COAST TO COAST WALK: Part 1
St Bees to Shap
We have always had it in mind to do the Coast to Coast Walk (from St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay) but as we are primarily cyclists we have always veered towards cycling tours as our first choice. We do like walking as well, especially in the hills, but it's all down to time available isn't it. However circumstances changed earlier this year in that Jo has been diagnosed with an eye problem that requires surgery (scheduled for late June). It's in her left eye and it's only really an issue if riding on the right hand side of the road e.g in France etc. We had planned a major cycling trip to America this summer, so that was out. However we did manage one cycling trip in late April/May doing the Lands End to John O'Groats ride which we thoroughly enjoyed despite some iffy weather at times. We wanted to do one more trip of some description before Jo's operation as we didn't know what the weeks beyond that held in terms of other cycling tours - so that's how this came about. We really only had a week to spare so decided to do this first section through the Lake District.
Not a lot to do really; we had all the necessary walking gear. We had Wainwright's Coast to Coast Walk book and the necessary maps; the only issue with the book was that our's was purchased in 1979! There's bound to have been some revisions since then but seeing as we know most of the route through the Lakes that shouldn't pose any problems - and it didn't; but before we do the remainder of the walk we will get a more up to date copy.
We found the very excellent site www.coast2coast.co.uk which provides accommodation lists; they can also book accommodation for you; they provide a people and daily baggage transport service as well. In the end we booked the accommodation over the phone by ourselves and organised transport with them to get us from Kirkby Stephen (we got the train from Leeds to here) to St Bees. We initially planned to finish at Kirkby Stephen before getting the train back home but as you can guess from the title we didn't end up doing that. We also decided to carry all our gear with us as we weren't carrying much for the week. At £6 a day per bag next time we will probably use this service putting all our gear in one bag and have the luxury of just walking with a day sack each. There is also the Packhorse Coast to Coast service that provides luggage transfer and other services. There is also another useful site at www.coasttocoastguides.co.uk
Getting to St Bees
We left home on Sunday June 12th taking the 13:15hrs train from Leeds to Kirkby Stephen hoping to get some good views along the very picturesque Leeds - Carlisle rail route but unfortunately we got lots of low cloud and once beyond Settle there was some rain as well. At 15:00hrs we were off the train and walking the mile plus down the quite busy road into Kirkby Stephen and after buying some food for tomorrow we were drinking tea and eating scones at our excellent accommodation at the Jolly Farmers Guest House - a thoroughly recommended place. Carol, the owner, had even offered to pick us up from the station but we thought we would walk the short distance to get our legs going after the train journey, however that road is not recommended for walking on as there is very little in the way of a footpath; next time we will take Carol up on her offer. There was a large walking group doing the walk from east to west also staying there and as Carol was cooking a 3 course meal for them we decided to eat there as well - superb value for £15 including coffee. Later on we had a few beers at the local pub, mixing with other coast to coast walkers, before our bedtime. Tomorrow's weather didn't look great.
Getting the boots on for our walk into Kirkby Stephen
(click on this and any other pictures to enlarge them)
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