Wainwright's Coast to Coast

195 miles

02/06/06 to 16/06/06 

At the beginning of 2006 four friends decided that having completed all the Wainwrights, the next logical step would be to do his Coast to Coast walk from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood's Bay in Yorkshire. After investigating all the possibilities we organised our own accommodation and booked a company to transport luggage from one B & B to the next. Below is a brief record of our experiences, the views and memories along the the way. For some people this will bring back recollections of their own travels along the route, while others may be inspired to complete the walk themselves. If anyone would like more information please contact me through the website.

The Evening Before the Start

Dinner at the Manor House was a fitting start the evening before we commenced our walk


Phil captured a lovely sunset with the Isle of Man just visible

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If you wish to move quickly to a particular day please select from below:

[Day 1], [Day 2], [Day 3], [Day 4], [Day 5], [Day 6], [Day 7],

[Day 8], [Day 9], [Day 10], [Day 11], [Day 12], [Day 13], [Day 14]

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Day 1: St. Bees to Ennerdale 14 miles
After dipping our boots into the Irish Sea we set off along the cliff top path. At Cleator we indulged in ice creams and signed the Coast to Coast book. We then continued on up Dent Fell, along Nannycatch Beck and finally arrived at Ennerdale Bridge. Our welcome at The Cloggers wasn’t quite what we expected with a ‘Put your boots on that mat’ welcome as the door opened! An evening meal at the Shepherd’s Arms followed a fine and sunny day.

We all enjoyed the mandatory 'boot dipping ceremony' and selected pebbles to take to Robin Hood's Bay


The lighthouse comes into view as we walk along the cliff path


Unfortunately the train is not going in our direction!


A brief pause on Dent Fell summit . . .


and time to take a photo of the Sca Fells in the distance


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Day 2: Ennerdale Bridge to Longthwaite 13.4 miles
With Phil leading the way we lost no time in putting the woods at the side of Ennerdale Water behind us. After reaching the River Liza we found the perfect spot for a foot spa and a welcome break. Once past Blacksail Hut the views of Great Gable were an inviting prospect, but our route was to take us up Loft Beck, a short but steep climb. The views at the top were well worth the climb – from Dale Head round to Haystacks and on to Pillar, with the Buttermere and Ennerdale valleys punctuating the scene. After a fine, warm day we enjoyed an evening meal at Borrowdale Youth Hostel.

Walking through the woods alongside Ennerdale Water provides good views of the Buttermere Fells


Looks like Phil is thinking of having a swim!


Black Sail Youth Hostel


Great Gable from the youth hostel


Borrowdale Youth Hostel


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Day 3: Borrowdale to Patterdale  16.5 miles
Following a good breakfast at the Youth Hostel we set off up Stonethwaite Valley and ascended Lining Crag to Greenup Edge. After losing the path in a rather boggy section we eventually found our way across to the top of Far Easedale. It was now Debbie’s turn to take the lead and our feet hardly had time to touch the rocky path as we sped down the valley. The Traveller’s Rest was aptly named, as we took time out there before our ascent up to Grisedale Tarn, followed by the long valley walk to Patterdale. The White Swan was a welcome sight after a long hot day.

Heading up the Stonethwaite Valley with Eagle Crag on the right


Looking back down Stonethwaite Valley


Stonethwaite Valley from Lining Crag


A picturesque garden in Grasmere


Heading up Tongue Gill


Grisedale Tarn with St Sunday Crag on the right


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Day 4: Patterdale to Shap 16.2 miles
With the long climb from Patterdale to Kidsty Pike ahead of us, a few clouds in the sky would have been welcome but there were none to be seen. A short break to admire the delights of Angle Tarn was followed by a long, hot slog up to the highest point on the coast to coast path. The 4 mile stretch along Haweswater was punctuated by lunch and a footspa at Measand Force. Suitably refreshed we continued through the woods at Burnbanks and on across the fields to Shap Abbey and along the road to Shap. Unfortunately our accommodation was at the opposite end of this long narrow village and The Greyhound Inn was a welcome sight.

