2 friends and the coast to coast walk

Cheers Fitness Footwear by theshed
November 30, 2008, 6:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Well the walk is now over but our walking continues.  For me the walking continues in new boots since my trusty Grisport boots gave way on me towards the end of the walk.  While I was putting them on at Park House I noticed the soles had cracked and the sides were splitting.  They lasted the rest of the walk but now they are in boot heaven along with all the other well walked pairs.

While I was on the walk I got an email from fitnessfootwear.com offering me some free boots in exchange for a link on this blog and a review of their boots and service.  I’m not sure whether it was some great coincidental timing or whether they had been reading my Twitter status about the boots but either way I jumped at the chance of not forking out for more boots.  They offered Michelle some too so she’ll be following up with a review at some point.

With it coming up to winter and us fancying some winter walking I opted for the fairly sturdy pair of Merrells to the right.  And so begins the review…

Their website seems simple enough.  I have to admit to not using the payment section but most websites are pretty similar these days.  The trouble with websites though is an obvious one, you can’t try on the boots before you try.  Every good walker likes to check the fit.  I’m not sure what their returns policy is either so I couldn’t tell you if you could get them and then easily send them back if they didn’t fit.

The boots arrived fairly quickly and they arrived by Royal Mail which is always good by me.  I hate most courier companies, especially City Link, since if you’re not in the force their own delivery schedule onto you.  Royal Mail I can just pop to the nearest delivery office.

Anyway, the boots.

I love Merrell shoes and haven’t bought anything else for about 4 years now except for some lightweight gym shoes so I expected a lot from these boots and I haven’t been disappointed.  Looking at them you would think they are heavy but they aren’t.  They’re not the lightest boot on the market but they are well worth the weight.  The eyelets on the boot are fantastic, having ball bearings so the pressure of the laces are evenly distributed across the whole boot.  It does make it slightly more difficult to maintain the pressure across the laces as you tighten them but that’s not too bad.  There is one problem with the laces and that’s the lace locks, they’re just not good enough.  They’re too small and fiddly so to get the laces into them quickly and easily is difficult.  They should be bigger.

The soles are nice and stiff, maybe a little stiff for some but for the amount of weight I carry (115kg + pack weight) they are great.  The uppers are stiff too which led to a little bit of soreness around the toe bend when I first started wearing them.  They are still softening up but they should be fine.

Breathability seems pretty impressive for a full leather boot.  I was expecting my feet to be horribly sweaty after walking but they weren’t any better or worse than my other boots.  One thing is for sure, these boots are warm.  The walks we’ve been on haven’t been cold but my feet have always been toasty, a little too toasty on a couple of occasions.

These boots also seem to be very waterproof.  I’ve purposely put them through plenty of puddles and long wet grass and not one bit of water has got through.  Wet grass used to be the worst for my other boots, soaking them rather quickly.  It doesn’t bother these ones.

The last thing that I noticed was the grip.  First time out they didn’t seem too grippy and I was a bit worried they wouldn’t do too well on grassy slopes.  Now that they’ve been on a few trips they seem as grippy as they need to be.  The sole clears grit quickly but they weren’t so good clearing particularly clay heavy mud.  That day got the old calves working as my boots got a few pounds heavier.

All in all I’m well chuffed with the boots and I’m well chuffed with Fitness Footwear.


Heading Home by gleavem
November 13, 2008, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

We awoke to the most beautiful morning, rather ironic after the miserable fog of yesterday, but much appreciated as it certainly lifted our spirits, which could otherwise have been a little deflated upon realising that our adventure was over.

Lovely View
We did have one last little bit of excitement; our neighbours at the B&B did a runner!  We felt really sorry for Jayne, she was a lovely host and didn’t deserve to be duped out of two nights’ payment.  Despite this commotion we enjoyed a great breakfast, chatted with some other walkers and then headed out for a mooch around Robin Hood’s Bay in the SUN!  Our new found hobby of bench counting was easily continued, as RHB is practically bursting at the seams with them (those at the top of the mega hill being the most popular).  Sid’s sister Amy was kind enough to pick us up, so we treated her to a cheese toasty before she drove us back to our little car (we’re too kind!).

