Coast to Coast August 2010

In August 2010 we collected our hire car and set off for the distant shores of The Lakes.

 We carried about 13KG each, and our packs contained plenty of freeze dried food (especially flavoured mash potato) as well as all the camping gear. Everything was weighed, and if it was too heavy it didn’t make the cut!

The car was dropped off at Workington, and from here we started our walk along the coastal path to Whitehaven, where we found a cafe serving breakfast with cumberland sausage and coffee for just £4.00. We then walked up to the light house at St Bees. Here we spent out first night at the Tarn Flatt Bunk house camping in a field with a glorious view of the sea. On this night at least there was no sign or rain, mist or fog! The facilities were basic but clean, and the showers were good. There is nowhere nearby to find food, so we feasted on freeze dried mash potato and pasta.

The next morning we packed the gear and left early, taking our last look at the west coast and heading up Dent Fell; a steep climb to get the muscles working. The view at the top was fantastic, however on the way down we hit swarms of large flying ants, they clung to your hair, fell down your neck, we couldn’t climb down fast enough. We then walked along the stream to Low Cockhow Farm, where we camped the night. On arrival we asked for a breakfast, and the following morning has a fantastic meal of eggs bacon, cereal, coffee, orange juice etc.

It was now time to walk along Ennerdale water and head for Black Sail Hut. At one time you could camp at Black Sail, but this is no longer allowed, you either book in for the night, walk on or wild camp. We opted for the later, if you look to the right of the hut, you can walk down to the river, cross over the bridge and on the right you will see a nice flat camping area. We settled here for the night with more of our freeze dried supplies. In the morning we were greeted by a swarm of midges (midge head nets are absolutely essential!) as we packed camp very quickly and set off into the heavy mist. There was only a few feet of visibility, so we used the GPS to help navigate to the narrow steep path through the pass which eventually takes you along past Crummock water and Buttermere and finally down to the slate mine. Here there is a cafe serving food and coffee.

From here we walked into Seatoller, there is a small cafe serving draft local beer, a welcome break for the weary walker. We then walked through Seatoller past the YHA and on to a small campsite. The facilities are very basic for your £12.00 per night and the owner will arrive very early in the morning to collect payment. The showers are bare concrete walls, that are seldom cleaned so take your flip flops! There is a good pub about a mile down the road - if your feet can walk any further.

The following day we walked on up and up through the pass and into Grassmere. Here we booked onto the first bed and breakfast, and had a very comfortable night and a good meal in Grassmere (no more freeze dried potato).

From Grassmere we climbed up Grizedale tarn and into Borrowdale where we stayed at Side Farm campsite on the banks of Ullswater. It is a great location but the site is very heavily sloped and it is very difficult to get a level pitch anywhere. The toilet block was not cleaned very often and the bins were overflowing with rubbish. At about 10.00pm at night a large group arrived and without any consideration for the camping families started very noisily to set up camp, drink beer and generally make a nuisance of themselves well into the early hours of the morning. We left as soon as it was light and began the steep climb up Kidsty pike and down towards Shap.

We camped at a small camping and caravanning CS site near Shap. This is a lovely small quiet site and the owners can’t do enough for you. There is no shower but the toilet facilities are fine and there is running hot water for a wash. At just £5.00 a night this is a bargain. The pubs in Shap serve great food especially The Kings arms which had a great Sunday lunch.

We crossed the motorway (the path out of the village is almost opposite The Kings Arms) and headed across the Limestone pavement and down to Orton, from here we headed to Raisbeck to New House Farm campsite. This site is a camping and caravanning club CS site open to all. However although the site it’s self was fine, the toilets were disgusting and there was no shower, at £14.00 a night I would give this one a miss....

Next stop was Kirkby Stephen, here after a wet day we opted for a bed and breakfast at The Croglin Castle, when we stayed it had just been taken over by new owners so whilst they did everything they could the food was not great. The accommodation was basic but clean with good toilets and showers.

After Kirkby Stephen we headed up the nine Standard Rigg and through the dreaded bogs, (take over trousers and expect a long zig zag of a walk). As you approach the edge of Keld you will find a farm at Ravesneat where they serve fantastic fresh scones with cream jam and coffee. We now headed for the bunk house at Keld, this was one of the best camp sites that we stayed on. The site was flat, the owners very helpful and the facilities clean with endless hot showers. The owners also made beef curry to order with Black Sheep ale, and in the morning bacon baguettes. The only down side was the midges (head nets needed.)

We now headed out along the lower path which hugs the river and passed through the village of Gunnerside where stopped at the The Kings Head public house for a great lunch and more Black sheep ale. Now on into Reeth where the campsite with very friendly owners awaited us at the orchard caravan park. As you can see from the slides it was fully booked except for coast to coast walkers. We were accommodated not in our tent but an older but very nice caravan at no extra cost. They even switched on the gas for us!

We are now a long way from the lakes and heading out towards Richmond, we walked through the city and on towards Catterick Bridge. We did try to find the site marked on the map at the village of  Coleburn to the Hildyard arms which is supposed to allow camping. When we arrived there were no signs, no information and no one around or answering the phone. It was getting late so we walked on and on, to a small farm near the M1 where a very friendly lady gave us a pitch for the night and a good breakfast the following morning.                    

After Catterick bridge the next stop was the White Swan at Danby Wiske. This place has amazing potential, the campsite is excellent as are the showers and toilets. At just £5.00 ppp night it was also good value for money. However although the pub served great black sheep ale the food was not to be recommended. They have the odd setup of sandwiches only and ordering in local take out. We ordered the Kebabs and chips, this has to be by far the worst food of the entire trip. Our advice camp here but don’t eat!

We now walked on past Ingleby Cross (where on a bank holiday Monday the pub was closed!) and onto the excellent camp site (Cote Ghyll caravan and camping park) at Osmotherly. Although expensive this site is well worth the extra cash. Although full the owners were very friendly and found us a nice level pitch, the toilet block was exemplary and there was food available to buy from the shop. So we cooked up a meal and had a relax for a few hours before the following day.  

The next destination was Lord Stones cafe, after the lack of real food this was a real treat. Although the walk over the top was extremely windy making the distance feel far longer then it really was. At Lord stone if you order food (and the food is excellent) and wait to speak to the owner, state that you are walking the coast to coast and he will give you permission to camp for free on his land.

After a windy night at Lord Stones we headed out early towards The Lion Inn at Blakey ridge. Here indeed was the best night of the entire trip. After a long walk across the moors The lion Inn had fantastic bed and breakfast accommodation and the food was brilliant. The only regret was that we couldn’t stay longer!

Off again across the moors and on to Grosmont, where again we stayed in a bed and breakfast (Hazelwood House), we did look at the camp site on the way through but it didn’t look too great so we walked on into the town and were lucky enough to get the last available room for the night. We ate at the Station Tavern and enjoyed being able to see the amazing steam engines. The following morning we began the very steep climb out of the village and across the moors to Falling Foss tea rooms. This is a very nice spot and well worth the detour. Now it was on towards Robin Hoods Bay  and the end of the walk.

We stopped the night just short of Robin Hoods Bay and the following morning walked into the Bay and on to Wainrights bar, after taking a few photographs we continued the last part of the walk onto Ravenscar. We stayed here on a small farm and the following morning we called the car hire company and began the journey home.......