Posts Tagged ‘lakeland mountain experience’

Day 14 the Final Day Coast to Coast – September 2016


The final day is always a mixed blessing – soreness in the bones, some thoughts perhaps of getting back to work or normality, even some thoughts of ‘never again’! Nonetheless, the day is here and we leave Egton Bridge to head for Bay Town. The day is relatively straightforward with no big climbs other than Grosmont hill and then a gentle meander through Littlebeck Wood with a halt at the Falling Foss Tea shop to entertain us.

Once past Littleneck, we climb up on to the last piece of the NY Moors before seeing the coast in front of us. It always looks a similar sight to the one we left two weeks ago in St Bees – but that was Wainwright’s tidy mind to give the challenge some symmetry.


So as we walked into Robin Hood’s Bay, all that remained was to walk down to the beach, wet our feet in the North Sea and fling our pebbles carried from the Irish Sea at St Bees into the North Sea at Robin Hood’s Bay.

The triumphant Coasters September 2016

Apologies for the delay in posting but as some of you know, we had a close family bereavement on the penultimate day and this overshadowed everything over the last week.

Well done to all the Coasters and may the memories, good and bad, last longer than your blisters!


Coast to Coast – Days 10-13 Richmond to Osmotherly, Blakey Ridge and Egton Bridge


Richmond to Osmotherly is one a 26 mile slog across the Vale of Mowbray – and somehow comes as a ‘surprise’ to many Coasters for some reason – it is well documented as a hard day and THAT it is. With and average daily speed of 2 mph so far on the C2C  this promises to be a long 13 hour day unless you pick up the pace when you can on the flat.

Alan waits patiently for departure in Richmond - he obviously knows something!

Alan waits patiently for departure in Richmond – he obviously knows something!

I’m always struck that people who embark on the C2C don’t realise how hard a challenge it is. Henry Stedman says “let us be clear – the Coast to Coast is a tough trek, particularly if undertaken in one go”. Ramblers describe it as ‘challenging’ and they’re not wrong – so it’s always a bit of a surprise that Coasters suddenly make comments about not having time to take photographs, or that it’s a tough day, or that it’s not a race. It’s simply a matter of making sure that you get into your lodgings in time for a shower, meal and recuperation in good time.

So the day across the Vale of Mowbray is long and flat and can take up to 12 hours unless you manage your route well and take advantage of the flat and easily walked terrain.

Still a fair way to go yet Ladies!! Not sure Tai Chi, will help!

Still a fair way to go yet Ladies!! Not sure Tai Chi, will help!


Well - there you go - 25 miles done and that's how you may feel!

Well – there you go – 25 miles done and that’s how you may feel!

So we made it for showers, blister dressing and a hobble to the Golden Lion for a sleep infused meal.

Coming up next is a superb 20 mile day across the Cleveland Hills and on to the N Yorks Moors with some morale crushing ascents and descents. We left Bob and Christine to make their way to Blakey Ridge by vehicle due to tired muscles, sore knees and a desire to complete the remaining two days – a sensible option!

The view to The Wainstones from the top of Kirby Bank

The view to The Wainstones from the top of Kirby

Today’s pace was slow at less than 2 mph (not helped by tea and scones before lunch at Lord Stones) but that’s what the group craved and that’s what they got. Nobody admitted to the fact that the cream scones were weighing heavily on their body’s but the pace gradually slowed. When we hit the flat old rail track, it slowed dramatically apart from the spearhead contingent of Steve, Alan, Paul, Sam, Sue, and Kathy who kept up a consistent and steady pace to the end.

Spot the Famous Grouse!

Spot the Famous Grouse!

Food and drink at the Lion at Blakey is plentiful and good so another good meal and rest was the recipe for most!

The next day is a very easy 10 miles to Egton Bridge – downhill all the way – yes that’s true. So we arrived mid afternoon with a lot of time to recuperate and relax before our final day of 17 1/2 miles. Breakfast is later in this sleepy part of the U.K. So a leave time of 0845 looks likely and at our rate of walking I estimate arrival into the top of the Bay at around 1700.

As far as I’m aware at the moment, all 13 Coasters will be walking so that will give this group an 84% achievement rate – ahead of the average – so fingers crossed!

Coast to Coast – Day 9 – Reeth to Richmond

Swifts gather on the wires contemplating their imminent departure to the Sahara Desert in one flight.

Swifts gather on the wires contemplating their imminent departure to the Sahara Desert in one flight.

