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The Wainwright Way: Coast-to-Coast

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18 Days, 17 Nights
Availability : July
St Bees
Robin Hoods Bay
Min Age : 18
Max People : 14
Trek Summary

This is the quintessential English hill walking and long distance trail experience: 190 plus miles traversing three national parks and a lot of interesting landscapes, old towns and of course public houses in between! It is amazing to think that this most famous of routes, totally eclipsing the Pennine Way in terms of popularity and variety, is still not classified as a National Trail!

Starting at the tiny Cumbrian seaside resort of St. Bees on the Irish Sea we head east, with the wind, into the Lake district to pass by some of its most famous lakes and cross some important passes, with options to extend days (with ascents of peaks such as Helvellyn).

Then it is on into the Yorkshire Dales and over the mystical Nine Standards Rig, before following the beautiful River Swale for a couple of days into the old market town of Richmond. There follows a marathon section to link up with the North York Moors National Park from where we roller coaster around to the North Sea Coast to make a triumphant entrance into Robins Hoods Bay where a celebratory pint, bottle of Champagne or ice cream whilst standing in the sea is in order. Along the way you will be amazed at the variety of the dry stone walls, the charming little villages and just how much that you get to eat for a full English cooked breakfast!

There are cozy small hotels, guesthouses and pubs to stay at on this tour and these, as well as the rich variety of the people that you meet enroute, reflect something of the great diversity of England.

Departure & Return Location

Heathrow Airport

Price Includes

  • 17 breakfasts
  • 17 nights accommodation in hotels and guesthouses on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities where available
  • One piece of luggage transferred from Inn to Inn, not exceeding 20kg
  • Information pack including route notes & maps
  • Emergency hotline

Price Excludes

  • International & domestic airfares
  • All costs associated with obtaining a passport
  • Lunch, Dinner and drinks
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip

FREE!

  • Getaway Trekking quick-dry Walking Shirt
  • Getaway Trekking Certificate of Completion
  • Training Walks in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia & Tasmania
What to Expect
  • Explore on foot the dramatic landscapes of the Lake District with its' majestic lakes, and rugged mountains
  • Appreciate the classic rural countryside of rolling hills and pretty villages of the Yorkshire Dales
  • Experience a taste of the famous Coast-to-Coast walk, one of Britain’s best long distance hikes
  • Enjoy the hospitality of your hosts in warm B&Bs along the route
  • Across England on Wainwright’s Walk
  • One of the World’s Great Walks
  • Pennines and North York Moors
Itinerary

Day 1Arrive St Bees.

St Bees sits on the edge of the Irish Sea with views across to the Isle of Man. Today is at leisure, you may wish to sightsee, including a visit to the Abbey church or branch out further to the attractive town of Whitehaven, with its marina and great museum. Accommodation is in a 17th century sandstone barn.

Arrive in St Bees in your own time. You should ensure you are there by 5pm, so you can meet your group, get settled in your accommodation and be a part of the group briefing.
We do encourage you to arrive earlier if you can; St Bees is a lovely village and there are some beautiful things to see.

Overnight at Hotel

Day 2 St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge 23.5 km/14.5 miles, 6 hours.

Commence along red sandstone coastal cliffs with England’s only breeding colony of Black Guillimots. Continue inland to edge of Lake District National Park. A significant descent down to Nanny Catch Gate and Beck precedes a delightful stroll to leafy Ennerdale Bridge. Enjoy a home cooked meal of local produce, and drinks with your fellow walkers in one of the many beautiful and welcoming accommodation in this village.

Overnight

Day 3 Ennerdale Bridge to Borrowdale 26.5 km/16.5 miles, 7 hours.

Commence along shore of Ennerdale Water, continue Angler’s Crag at Robin Hood’s Seat. A long walk to Black Sail Hut, the smallest Youth Hostel and originally a shepherd’s hut. Steep ascent up Lowther Beck before traversing Lake land fells. Descend to Borrowdale; a delightful valley with its crags and broadleaved trees.

There are again, various accommodation options here ranging from small family owned to larger with more sophisticated facilities

Overnight 

Day 4Borrowdale to Grasmere 13.5 km/8.5 miles, 5-6 hours via Helm Crag.

A beautiful walk today as we continue our journey through the Lake District in Cumbria. The houses are picturesque, the fields are green and the sheep are – well, different to what we have in Australia, that’s for sure! Many have black faces and black and white mottled legs, but all are quite content to have a bunch of walkers traipsing through their feedlots.

The day is not particularly long, but is challenging in parts, with a decent climb up to Helm Crag before descending lower in the valley and into Grasmere.

