Coast to Coast
Stage 1 St Bees to Ennerdale
Wainwright devised his Coast to Coast Walk in 1973, having completed it the year before. Since then, it has been walked by thousands. I wonder if he ever envisaged just how popular it would become? The route from St Bees across England to Robin Hood’s Bay is approximately 190 miles long but, as paths have been diverted at times, due to erosion, this figure is an approximation. Also, Wainwright encourages the individual to ‘devise with the aid of maps their own cross-country marathons and not be merely followers of other people’s routes’ so your route could be a little more or a little less. Mine ended up being 198 miles.
I first did this walk on my own in 2008 and wrote in my diary something along the lines of it being a bit like having a baby: you forget the pain after a while and have the urge to do it once more!
This time, in 2016, I’m doing it in stages with a friend. This time I can choose the weather!
As you can see, it was a calm, sunny day and the beach front was deserted. Perfect. There was such a lot of excitement at this stage.
Look at those beautiful fells in the distance! The coastline stretches ahead with the lighthouse just visible. Happy me.
The lovely route to Fleswick Bay and beach views. I didn’t go down to the shore as we started off at 11am which was later than most and we wanted to press on. The gulls were quite happy to pose for me.
Whitehaven was now coming into view and my friend was particularly excited as it was where she originated from. Not far from here, we turned inland. Close to the signpost was our lunch-spot before we moved away from the sea. I remember feeling a little anxiety when I did it on my own as the coastline is the easiest to navigate. I knew I had work ahead of me. I have to say, because I’m familiar with the Lakes, it was the easiest area to do. The unknown lay the other side of Shap.
Heading for the hills. Dent comes into view.
Over a narrow footbridge. Moor Row to Egremont this way!
Dent ahead and there was some trepidation from my friend as she had heard ‘how steep it was’. Does it look that bad? It’s fine. Honest.
It’s always good to see the signs pointing the way! Just below Dent there is a lot of evidence of former farming life. Very interesting gates here…free fireplace anyone?
On our way up Dent we spotted these stones and wondered if they have, perhaps, been used elsewhere? They look remarkably like gravestones don’t they? Up we go to the summit where the views opened up beautifully.
Nannycatch is ahead but we have to go down a steep slope before we meet the lovely trickling stream.
It was a delightful surprise to come across fell ponies!
The road downhill to Ennerdale. Were we tired? Not as tired as expected. Were we ready for food and drink? You bet we were! And it had to be AW’s favourite of fish and chips. I’m not sure why but I have the urge to add, ‘It were a grand day out, it were.’ It was. 😉