Well here we are with another easy stroll through delightful countryside alongside the River Swale – 10 1/2 miles of recovery, which  is just as well because we have 25+ miles across the Vale of Mowbray tomorrow. Overall, today’s walk is not a spectacular day as we leave the Pennines behind but with the sun shining, it makes an exceedingly pleasant one.

As with most of our days, we don’t get very far without paying homage to a very important place – this one is no more than 15 metres from our hotel but was still visited!

The most important trip of any day for some. This one no more than 15m from our hotel door at the very start of our day.

The most important trip of any day for some. This one no more than 15m from our hotel door at the very start of our day.

So having spent a penny or two, we were off. A nice easy day to Richmond and the largest settlement on the C2C. A busy market town built around the 11th century castle built by Alan the Red.

The route to Richmond is truly uneventful, with few hills and a couple of pleasant villages interspersed with lush hay meadows. The real highlight is arriving above Richmond town and seeing the castle in the centre – and of course a lofty view to our next destination – the Cleveland Hills and Osmotherly way off some 25 miles as the crow flies!

So little to report today – no new injuries or mal de mer to contemplate – the only contemplation being where to eat this evening in Richmond.

108 miles under our feet with approximately 84 to tread.

Coast to Coast – September 2016 – day 6 Shap to Kirkby Stephen


Todays hike across the Westmorland Plateau doesn’t have prolonged gradients or rocky sole-mashing trails, just genteel grassy strolls across the limestone bedrock . So all in all, after the previous 5 days of volcanic rock in the Lake District, this is a recovery day, especially with improving fitness levels.

A mere 21 miles across steady undulating fields and moorland with barely a hill in sight walking towards the Pennines and the backbone of England.

The day was planned to start with me walking from Brookfield at the far end of the enormous Shap high street to collect the main party from the Kings Arms at 0830 while Steve was to leave Brookfield with Bob, Helen, and Sam at 0830 taking a short route to the M6 footbridge. All was on plan until Bob decided at 0830 to wash his boots and then leave the B&B without paying for his packed lunch! So little did I know this slip in timings was to be the feature of today. We averaged 2.7 mph yesterday over the mountains to Shap and with a flat and easy day ahead, one could easily see that previous arrival times in KS of 1600/1630 could be easily achieved.

The weather was kind, with sunshine all day adding to the ingredients for a perfect day of walking. As we reached Hardendale Quarry, the group began to spread out highlighting that some were already starting to struggle and this become more pronounced throughout the morning. Blisters, muscle strains, fatigue, and some of the groups inability to walk any faster meant that our pace slowed to 2.3 mph, much slower than the previous day!

Managing group dynamics with a very spread out group becomes more difficult and potentially hazardous in poorer conditions but we walked on to Smardale Bridge before re-grouping effectively. More pain relieving gel, painkillers, and anti inflammatory pills were taken in an effort to boost performance over the last 6 miles.

However, it managed to get the group to the destination, but without improving our walking time, arriving at 1745 in Kirkby Stephen after nearly 9 hours. This left a very quick turnaround time for cream teas and scones, showers, baths etc at The Jolly Farmers, before dinner at 1900 at The Black Bull.

A couple of short days with some ‘interesting’ topographical features to negotiate lie ahead – here’s hoping that a good nights rest and two more easy days can revitalise  everyone before our two long and hard days from Richmond to Os, and Os to Blakey Ridge.

The weather still looks good though – so we have no excuses there – fingers crossed X

No - it's not I'm a Celebrity, get me out of here - more like, I'm sorry but Bob wanted to wash his boots!

No – it’s not I’m a Celebrity, get me out of here with Steve walking across the bridge at Shap – more like, I’m sorry but Bob wanted to wash his boots – that’s why we’re late!

For more details on the Coast to Coast guided walk see


Coast to Coast – September 2016 – Day 5


Day 5 from Patterdale to Shap is a 16 mile trek over the highest point of the C2C at Kidsty Pike with a sharp descent over Kidsty Howes to the shores of Haweswater.

First we need to climb some after breakfast to Boredale Hause and Angle Tarn.

Angle Tarn from from Stoney Rigg - the sun just breaking through the cloud

Angle Tarn from from Stoney Rigg – the sun just breaking through the cloud

We left Christine and Bob in Patterdale today – Bob not wanting to risk  his knee on the steep descent from Kidsty Howes and Christine recovering to get fit for the walk on Saturday to Kirkby Stephen. Bob took a taxi to Shap and walked back to meet us at the bottom of Kidsty and probably walked further than we did overall! Good effort Bob – although the crate of beer he promised us seemed to have been taken before we got there!

