Coast to Coast 2018 – A day to day account of the walk by Gillian Bowler

My name is Gillian Bowler,pictured above with her certificate, and I have just taken part in the LOROS Coast to Coast walk. 192 miles along the Wainwright path from St Bee’s to Robin Hoods Bay. Through three National Parks it was a very challenging and exhilarating walk, and my muscles are still complaining!
 We stayed mainly in Youth Hostels but also the
 occasional B&B and a pub/hotel. We really appreciated
 the luxury of the B&B’s after “roughing it” in Youth
 Day 1 we left LOROS at 7am after packing the minibus
 with all of our bags etc. We were transporting all of our
 own food for breakfasts and packed lunch during our
 stay’s in the Youth hostels. Evening meals were provided by the Youth Hostels. B&B’s and the pub/hotel provided breakfast and evening meals (as well as bath’s and soft towels!!).
We got into St Bee’s at 12.45pm. The weather was overcast with a cool breeze. Having found some benches to sit and eat our lunch we set off for the first days walking. We started by going for the obligatory “paddle” in our boots and collecting our pebble we set off on our walk. This was to be a 6.5 mile walk and we left St Bee’s and headed up St Bee’s Head. Along the walk we first saw the Isle of Man and then Scotland! We had a coffee and cake stop at Sandwith. We ended our walk at the junction of the A595 at Moor Row where we picked up the minibus and taken our overnight stay at Wasdale Hall Youth Hostel. Tonight’s meal was Beefburger and Chips followed by treacle tart and ice-cream.
Day 2. A595, Moor Row to Ennerdale. After breakfast and the obligatory “starting off” photo we were taken back to our finish point from yesterday (A595) and continued our walk to Ennerdale Youth Hostel. Our walk took us through lovely little villages as well as wide open countryside towards Dent Hill and our ascent for the day (352m/1155ft). The weather is cloudy, overcast and very windy! Occasionally we are treated to some sunshine. The next stop on our walk is Ennerdale Bridge. The walk to Ennerdale is downhill but then we have to climb again with some lovely views before heading to the Kinniside Stone Circle – a 20th Century stone folly (389m). We eventually got into Ennerdale at around 5pm. This was a walk of 12 miles. Tonight’s meal is pasta and meatballs followed by treacle tart and custard.
Day 3. Ennerdale to Rosthwaite- climbing 1,049m. Today’s walk was to take us from Ennerdale Youth Hostel to Borrowdale Youth Hostel, a walk of 8.5 miles. The view acroos to Buttermere and Crummock. Our lunch stop was at Honister mine Café – lovely soup, especially after a very steep descent. It was also a very wet walk again. The walk was very challenging today as one part was walking along almost vertical rocks with only a metal chain for a hand hold. We finally arrived at Borrowdale Youth Hostel for this evening’s meal and bed. My meal tonight was Pizza followed by Chocolate Brownie and Ice-cream.
Day 4. Rosthwaite to Grasmere, a walk of nine miles. Not the best of weather today. The day started the way it finished last night – wet and windy! It was very hard going as the wind was about galeforce and nearly blew people off their feet. Not helped by slippy terrain so there were lost of slips but no serious injuries. The worst was a cut finger. We had lots of waterfalls to cross, climb up, climb down and splashing along path’s that thought they were waterfalls too! One of the waterfalls was Greenup Gill at the side of which we stopped for lunch. It was a very blustery experience and we had to hang on to our sandwiches before they blew away. Coming down was also very interesting. Still high winds but at least the driving rain had stopped. By the end of the day we had just about mastered the art of crossing waterfalls safely! By the time we reached our overnight stay at Grasmere the sun was out. My meal tonight was Chicken and Mushroom pie with mash, broccoli, cauli and gravy followed by chocolate fudge cake with ice cream.
