2 friends and the coast to coast walk

St Bees to Ennerdale by theshed
September 5, 2008, 4:44 pm
Filed under: The Walk

Start of walk photoWe woke up to weather that was, let’s say, less than perfect.  When we looked out of the B&B window it was overcast, raining and not exactly tempting.  However, both of us were so excited that the start had finally rocked round that it didn’t really matter what the weather was like we were just itching to get cracking and get our walking boots on.

So it was showers for both of us and on with some walking gear and downstairs for some breakfast.  I can’t remember what I had but it was along the lines of Coco Pops (cereal of champions!), toast and a full english.  Way more than I should have had and way more than I needed for the relatively easy day to come.  At breakfast we met our first two fellow Coast to Coasters.  Wayne and Linley (who you’ll hear more about later) came into the breakfast room about 10 mins after us.  The Olympics were on and I starting smiling as soon as I heard their accents…they were (and still are) Australian so to be in the same room as two Aussies while we were actually higher than them in the medals tables was a moment to treasure.  Brief introductions were exchanged and breakfast was finished then it was out the door.

The start of the walk took us out the door and down the beach to the start proper.  Since we’d done the rituals in the sun the night before we stopped to take the photo above and then it was heads well and truly tucked into waterproofs before setting off up and along St Bees Head.

I can imagine the walk along St Bees Head on a sunny day is an absolutely gorgeous one.  You should be able to see the Isle of Man out in the Irish Sea and as you head north you should be able to see the Scottish coastline.  Of course, all we saw was cloud.  We scootered along at a fair old pace despite the path being narrow, slippy, boggy and with a large drop to the left.  We passed our first ladder stile of the trip and Michelle’s first one ever before turning east and heading towards Robin Hoods Bay rather than away from it.

After the boggy coastal path we thought the going must only get better.  How wrong we were.  As we approached Cleator we headed into a field that was ankle deep in water.  No matter where we tried we were just sinking.  It had only taken Michelle’s boots 10mins to decide to leak so they really weren’t up for this challenge.  Neither were mine.  We knew it had rained plenty but we couldn’t understand why the field was so water logged until we came across the spring in the middle of it.  By now our feet were soaking and it was a good 4 days before they dried out totally.  Our first river crossing didn’t really phase us that much after that field.

So through Moor Row we went.  There’s nothing there to stop for and for one of the first destinations on the walk it’s pretty grim.  We had hoped to grab a bite to eat but after a quick chat with a local he pointed us to Cleator pie shop for refreshments.  It turned out to be right on the route and a lovely little shop.  I highly recommend it as a stopping point for your first lunch and if you’re lucky the curious sheep might even be there on your way past.

Dent Summit with Peter and JudyWe sat and ate our lunch and then headed off to tackle Dent.  It was at that point that I figured out I really shouldn’t eat anything before picking off a bigish hill.  We put down a fair old pace, enough to make my head steam in 16 degree weather, caught up with Pete and Judy our second Aussie fellow C2Cers and checked out the view of Sellafield from the top of Dent.  That was our first hill done and dusted.

The rest of the walk seemed to pass by in a flash.  We headed down Dent, the steep way, where I fell on my arse for the first and last time and then headed along Nannycatch Beck.  A word of warning…don’t turn right too early.  When you reach the bottom of Dent the views of the valley are awesome and you can easily get distracted.  The route you want to take is to go round to the left of Dent a little way until you see the white C2C sign painted on a rock.  This will lead you up a silver trail.  We decided to take a little detour hopping over the beck a couple of times and then turning back on ourselves to rejoin the route.

It didn’t take long to bump into a few horses coming from the stables where we were due to stay and after that it didn’t take long to actually reach our B&B, Low Cock How Farm.  When we got there it turned out that we were the only ones staying that night so it was a cottage all to ourselves.  We hit the shower, grabbed a cup of tea, chucked the boots in front of the log burner and walked down into Ennerdale Bridge itself (about 1 mile away) to grab some food.  After the expensive (£8) taxi ride back we settled in for a bit of reading and then before we knew it we were ready for bed.

All in all it was a lovely first day despite the weather and the underfoot conditions.  The next day though was the start of Lakeland proper!


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