The team at Kidsty Pike minus Bob and Christine

The team at Kidsty Pike minus Bob and Christine


Looking down to Haweswater from Kidsty Howes

Looking down to Haweswater from Kidsty Howes

The group are walking well overall, with Steve, Alan, Paul and Sam all leading the way at the front. Andrea is our flat ground expert with the rest of us tagging along between. The average speed today was 1.8 mph so it’s all looking positive for tomorrow with some flatter land and less rocky terrain as we leave the Lake District behind.

Everyone seems to be enjoying each other’s company and Alan and Anne apparently shared a bath this evening! I thought it best not to try and seek clarification on the statement! Meanwhile, Paul and Sue our married couple continue to have an early meal and bedtime to recharge their batteries.

Everyone seems to be managing their feet and aches well and so far we have no major issues to worry about.

What a view!

What a view!

So a good meal tonight and a 21 mile day tomorrow awaits us.

See you tomorrow from Kirkby Stephen!


Coast to Coast September 2016


Well here we go again with another group of ‘Coasters’ courtesy of Sherpa Expeditions. 13 plucky adventurers from Australia, USA and the U.K. ready to take on the 192 miles over two weeks.
I’ll keep you updated via the blog and you never know – maybe you will be inspired to take the challenge on the best long distance walk in the UK.

Coast to Coast May 2016 – The End


It’s always a bitter sweet day when the final walk into Robin Hoods Bay arrives. The weather was dry with a hint of early morning drizzle for our last 17 1/2 miles from Egton Bridge to RHB.

Stepping across the River Esk

Stepping across the River Esk

After a couple of miles we reached Grosmont (lit. Big Hill) and with a calf popping 230m climb out of the town, it had us all puffing a little harder (except Trevor who loves hills more than Full English Breakfasts)!

At least we got to see a steam train departing at Grosmont

At least we got to see a steam train departing at Grosmont

So we climbed up on to Sleights Moor and gained our first view of Whitby Abbey on our way to Littlebeck. I had promised everyone a coffee stop at Falling Foss in the woods – a delightful tea garden but the signs warned us of an impending wedding at the garden and closure at 1130! After a hasty dash through the woods, we made it for a brunch. With only 7 miles walked in 4 hours as we left the garden, I was anticipating a late arrival into the Bay.

Falling Foss Tea Garden

Falling Foss Tea Garden

Trevor scraping the barrel

Trevor scraping the barrel

Negotiating the mossy stones across Little Beck near Falling Foss - Mark shows the way

Negotiating the mossy stones across Little Beck near Falling Foss – Mark shows the way to Kelly

With Jo’s, Liz’s and Karen’s blistered feet, Kelly’s mushed toes, Mark’s ‘dead legs’ there was only Cheryl, Trevor and me walking on air! I needn’t have worried though. The walk over the moor was as if the group were on drugs – oh wait – they were – Ibuprofen at least as far as Jo was concerned – enough to dull the pain caused by her blisters Bob and Betty who were not giving her an easy time at all!

After a good yomp across the Moors, Trevor needed to treat himself to a reward – yep – a light snack by way of an ice cream

'Just a top up Malcolm' - it's Bootiful - just like these fleece lined trousers to keep me warm!

‘Just a top up Malcolm’ – it’s Bootiful – just like these fleece lined trousers to keep me warm!

So as they say in war movies, “over the top we went” and down to the cliffs of the North Sea Coast

The North Sea always looks like the Mediterranean on arrival  - look at that sun kissed sea!

The North Sea always looks like the Mediterranean on arrival – look at that sun kissed sea!

The final 3 miles melted away as we drew close to the end of this particular pilgrimage paying homage to Alfred Wainwright. He has been revered, respected, cursed and dreaded for what he has led the group to do – but for all that they have succeeded!

Bay Town at last - 192 miles and many aches and pains later

Bay Town at last – 192 miles and many aches and pains later

After checking into our accommodation, it was down to the end and the ritual of depositing our carried pebbles from the Irish Sea into the North Sea.

Liz escapes the pebble throwing ceremony just as the waves engulf the rest!

Liz escapes the pebble throwing ceremony just as the waves engulf the rest!

Liz's pebble caught on camera mid chuck!

Liz’s pebble caught on camera mid chuck!

So with a mix of emotions, it was off to celebrate the achievement and contemplate what next…………..


It’s been a wonderful crossing with only a half day of rain, and plenty of sunshine to help us across. There has been torment, pain, agony and ecstasy en route and finally the joy of the finish.

