Note: Unfortunately all of my photos from this hike, which I did in late May 2009, were accidentally deleted.
Distance : 192 miles (309 km) approx.
Avg.Time : 10 – 13 days.
Start / Finish :
- St. Bees – Robin Hood’s bay.
- For transport details to and from the trailheads, see the excellent Coast to Coast Guides website.
- May – September.
- Best outside of July and August if you want to avoid the crowds.
Maps / Info :
- I recommend Harvey Maps, Coast to Coast West & Coast to Coast East. These two ‘strip maps’ are all that you need for navigation purposes. In addition, they display facilities and points of interest along the way. Excellent for pre-hike planning.
- The best alternative to the Harvey Maps are the 1:50,000 Ordinance Survey [OS] maps. You will need to carry 8 of them to cover the entire route.
- There are numerous guidebooks available for the Coast to Coast Walk. Those by Cicerone Presss (2010) and Trailblazer publications (2015) are two of the most popular.
- The “Daddy” of all Coast-to-Coast guidebooks is Alfred Wainwright’s A Coast to Coast walk. Written by the man who devised the trail – amazing attention to detail; occasionally witty narrative; highly recommended.
- The ‘Coast to Coast’ attracts hikers of all ages, abilities and experience levels. A by-product of this popularity is the existence of companies such as Coast to Coast Packhorse and Sherpa Van, which organise accommodation and/or provide luggage transfer services for walkers.
Route / Conditions :
- The path is relatively well-marked and easy to follow start to finish. The guidebooks mentioned above describe the route in minute detail. When used in conjunction with the Harvey Maps, it would be difficult to get yourself too lost on this trail.
- Despite the mellow nature of the walk, hikers should still be adequately equipped for inclement conditions; this is England after all.
- If you are fortunate enough to enjoy fine weather whilst traversing the Lakes region, consider some of the high-level alternatives between Ennerdale Bridge and Shap. Note that the terrain on these alternatives is generally more challenging, and a reasonable level of fitness and decent navigation skills are required.
- If the weather isn’t looking great, make for the nearest pub and wait it out. Note that this could significantly extend the duration of your hike. As a wise man once told me, “it never rains in the pub.”
- Every option imaginable. Hostels, hotels, pubs, camping and the most popular of all, B&B’s. The website, www.coasttocoastguides.co.uk, is an excellent source for all accommodation information.
- In regards to wild camping, the Lakes area is probably your best bet. Generally speaking, no one seems to worry too much about individuals camping for a single night and then moving on. That being said, discretion and no trace principles should be practiced at all times.
- Favourite section: The Lakes District
- Favourite villages: Rosthwaite, Grasmere (touristy, but worth the short detour) & Reeth.
- Favourite pubs: Lion Inn & King’s Head pub (Gunnerside).
- The big negative for me about the “Coast to Coast” is the inordinate amount of road walking involved. From my own perspective, it really does detract from the overall experience. That being said the villages are lovely, the pubs are fantastic and the Lakes area is as beautiful as advertised.