England: Coast-to-Coast: May 4 through May 29, 2005
Borrowdale by William Sidney Percy
Yes, the Coast-to-Coast is this stunning.
Sir1 Christopher ‘Chris’ Hoina Sr., 50 yrs, AKA Crackerjack
Sir James ‘Jim’ Klopovic, 56 yrs, AKA Sodbuster
Sir Wesley ‘Wes’ Riffle, 23 yrs, AKA Mr. 99
We are about to make some memories of a lifetime. The Coast-to-Coast walking tour of the Lake District in England was made famous by a retired accountant, Alfred Wainwright, who popularize the little walk by his now famous journal. More than that, this part of England is famous for its poets, villages frozen in time, sheep dotted countryside, great food, better beer and postcard views which command pause to hear and feel the heartbeat a little faster.
Don’t be misled by the romanticism, the hike is classified as a rigorous hike as some days will be over 20 miles and that with upwards of a 25 pound pack. This is not to be taken lightly. Go back to the beginning of this little book and get yourself ready.
We arrive at Manchester Airport 0740 a.m. on May 5 on Continental Flight 20 from Newark New Jersey. We depart from Manchester on May 21 at 0940 a.m. on Continental Flight 21. Well at least that was the plan.
This travel log outlines some useful contacts, especially our picks for the Bed and Breakfasts. First off there is the Wainwright site itself to Coast to Coast Walks.
Don’t bother with the maps, which are overpriced and not that practical. Use the book listed below for the step by step directions. Here you will find the list of accommodations by Doreen Whitehead who then ran the Butt House Bed and Breakfast, (please Google to get the flavor of the many B&Bs along the Coast-to-Coast). Don’t pass within 100 miles without spending a night at the Butt House. Who knows how old it is but the experience, the hospitality and especially the food is the stuff of experiencing a life worth living.
Traveling to, from and through the hike is about trains, planes, one car ride by the self-appointed St. Bees welcome committee of one and perhaps a bus or two. Besides the flight into Manchester there are the trains to St. Bees and return from Robin Hood’s Bay. We also built some slack time at the end of the hike for the unexpected reason to stay on so we took a bus from the end of the hike at Robin Hood’s Bay to York which is a must see bit of England if only to be awe struck by one of the most spectacular cathedrals in all creation. The Manchester Airport has some good information about the trains which is incomplete for prices and does not allude to the fact that fares vary according to line as do the schedules.
One can go nuts with all the web sites, so that is enough. Noodle the Internet according to your needs and personality. Now on to the accommodations, which were arranged by e mail off the suggested hoteliers from the Wainwright site and others and according to the towns and villages in which to stay on the recommended hike.
Use your itinerary to track information with innkeepers and especially commitments for lodging. We kept the itinerary on a single page for easy reference. There were occasions when it was good to call ahead when the plan altered. The days in this travelogue are days on the trail and do not consider travel to and from England. You may want to layover at a particular village as it strikes your fancy which is highly recommended but you will have to adjust your reservations for stays down the line. While you may be tempted to hop to the next village to stay on schedule, that is your business, do try to stay at each one as it adds to the richness of memories and the collection of friends.
You need a passport, not a visa for the UK. No shots are necessary but it is wise to be current for all the necessary immunizations such as tetanus. Make sure your credit card company knows you will be using it in an unusual pattern and place so they don’t think it is stolen. Also check out how much they charge to do the currency conversion which is a cost on top of any local conversion fee. Know also the overseas number to call if the credit card is lost. Also understand if your medical insurance will cover you wherever you may be; we didn’t and one of us needed to know! This may necessitate a call back to the states. Get the number for that possibility. Arrange with your mobile carrier to give you temporary service overseas which is handy to assure you are connected and well worth the service as you will have much you wish to share.
These are only some of the particulars of preparation. The more you get into it the more there is. Just think of possibilities when traveling and be prepared. There is a great sense of accomplishment and well-being knowing that one is prepared for the “vacation.” Once you successfully do a Do-it-Yourself, DIY experience you will have all the skills to do it again and again and again. Certainly you will hold enthrall the many friends who will want to hear the stories with a touch of envy. Who knows how many you will inspire.
1 The titles are self-conferred, apologies to the real knights of the realm.