Day 5. Grasmere to Patterdale. A walk of 9.5 miles which was to become known as Whirlpool Wednesday! We took a windy and wet walk up to Grisedale Tarn before stopping for lunch, passing farmers herding their sheep on the way. Just after lunch we started to make our descent down the mountain but the wind got up and we were hit by Storm Ali. We are getting a real soaking and being blown off our feet – literally. The men of the group were fantastic, leading us down the mountain safely, if a little battered and bruised. At the evening meal that night, a decision was made that due to the weather conditions in the morning we were given a plan B option of not going up the next mountain (Kidsty Pike), but taking a different route instead which we all agreed was a sensible idea.
Day 6. Patterdale to Shap. This was a walk of 16.5 miles. Today we were taken to the far end of Haweswater Reservoir and started our walk. We walked the length of Haweswater, joining up at the point where we would have come down to if we had taken the Kidsty Pike route. This was a much more uneventful walk today, just what we needed! The biggest excitement was seeing F35’s flying over the valley. As we came into Shap we were greeted by the remains of Shap Abbey (where we stopped for a coffee and cake break!). Tonight’s overnight stop is at New Ings Lodge B&B. Our first taste of luxury – a bath, soft towels, log fire, lovely food! Certainly a place I would recommend and love to revisit.
Day 7. Shap to Kirkby Stephen (661m). For those who wanted it today was started it with a fresh cooked breakfast. The walk today was fairly flat with what our guide called “rounded hills”. Today we cross the M6. The sights were great in areas with panoramic views of the Lakes, Howgills, Teesdale and parts of the Yorkshire Dales. The weather is fairly good today. The walk ended at the Black Bull Hotel, Kirkby Stephen. Again another luxury stop. Soft towels, a bath and fantastic cooked food. Don’t think I am going to lose much weight at this rate!
Day 8. Kirkby Stephen to Keld. A walk of 13 miles (831m). A damp day with lots more streams to cross, some with stepping stones and some without! Today we visited Nine Standards Rigg. These are nine large standing stone built Cairns. It was very cold and windy! We walked through Swaledale and saw the River Swale. We stopped for “afternoon tea” at the home of Amanda Owen known as the Shepherdess. She has turned her farm at Ravenseat in Swaledale, one of the highest, remotest Hill farms in England into a business selling cream teas for weary travellers. After this was a small uphill and then downhill into Keld. We were then taken by bus to our overnight stop at Grinton Lodge Youth Hostel. This was to be our overnight stop for the next three nights. Bliss to be in one place for more than one night! From here we could see our walks for the next two days.
Day 9. Keld to Marrick. A walk of 14 miles. After being dropped off at Keld where we stopped yesterday, we began our walk to Marrick. Our first visit was to East Gill Waterfall which was beautiful and we didn’t have to cross it! Lunch stop was in the beautiful village of Gunnerside. After lunch with the promise of Ice cream, we went on lots of ups and downs but after a long walk we reached Reeth where we stopped for a lovely ice-cream. After finishing this we carried on to Marrick Priory. Our finish was at the top of the Nun’s steps. So called because it is rumoured that the Nun’s from the Abbey at the top of the hill used to walk down them to see the Monk’s at the priory in the valley! The official story is: To the northeast of the priory the Nuns’ Steps or Nuns’ Causey (causeway) leads through Steps Wood to the village of Marrick. This flagged stone path is thought to have been associated with the priory, perhaps connecting it to the Richmond Road or to its lead-mining interests. We then took a bus ride back to Grinton Lodge for our overnight stay.
Day 10. Marrick to Brompton-on-Swale. A walk of 14 miles. A lovely sunny day but with a cold start. Our walk today took us to Marske where we stopped for coffee and cake. Richmond is where we stopped for lunch next to the River Swale and a beautiful waterfall. This afternoon took us under the A1 on to Catterick Bridge where we stopped for coffee and cake again! We continued our walk on to Brompton on Swale where we again caught the bus and returned to Grinton Lodge for our final night there.
Day 11. Brompton on Swale to Ingleby Cross – 17 miles. The weather today is being nice! There is a lot more road walking today so a little harder on the feet. Our lunch stop today is a Danby Wiske