This is one of the most beautiful villages along the Coast to Coast – you will absolutely not be disappointed. You should take the time to visit Dove Cottage, William Wordsworth’s home for 9 years, his grave at the church and the famous gingerbread shop.

Overnight

Day 5 Grasmere to Patterdale 12 km/7.5 miles, 5.5 hours standard route.

We have some options today in the tracks we elect to traverse. Those choosing to trek through the lower valley will not be disappointed with the gorgeous valleys surrounding them. Take the time to look back to see where you have come from, and the lake in the distance.

Those who are more energetic may choose the route including St Sunday Crag at 840m, with absolutely stunning views down to Ulswater Lake.

Those even more energetic may elect to challenge themselves on Hellvellyn at 950m, the third highest point in England. They will be rewarded with exceptional views also – please note however that you should add around 2 hours and 3 very steep kilometres descending.

We will stay at either Patterdale or Glenridding depending on availability and either provides a lovely end to the day.

Overnight

Day 6Patterdale to Bampton Grange 22.5 km/14 miles, 6 hours.

Alfred Wainwright said that people walking the Coast to Coast should not feel constrained to keep to the day-stages he devised or even to his route. Today your options include what is considered the ‘normal’ path of the C2C, or an alternative that includes starting the day with a ferry to Pooley Bridge.

Kidstey Pike is the highest point on the standard route and is followed by a steep descent to Hawewater, an enormous water supply for Manchester. If the weather is kind and you are feeling fit and strong, this is a fabulous option as the views will reward your efforts.

If not, you can navigate from Pooley Bridge after an hour on the ferry. You will be able to make your way back to the standard route, which will take around 6km off your 24km day.

Either way, you will pass by Shap Abbey towards the end of your day. This was the last Abbey to be founded in England in 1199 and the last to be destroyed in 1540, and is an interesting place to stop and contemplate this part of the reformation history. From here, you will walk into Shap and your accommodation for the night.

Overnight

Day 7Bampton Grange to Orton 19.5 km/12 miles, 5 hours.

Your first job this morning is to get across the M6 safely! Fortunately there are bridges to keep you apart from the cars that race up and down this motorway. Even more fortunately, you will now leave ‘civiliisation’ behind for several hours, trekking through fields and country lanes and enjoying the peace and calm that comes with nature all around you.

Today is filled with undulating farmland, stone fences and more sheep. It is a day when you can stop and breathe, reflecting on your journey to date and enjoying the beauty of the lands around you.

Orton is a quaint and picturesque village with a pub, a chocolate shop and a couple of cafes; small and welcoming. You may stay here or depending on availability, in neighbouring Tebay. Although this may involve additional walking, you would have the option of visiting the Farm Shop there which is a fabulous experience.

Overnight

Day 8Orton to Kirkby Stephen 18km/11 miles, 5 hours.

Another manageable day as you make your way to Kirbky Stephen to end your Cumbria experience.

You will note the terrain changing again as the thwaites widen, the fells become smaller and more undulating and the areas more remote. Less ‘postcard worthy’ than the Lake District, the countryside is nonetheless beautiful and spreads out all around, providing the backdrop for a truly lovely walk.

On arrival into Kirkby Stephen, ensure you check out the new and enticing micro pubs, welcoming walkers for a warming whisky after a cold day.

You will love the hospitality of your accommodation and of this lovely town.

Overnight

Day 9 Kirkby Stephen to Keld 24 km/14.5 miles, 6 hours or Thwaite 27 km/16.5 miles.

Remote and rugged with boggy terrain may sound uninviting, but trust us, it’s spectacular!
A steady walk up to the Nine Standards will get your heart started but ensure you have warm gear with you if the day is the slightest bit chilly – the wind can cut you in half! Little is known about the Standards other than they are over 800 years old.

From here you will continue across terrain which can be uneven to walk over, and marshes that can you can sink into without care!

We love this day – it provides a changing landscape that may not provide as high a yield of photo opportunities, but will warm your heart with the breadth of nature and biodiversity on offer.

Overnight

Day 10Keld or Thwaite to Reeth 20 km/12.5km, 5 h or 18.5 km/11.5 miles, 5 hours.

We have two options today: a wild moorland with long-abandoned lead mines, or a pretty lower alternative route via Swaledale, the latter including a very nice pub in Gunnerside.
You will start today walking down into the village of Keld before finding the gates that take you through a series of fields, all with spectacular views of the Dales.

It’s not a hard day though there are always undulations. You do have the option of taking the high or the low route – our trekkers have taken the low route as it will take you through villages where you can meet some locals and enjoy a cuppa.