The Coast to Coast is a challenging walk over 192 miles, three national parks, mountains, hills, bogs, vales and coastline – each bringing their own brand of challenge.

Well done, and congratulations to Cheryl, Jo, Karen, Kelly, Liz, Mark, and Trevor for an epic journey that you’ll never forget. It has been a pleasure to guide you for the past two weeks and good luck with your next challenge – don’t let it be your last – no matter what you do.


If you would like to take the challenge, contact Sherpa Expeditions at

Coast to Coast – May 2016 Day 12


The penultimate day and we are back to full strength for the 11 miles from Blakey Ridge to Egton Bridge. It’s all downhill today (literally) and suits some but not all!

Mark suffered from his post ‘race’ exertions with Trevor yesterday along the old railway track to Blakey. Muscle fatigue hit his legs ( not due to Black Sheep he declared) and he kept a watching brief on the group from the tail 🙊

The wind through the night was pretty wild and no less so when we left Blakey – gusting to 35mph and a wind chill of 4c taking it down to about 8c! This made it positively ‘baltic’ for our Australian Coasters – normal May temps for us Brits!

Passing Fat Betty and on through Great Fryup Dale, we stopped for tea at the Glaisdale Tea Garden and enjoyed scones, tea cakes, and cake in the summer sun!

Karen, Cheryl and Kelly from Australia enjoy a UK summer tea in the garden

Karen, Cheryl and Kelly from Australia enjoy a UK summer tea in the garden

Hardy Brits Liz, Trevor and Mark  enjoy summer sun

Hardy Brits Liz, Trevor and Mark enjoy summer sun (Trevor having just mopped up the spare cream, jam and milk! – using his knife too – what would his wife say?

So tea done and it was a short roll down the hill to Beggars Bridge, through the woods and into Egton Bridge and the Horseshoe Hotel for an early afternoon libation (sleep for Mark though!)

Tomorrow is our last day – 17 miles to Robin Hoods Bay and the termination of this crossing. It’ll be a sad farewell on Sunday after breakfast to this lovely group of people. They have been an absolute pleasure to lead across the 192 miles with laughter, fun, some pain, but above all some brilliant moments that will live forever hopefully in all of our memories.

Still, one more day to go and the opportunity to enjoy the walk into The Bay and celebrate a tremendous achievement by all of the ‘Magnificent Seven’


Coast to Coast – May 2016 – day 11


After yesterday’s 26 mile day, a number of us are feeling the pain of a long hard walk across the Vale of Mowbray. It may be flat, but it requires a huge degree of effort, determination, stamina, and luck to finish the day without blisters, muscle strains or a collapse of morale!

So it was with sadness and regret that two of our Magnificent 7 opted for a rest and recuperation day. Today is not an easy day with 21 miles on offer and over 1000m of ascent over the ‘5 lumps’ on the way! So the ‘Famous Five’ tackled today’s challenge.

The weather forecast was dry with strong ne winds and cloud so it wouldn’t be as hot as yesterday with something like 15c – that in itself was good after some of us suffering sun burn from yesterday!

Setting off after the usual breakfast vitals, (but only 1 breakfast for Trevor today but Mark was back on the FEB after his healthy smoked haddock yesterday).

After hitting Carlton Moor (408m) we dropped down to Lord Stones cafe for tea and cake as a late elevenses.


Coffee and cake at Lord Stones Cafe

From Lord Stones, it’s a climb up and down 4 times, each presenting different gradients and difficulty – Cringle Moor at 432m, Broughton Bank at 402m, Wain Stones at 390m, and finally Hasty Bank at 398m before our lunch break at Clay Bank Top. The visibility closed in with heavy cloud and mist with a strong NE wind so the view up to Wain Stones was a little restricted! From then it’s a climb back up to Urra Moor at 454m and heading due east towards Bloworth Crossing.


The view to Wain Stones from Kirby Bank

The view to Wain Stones from Kirby Bank


Mark - Horse Whisperer!

Mark – Horse Whisperer!

At Bloworth Crossing, Trevor clearly had expended his energy nursing his tight hamstring and felt a quick ‘Grandad Nap’ was the thing to do to restore his prowess.

Sleeping Beauty!

Sleeping Beauty!

From Bloworth Crossing, the remainder of the day is a steady walk along the old railway bed to Blakey Ridge. Most of us took it steady apart from Mark and Trevor who effectively supercharged their macho moods and raced each other along the track. Such was their fervour that together with a competitive edge and the low cloud, they both missed the turn up to our destination at Blakey Ridge. On arrival, we realised their schoolboy error and proceeded to shower, bath etc while I waited for them to realise that they had gone too far. Fortunately, knowing the area well, I knew exactly where they’d be and when the pair arrive 40 minutes after us, all that was said was ‘Tortoise and Hare’ to much amusement all round.