A bright sunny morning as we leave Patterdale


Climbing up to Boredale Hause


Brothers Water with, from left to right, Hartsop Dodd, Red Screes, High Hartsop Dodd and Hartsop Above How


Angle Tarn




Old and new Naddle bridges


A perfect reflection in the still water


Shap Abbey


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Day 5: Shap to Orton  8.2 miles
We had decided to split the next section into 2 days so the prospect of an easy half day walk was very welcome. With only 8 miles and little climbing we reached Orton in the early afternoon. The first sign we came across was one directing us to a tea shop – just the thing on another sunny day. Nearby was an interesting church so a relaxed afternoon spent exploring was enjoyed by all. The George Hotel, being the only pub in this small village, provided our accommodation and evening meal.

Heading down to Orton


Orton Church


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Day 6: Orton to Kirkby Stephen 12.6 miles
Another day of easy walking took us over the moors and past Smardale Bridge and views of Smardale Viaduct which is traversed by the Settle to Carlisle Railway – as pointed out by Marie, our railway enthusiast.  On reaching Kirkby Stephen an interesting looking teashop was put to the test before we located our night’s accommodation at The Black Bull. Our exploration of Kirkby Stephen was made all the more interesting with the activities surrounding the Appleby Horse Fair due to take place in the next couple of days.

Smardale Bridge


Smardale viaduct


Kirkby Stephen - and a young traveller shows off his horse


Kirkby Stephen Church


With the Appleby Horse Fair due in a few days the Travellers are gathering


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Day 7: Kirkby Stephen to Keld 12 miles
Crossing the River Eden by Frank’s Bridge we passed through Hartley before starting our climb up to Nine Standards Rigg. After hearing and reading about the boggy nature of this part of the walk we were pleasantly surprised to find the ground reasonably dry. Having now entered Yorkshire the many buttercup meadows were a delight to see. A leisurely lunch at Ravenseat preceded an early arrival at Keld, where we found yet another tea shop. However, following a long wait for the Youth Hostel to open we resolved to read notices more carefully in future, after finding that we could have used the facilities even though we could not book in till 5pm.

The bright yellow gorse brightens up the day as we head towards Nine Standards Rigg


Only seven in the photo but there were nine


Our first encounter of the beautiful buttercup meadows


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Day 8: Keld Reeth 12.5 miles
With the high level route looking rather barren, we opted for the more picturesque low level route by the River Swale. Our first port of call was the ruined Crackpot Hall from which there was a lovely view down Swaledale. Passing fields of bluebells we detoured to Muker with its profusion of wild flower meadows, all in full bloom. Suitably refreshed we retraced our steps to the river, and on through many squeeze stiles until we reached Reeth. We were surprised to see how busy it was until we realised that we had arrived in the middle of the Swaledale Marathon. To finish the day we had a long hot uphill walk to Grinton Lodge, this former shooting lodge now being a Youth Hostel.

Crackpot Hall - anyone for a renovation project?


Swinner Gill which leads to the high level route . . .


but we took the Swaledale Valley alternative . . .


where we could admire fields of bluebells . . .


and having crossed the bridge over the River Swale . . .


we meandered through the wildflower meadows . . .


to admire the great variety . . .


of wildflowers . . .


growing in profusion.


As we entered Muker we were welcomed by a glorious white lilac bush . . .


and wondered at the sheep on the roof . . .


whilst admiring the ingenuity of the 'Open' sign


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Day 9: Reeth to Richmond 10.6 miles
From Reeth we passed through a number of picturesque villages, Fremington, Marrick and Marske where we found a shady spot for our morning break. Our route continued on to Applegarth Scar and through Whitcliffe Woods before reaching Richmond in time for a brief look around. After a sunny and humid day we eventually found our accommodation and an appropriate venue for dinner.