After a little lunch we got in the car and drove the 300+ miles home; driving was strange and covering more miles in a matter of hours than we’d covered in two weeks on foot was even stranger! Even though we’d walked 20 miles just the day before, we would both gladly have stopped the car and walked 20 more and couldn’t believe it was really over.  We stopped at Bluewater, walked around a bit (for a change), but bought nothing! Before we knew it we were home, sleeping in our own beds and back at work.

Chilling at RHB

So it’s finally over.  We’d do it again at a drop of a hat, and really can’t recommend it highly enough.


The End

Glaisdale to Robin Hoods Bay by theshed
November 11, 2008, 10:37 pm
Filed under: last steps | Tags: , ,

Our final day started with a breakfast fit for Kings.  It was a day that we’d been looking forward and dreading at the same time.  We couldn’t wait to make our destination and see the North Sea but it would mean our journey would be over.  I didn’t want it to be over, I’d had such an amazing time on the walk.

Gorgeous misty morning shotWe left the B&B and headed past Beggars Bridge stopping to take a few photos.  We crossed the river and turned left…a little too early.  We ended up skirting along the very edge of the river when we should’ve gone up some steps and then turned left.  Our mistake meant that we came into a lovely spot and took the photo on the left.  We started looking for a place to get up the river bank but we ended up having to turn round and head back to the correct start.  It was only a hundred meters or so, not too much of a big deal.

The start of that days walking, coming out of Glaisdale and through the woods was some of the best walking on the whole journey, definitely equal to the walk alongside Ennerdale Water.  I think I might be slightly biased since I love woodland walking but it was amazing.  Our B&B owner had said it was beautiful walking, following the old monk trails, and we weren’t disappointed.  As you walk over the concave stepping stones you just know that hundreds of feet have past in the same directions hundred of years before.

The woodland path led on to Egton Bridge where we opted for the stepping stone route, the road route didn’t sound that appealing.  Then it was through Egton Bridge and onto Grosmont.  At Grosmont we stopped for some sandwiches and waited for one of the trains to head out of the station.  We didn’t hang around long before we headed up a very long arduous road climb out of the Esk Valley.

The days walking was a mixed one and this is where it started to get a little dull.  Out of Grosmont you head up the road and back onto some heather moors.  I was looking forward to the view of Whitby and the first view of the North Sea on the trip.  I was a bit disappointed when I was robbed by the fog.  It wasn’t long though until we crossed Sleights Moor and hit Little Beck.  We stopped on bench number 17, there were a lot of benches on the last day, and grabbed a little bite to eat before heading through the woods.

The HermitageThe woods that Little Beck and May Beck run through are very cool.  It seemed to take ages to get through them, not least because we kept stopping and chatting to people.  First up was a woman who was walking her Labradors, they were working gun dogs so they were bounding all of the place.  I wish I could cover that much distance uphill in such a short time.  Then we stopped just outside The Hermitage and chatted to another couple.  I wasn’t really paying much attention to them since I’d been dying to see The Hermitage since Day 1.  It’s a weird carved out boulder in the middle of the woods.  Very cool.  Then we stopped and briefly chatted to someone near the Falling Foss waterfall.  Then after that we sat and had some lunch.

After all that stopping we thought we should put down a pace and we did so, for a short while anyway.  We were forced to stop again in short order as the map made us think we’d been turned round again.  It didn’t help that we met another family who were insisting they were going the right way.  One thing for sure was that they were defintely not going the right way.  We let them press on a little and pushed on ourselves down the route the family went.  It wasn’t long until we caught up to them and by that time we were sure of our location and direction.  We set them right and headed off down May Beck.

