer day. I have no worries about next week and the 25 mile day and with only one person missing a half day of walking, I am hopeful that all 13 can complete the last stages of the walk.

Tomorrow is a relatively short day at 13 miles but the legendary Pennine Peat Bogs await unwary walkers to ensure that they fully appreciate the ‘Pennine Experience’ as we move from Cumbria into Yorkshire on the Nine Standards.

For more information see Sherpa Expeditions or Lakeland Mountain Experience

Coast to Coast June 2015 – day 5


i always think that this is the hardest day of the C2C despite only being 16 miles! It starts with a good steady climb from Patterdale up to Boredale Hause before heading over to Angle Tarn and on to the highest point on the C2C at Kidsty Pike and its gnarly descent to Haweswater. It all adds up to well over 1300 metres of ascent and the peak of Kidsty at 784m.

The group set off in good heart and with only a 40% chance of precipitation during the day, another good walking day seemed to be on the cards.

On Satura Crag, you always get a great view down into Martindale to scan the valley sides for Red Deerbut they were hard to see today. However, climbing up to the Knott, they were visible silhouetted against the sky. There were at least 8 hinds and a good sized stag proudly displaying his antlers for all to see.


Red Deer silhoutted against the sky


Amanda in full flow – again!

The group were making excellent time today and we made the top of Kidsty Howes descent well before lunch.


from Kidsty Howes looking down to Haweswater


Lunchtime overlooking Haweswater

We arrived in Shap after 8 hours so averaged a very good 2mph including stops – boding well for tomorrow’s 21 mile walk to Kirkby Stephen as long as tonight’s fish and chip supper at The New Shap Chippy doesn’t weigh too heavily!
Before leaving for supper from our lovely B&B at Brookfield in Shap, we had a look at Sheila’s damaged big toes and goodness knows how she has managed to walk with two big toes under so much pressure. All I can say is that the money she is raising for Cancer Research is being earned in the hardest of ways – well done Sheila 😉

Heavy bruising under and around Sheila’s big toes

The New Shap Chippy, Shap

So, a good day 5 and so far only one walker has missed one day and with the average age of the group at one of the lowest I gave led, the signs look good for an excellent completion result well ahead of the average 75% – fingers crossed 😉
In the meantime, full English breakfast ordered for tomorrow and an early night ahead 


Bacon and sausage please!

See Lakeland Mountain Experience for more details.

Coast to Coast June 2015 – day 4


This is the shortest stage of the C2C and gives an opportunity to be deviant within reason. The direct route from Grasmere to Patterdale is a mere 8.5 miles with spectacular views back over Grasmere but also down Grisedale Valley – one of, if not the most beautiful valleys in the entire Lake District. Ullswater comes into view from Grisedale Hause and stays with you all the way into Glenridding.

So we said bye to Grasmere, resplendent with rhododendrons in full bloom and began the walk up Tongue Gill admiring the sterling work of the Fix the Fells team on the way. If you wish to donate to this very worthy cause, you can do so on the website at Fix the Fells and help continue the vital work of upland path maintenance and repair.

Unfortunately, we lost Robin early on as she realised that she had left her coat and sweater at the hotel in Grasmere and in the absence of a good phone signal, wanted to return to collect them.

It was a great shame because when we reached Grisedale Tarn the democratic decision from the group was to climb St Sunday Crag in the quest of the promised views and experience. It’s said that better views,if fewer thrills, lie in wait on the south side of the valley along St Sunday Crag. Indeed for many people, these are the best views of the whole route. What’s more, the effort to climb to St Sunday having already climbed to Grisedale Hause is by the standards of the Lake District, negligible! We reached A coffee halt just before Deepdale Hause and although the wind was evident, it failed to alert us to its full strength on the Hause!

The clouds were gathering over the Helvellyn range and threatened to carry wet weather over towards us but I decided to head the group up to the Hause and the summit. On reaching the Hause the wind was at least 50mph if not more and made walking the ridge a little exhilerating at times.

We reached the summit at 841m and the views were superb, if not tempered by the wind chill and the sheer strength of the wind. We continued over The Cape to marvel at the best panoramas on the entire Coast to Coast in all directions. I broke out my numerous spare gloves for the group and promptly witnessed Mario furiously chasing one glove downwind towards the drop over into Deepdale. Fortunately he responded to the shouts and returned gloveless but safe! I rescued the glove in a more leisurely fashion and we continued with suitable decorum 😀

Having descended into the Ullswater valley, we made our way to Fellbites Cafe in Glenridding for tea, coffee and cakes before heading to our accommodation in Patterdale. 

So after 47 miles, we head for Shap tomorrow and bid farewell to the Lake District. It won’t let us go easily though, with what I think is the most difficult day of the C2C over the highest point that is Kidsty Pike, it’s gnarly descent to Haweswater and the endless trek along the reservoir edge. Still we’ll grit our teeth and knuckle down to another day of Lakeland adventure!

For more information about guided Coast to Coast holidays see Sherpa Expeditions or Lakeland Mountain Experience

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