Wain Stones ascent

Wain Stones ascent

The group made light work of the climbs today and it’s proof positive that their fitness levels are increasing day by day.

The Famous Five

The Famous Five

So tomorrow us a relatively easy day at 11 miles, so a later than usual breakfast and a leisurely departure time – plenty of blister dressing time!

Hopefully, we’ll be back to the Magnificent 7 tomorrow too 😀 – getting close to the final day now and already it seems to have flown by. Well done Liz, Jo, Kelly, Trevor and Mark for such a strong day after the 26 miles of yesterday – truly amazing!

Coast to Coast May 2016 – Day 9


Twelve miles from Reeth to Richmond is nothing for this group now – bouncing along like the proverbial Spring lambs we see every day!

The day started with us walking through Reeth village green and Jo being greeted by a window festooned with support for her charity walk. Jo is raising funds for Macmillan and Cancer Research so please give generously for this worthy cause by visiting the Just Giving website and searching for Jo Randall – I can promise you that she is walking hard with blisters and the pain and discomfort they are giving in the aid of raising funds – she is going the extra mile on a daily basis for the cause of these charities!

Jo Randall raising funds for Macmillan and Cancer Research

Jo Randall raising funds for Macmillan and Cancer Research

In all other respects today started as normal, the ladies beginning the day with a healthy option breakfast and Mark, Trevor and myself opting for the Super Full English Breakfast, preceded by cereal, and followed by toast and marmalade. As per usual, Trevor polished off the sausage that Mark couldn’t eat with his usual aplomb.

The blister friends that Jo has been living with are still there, Karen and Cheryl have worked their way through 5 packs of Compeed (25 blister treatments), a roll of duct tape, and various other dressings in the 120 or so miles so far – shares in local pharmacy’s are seeing massive rises according to the local press! Kelly’s toes are mashed but her new style of walking (aka the Ministry of Silly Walks and John Cleese) seems to be helping a lot with relieving the pressure. Liz is suffering sore feet but so far is walking strongly with no new injuries to concern her with now that she has reverted to her old boots. I am sure Mark’s success so far is due to the calorific intake obtained from his constant supply of Full English breakfasts – although I am privately worried that he will suffer tomorrow as he has ordered smoked haddock for breakfast and I fear it far too healthy for his honed metabolism! Meanwhile, Trevor keeps leading from the front, eating all that he can get hold of and walking like an automaton across every kind of surface.

We are Italian tonight and he let is know that this was a first for him – having never been to an Italian restaurant in his life. Well Mrs Hart – a King Prawn Salad starter, a lasagne, the remains of Karen’s ravioli, the rest of Liz’s cannelloni, and a modicum of Mark’s garlic bread with cheese later – he has sampled a good portion of the restaurant menu! It’s no wonder he requires a mid morning Granda nap just to prepare for the upcoming meal’s.

Trevor allowing his digestive system to work up an appetite during a mid morning coffee stop

Trevor allowing his digestive system to work up an appetite during a mid morning coffee stop – where does all that food go?

Throughout the morning we walked through some lovely grass meadows and glades full of emerging bluebells and violets with plenty of primroses lining the sun kissed banks.

At this time of year, there are all kinds of wonders to see, with livestock starting new lives as well as plants and trees.

Moooove over Mum

Moooove over Mum


It’s still special to see the lambs gambolling in the meadows and see how happy they seem to be in the spring sunshine.


The seasons are wonderful and when you do the C2C at different times of the year, each crossing brings new sights, sounds and smells.


With our destination coming into view mid afternoon, we found a group photo opportunity in Richmond and headed to our accommodation for some to take ablutions and for others to nap, shop, or eat (Trevor).

Welcome to Richmond

Welcome to Richmond

Tomorrow is a BIG day – 26 miles from Richmond to Osmotherley across the Vale of Mowbray (not a pork pie in sight!). I’m pretty confident we’ll arrive before dark but I know they are going to be very beaten up by the relentless need to get the miles in. Still, one day at a time and no need to look any further than tomorrow. So it’s breakfast at 0645 in the morning and off as soon as we can.

Please don’t forget that Jo and Trevor need your support for their charities of choice and both will be highly appreciative of anything you can give.

If you want to see how you can make your own crossing of the Coast to Coast, see the website at


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