Once you come out of the woods at May Beck car park you turn up the road and head back up onto moors.  I think I had started to dislike moors walking by now and wasn’t looking forward to more of it.  The walk got a little boring again as we trudged over moorland again.  It was pretty uneventful until we reached more calf deep water at Sneaton Low Moor and had to skirt round it.  I gave in and just got my boots wet.  Michelle was a little more patient and managed to avoid a soaking, but not for long.

The SwampAs we went over Graystone Hills towards Hawkser we crossed many boggy bits and didn’t mind them much.  We thought we’d been through as much as we could’ve been through when it comes to wet and boggy ground.  We were mistaken.  As we neared Hawkser there was a small stream on the map.  We assumed there would be a bridge or some stepping stones or it would easily be crossed some other way.  What we should’ve assumed was that it was going to be a 25 meters, reedy, boggy, smelly, oily, skanky, swampy, muddy peice of rubbish.  If you look in the picture on the right, the bit where the path leads into the reeds is where it starts to get horrible and it didn’t stop until the foot of the incline where we were standing taking this photo.  I think it was so bad Michelle even had a little panic attack.  We both took separate routes over it and we both thought that we’d found a decent route until halfway across.  I came out the worst on the other side but even the photo of me doesn’t do justice to how skanky this crossing was.

By this time the weather had closed in even more and it was fitting that we were going to finish the walk in similar weather to how we’d started it.  In fact the end of the walk was a complete reverse to the start.  The village you get to, Hawsker, is as run down as Moor Row and reminds you of what seems like ages ago.  We stopped for a pint of coke and a sneaky bit of flapjack just to gather our composure for the final couple of miles.  We we’re excited to be getting close and it’s a good sight to see a roadsign pointing to your destination.  We headed up through the caravan park, getting a little lost on the way.  Those caravans all look the same you know!

THE SEAOnce through the other side of the caravan park WE FINALLY GOT TO SEE THE NORTH SEA!! The weather had closed in so much now you can only just make it out in the photo and we were only a few meters away from the cliff top.  Now I’m not usually an emotional bloke but there were two times this walk nearly brough a tear to my eye.  The first was sat on top of Calf Crag as we headed along the ridgewalk into Grasmere and this was the second.  Once you see the sea there’s quite an overwhelming sense of acheivement.  You still have a few miles left along the clifftops but you can relax into them now and just enjoy the scenery (fog in our case) as you saunter along the Cleveland Way into Robin Hoods Bay.  And saunter we did.  We weren’t in a rush to finish, despite my boots being on their last legs on our last legs being on our last feet we didn’t really want it to end.  There’s a certain mgic about long-distance walking and it’s one we want to experience again.  As we wandered along we chatted about how long it seemed since we’d started and all the things we’d done.  In reality all we’d done was put one foot in front of the other for two weeks in a row. Our reminiscing was interupted first by a sneezing sheep (yes…a sneezing sheep. it was the first one we’d seen too!) and then by the view of RHB itself.

We wandered down into town, dropping into our B&B to say that we’d made it, heading for the beach.  We grabbed an ice cream and sat and just watched the waves coming in over the launch for a little while.   The tide was in so we didn’t have far to go to dip our feet.  By this time we’d left behind all the people we’d walked with at the beggining of the walk.  Wayne and Linley had headed off to France after Kirkby Stephen and we’d heard rumours along the way that most of the others had dropped out.  The only one’s we weren’t sure about were Mrs Redcoat and her husband.  If they stuck to their timings they would’ve been in the exact same spot two days earlier.  The only person we bumped into was a lone walker we’d met a couple of days before.  After we dipped our feet we went in the pub to find him for a beer but we must have missed him.

The foot dipping and the stone throwing went well with Michelle only getting a little over-indulgent and was followed by the obligatory photo in front of the plaque and a well earned pint.

And that was it.  We’d done it.  We’d walked 192 miles from one side of England to the other and we were both well chuffed.

We walked back up the cruelly steep final hill to the B&B and headed in for a well earned shower and to get in out of the rain.  All we had left to do that night was eat, drink, take part in a quiz and sleep!

Awesome time, I wish I was doing it now!
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