River Swale


Cottage at Marske


Pink Hawthorn




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Day 10: Richmond to Danby Wiske 14.5 miles
For the first time so far on this walk we had a few spots of rain as we started out, but by the time we got the waterproofs on the rain had gone. This being the longest section in Wainwright’s itinerary we again opted for an extra stop in Danby Wiske. As we were now entering the Vale of Mowbray the route was mainly flat with lots of road walking. After passing under the A1 we found a pub opposite Catterick Racecourse for brief refreshments (non-alcoholic of course!). In Bolton-le-Swale we called in at the churchyard to locate the memorial to Henry Jenkins who is reputed to have lived to 169. Our B & B also provided dinner so a pleasant evening was had by all.

The River Swale at Richmond


Richmond Castle


Heading into the woods outside Richmond


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Day 11: Danby Wiske to Ingleby Cross 9.5 miles
Continuing through the Vale of Mowbray the route became rather monotonous, with fields, stiles and not much else. Jokes and songs were the order of the day to relieve the boredom of this stretch. A transport café on the A19 was our most unusual venue for lunch. A short walk from here and we had reached Ingleby Arncliffe though it took some time to find our accommodation. Having arrived quite early we were treated to refreshments in the garden, next to the fountain overlooking the koi carp pool. Somerset House Farm must have been the most impressive of all the places we stayed at on the walk.

Danby Wiske Church


Refreshments in the garden . . .


at Somerset House B & B


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Day 12: Ingleby Cross to Clay Bank Top & Great Broughton 15.8 miles
We set off through Arncliffe Woods before joining the Cleveland Way and entering the North Yorkshire Moors. The terrain was now much different with many undulations across Live Moor and Carlton Moor and we were glad to reach Lord Stone’s Café at Carlton Bank in time for lunch. The café, being built into the hillside, was not visible until we were almost on top of it, but Phil assured us of its existence. More ups and downs followed, along Kirby Bank and over the Wain Stones before we finally reached Hasty Bank. After dropping down to Clay Bank Top we had a long walk to Great Broughton where we stayed at Holme Farm, hosted by the lovely Mr. Robinson.

'The Chain Man' at the Bluebell Inn, Ingleby Cross


The Chain Man and friends!


Don't push, Debbie! Phil points out Roseberry Topping


Approaching the Wain Stones


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Day 13: Clay Bank Top to Glaisdale 18.6 miles
Another day with a long trudge, this time across the North Yorkshire Moors. The walking was very easy, along a disused railway track across Urra Moor to Bloworth Crossing, then on to Farndale Moor and High Blakey Moor. The Lion Inn was our venue for lunch – miles from any sign of habitation. Following a photo opportunity with ‘Fat Betty’ the rest of the afternoon was spent crossing moorland until we finally arrived at Ashley House in Glaisdale. A warm welcome awaited us, toasted teacakes while admiring the view across the valley. The evening meal at the Arncliffe Arms coincided with the World Cup – but we managed to find a quiet room away from all the action!

Fat Betty


The view from our B & B as we enjoyed toasted teacakes


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Day 14: Glaisdale to Robin Hood's Bay   19 miles
Having read the history of Beggar’s Bridge a detour to have a look at it was needed before continuing on through Arncliffe Woods to Egton Bridge. Marie was very pleased that our path took us through Grosmont, one of the stations on the Yorkshire Moors Railway. However, this was followed by a long, hot climb onto Sleight’s Moor and Little Beck where we had a well-deserved morning break. The varying terrain of Little Becks Woods was a welcome change to the open moors, and a chance to visit The Hermitage and Falling Foss waterfall. However it was not long before we emerged back onto moorland on our way to High Hawsker and a welcome break at The Hare and Hounds. Suitably refreshed our spirits were high as we embarked on the last leg of our journey, to the cliffs above the North Sea and on to Robin Hood’s Bay for the final boot dipping ceremony. We had treated ourselves to an upmarket B & B for our last evening, and the accommodation did not disappoint. The Wayfarer’s proved to be the ideal setting for our celebration dinner – and a few drinks!!

Beggar's Bridge


Egton Manor


Do we have the right money?


Grosmont Station


The Hermitage


Falling Foss


The North Sea at last!


And finally Robin Hood's Bay


Marie prepares for the 'boot dipping' ceremony . . .


but we have further to walk as the tide is out!


Time for a celebratory drink . . .


followed in the evening by a celebratory dinner


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