Truth be told, the Coast to Coast walk was never on my radar.  My close friend and fellow wine hiker, Kari, completed the Coast to Coast Walk 15 years ago and wanted to do it again.  Would I go with her? Could I go with her?


Kari asked if I was okay with her taking care of all the arrangements, and I insisted, “What do I need to do?” Carve out about three weeks for the travel time, a little sightseeing, and the walk. Easy! Not really, but I got it all sorted out.

Let’s Talk Logistics of Our Coast to Coast Walk

To get there, we flew into Edinburgh, Scotland; boarded a bus to Carlisle, England; and took a train to St. Bees.

Our journey was essentially a series of day hikes. We carried daypacks with quality rain gear, navigational tools, first aid kit, gloves, hat, food, water, and a positive attitude. A transport van delivered our small suitcases to the nightly accommodations that Kari had arranged for each day. An extra set of hiking gear, pajamas, toiletries, a set of “dinner” clothes, and shoes were all the extras we had.

Each day consisted of a hearty breakfast, a long walk through beautiful places, checking into the accommodations for the night, a delicious dinner, and a pint (or two) of English beer.

From the Irish Sea through the Lake District

The Coast to Coast Walk begins at St. Bees and the shoreline of the Irish Sea.  Keeping with hiker tradition, Kari and I dipped our toes in the Irish Sea and collected a stone. Off we went! The coastline of the Irish Sea was our guide northbound for the first few miles. Then, we took a right turn and headed east towards the North Sea.


The second high route I will call “The Craggy Route.” Day three took us up to and around Lining Crag, Calf Crag, Helm Crag, and the Lion and the Lamb.  That’s a lot of crags in high places!


Days two, three, and four of our walk we hiked high! By that, I mean we took the high routes of the Coast to Coast Walk. The first of the high routes took us up and over HayStacks Fell.  My legs quickly discovered that England is not flat. The climb and small scramble to the summit was worth the effort!


Our third and final high route I will call “What the Helvellyn?”  In between the lovely villages of Grasmere and Patterdale is a route that I would not recommend to the faint of heart. We hiked high up to Helvellyn Mountain. As if the climb up to the summit wasn’t hard enough, we then had to descend down the treacherous Swirral Edge back to the main trail.


North York Moors to the North Sea

Hills and fields covered in heather were the backdrop as we traveled through the North York Moors. Misty rain and fog drifted in and out, allowing us to catch a glimpse of the lovely scenery every so often. Nesting curlews called out to us with their interesting songs. Red grouse hid amongst the heather and were fun to spot with their red “eyebrows” giving them away.


With just three more days of walking ahead of us, we were tired. Our friend Jenny (also a WHS member) joined us the day before entering the North York Moors. She lifted our spirits and put a little pep back into our step for the final section of the walk. The three of us decorated our packs with coronation swag and wore tiaras on May 6th to celebrate the crowning of King Charles III. God save the King!


The Yorkshire Dales

After approximately 66 miles, the trail took us through the more mellow terrain of the Yorkshire Dales. We walked over rolling hills, through the dales, across plenty of paddocks, and climbed countless stiles for the next 85 miles. The scenery was ever changing,  so we kept our heads on a swivel to take in all of the beauty of the English countryside. One of the many highlights of this section of the trail was walking up to the summit of Hartley Fell and seeing the Nine Standards Rigg.

And we did a little sheep herding!


We dropped Jenny off at the train station in Grosmont on the last day and continued to the North Sea. When we reached Robin Hood’s Bay,  Kari and I threw the stones we carried with us from the Irish Sea into the North Sea.  This act completed our Coast to Coast Walk.


Here are some of the statistics from our Coast to Coast Walk:

  • 200 miles
  • 13 days of walking
  • 15 miles averaged per day
  • 1 rest day
  • 3 high routes
  • Countless lambs
  • Plenty of pints of beer
  • Loads of laughs
  • A few tears
  • And a million memories


Final Thoughts on Our Coast to Coast Walk

The Good: The weather was in our favor for the majority of the walk. Cool but sunny days had us moving quickly and kept the rain gear in our packs.

The Bad: Some days were long. Really long! Seventeen, 20, 24 miles long. Our bodies took a toll, but thankfully we avoided any serious injuries that would have sidelined us.

The Boggy: Some terrain we traveled through was not pleasant. Especially the peat bogs! Wet feet. Sinking up to my knees. Add to that high winds, sleet, and fog. Ugh!

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”  Alfred Wainwright