Muker is your first village and you can visit their very impressive art gallery, have a cuppa (opening hours permitting) and just enjoy the quaintness of the houses and streets. From there continue to Gunnerside, passing over the beautiful Ivelet Bridge. We recommend you visit the Ghyllfoot Tea Rooms, where Linda will take very good care of you with a good coffee and cake – or why not go for a Devonshire tea?

Our destination is Reeth, originally a mining village, today offering collection of pubs and tea shops. Our guesthouse was formed from a terrace of traditional C16th miners’ cottages, a peaceful and comfortable hotel with courtyard and garden, renowned for its cuisine.

Overnight

Day 11Reeth to Richmond 20 km /12.5 miles, 5 hours.

A shorter day at 16.5km, you will continue your journey through Swaledale, mainly through fields and country lanes. We start by walking down to the Swale River and across the bridge into Grinton, a pretty little village. We then pick up the track that meanders alongside the river to continue our walk.

You will continue on to pass the Marrick Priory, which is now used as an Outdoor Education Centre. Continue on to Marrick and onto Marske, where this is some road walking before finding your way back into the fields. You should be very aware of oncoming vehicles in narrow English lanes.

You will drop down into the historic town of Richmond sometime mid afternoon, which will give you time to take a look around at the sights.

Overnight

Day 12Richmond to Danby Wiske 22.5 km/14 miles, 5 hours.

Today you will continue along the banks of the Swale River out of Richmond.
Honestly, this is not one of the prettiest days of your walk. There’s a fair bit of ground to cover and much of it is on country roads, so although it’s not difficult in terms of elevation, you might be a bit foot weary coming into your village.

There are some lovely highlights though, one being the very pretty Bolton on Swale, where we visit St Mary’s Churchyard to see the grave of one Henry Jenkins, born in the year of 1500 and dying in 1670. If you feel like having some refreshments here, the church makes some available and you have the opportunity of leaving money in their honesty box.

Mid afternoon, you will arrive at the tiny village of Danby Wiske, and enjoy a cold refresher at the White Swan before checking into your accommodation.

Overnight

Day 13Danby Wiske to Osmotherley 16 km/10 miles, 3.5 hours.

Your destination today is likely to be the beautiful village of Osmotherley, however you may also walk only to Ingleby Cross, a couple of kilometres shorter, depending on accommodation availability. This description assumes you will overnight at Osmotherley.

Again, today is not as beautiful as others, however the Cleveland Hills in the distance provide an inspiration to continue. We have a significant challenge in crossing the busy A19 without getting hit by a bus! Having achieved that, our walk becomes more interesting as we leave the roads and do some climbing (ah yes, stretch those legs!) along the Cleveland Way.

A gentle descent brings us into Osmotherley and you will be enchanted by the friendly welcome of this lovely village.

Overnight

Day 14Osmotherley to Clay Bank Top or Chop Gate 18 km/11 miles or 21 km/13 miles, 6 hours.

After the easy but somewhat less interesting walking of the last few days, today will certainly get your heart pumping! However the reward is that you will experience some fantastic views over various peaks.

You will walk along a pathway fringed with heather, climbing to the top of Live Moor before continuing to Carlton Bank and the Wainstones. Take a breath before descending to Lord Stones Café, followed by Cringle Moor, Broughton Bank and White Hill all at or over 400 metres.

This is a day of beautiful views, a lovely lunch spot and a relatively steep descent to your pick up point, where you will be transferred to your accommodation.

Overnight

Day 15Clay Bank Top or Chop Gate to Blakey 11 km/7 miles or 11.5 km/9 miles, 4.5 hours.

The morning begins with a transfer from your accommodation to Clay Bank Top, the finishing point for yesterday.

After an initial climb to get the heart started, you will walk a good chunk of today along an old railway track, so this is pretty easy walking. It doesn’t diminish the views however, although the moors are not as ‘picture postcard’ as some other sections, the remoteness and extensiveness of the landscape is striking.

You will see the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge with about 4 kilometres to go and this will spur you on to reach your day’s final destination. This is an English pub ostensibly in the middle of nowhere, but it is clear from its patrons how popular it is!

Overnight

Day 16Blakey to Egton Bridge or Grosmont 16 km/10 miles, 4 hours.

The penultimate day of your trek across England and 25 kilometres of enjoyable walking awaits, seeing off from the Lion Inn after a hearty breakfast.

After passing a white cross called Fat Betty, an easy undulating descent down to beautiful wooded Eskdale with views opening up to the sea. The latter part of today’s walk follows a pretty path through the woodlands on the banks of the River Esk, famous for fly fishing, and over ‘Beggars Bridge’. Egton Bridge features a church with relics of the Catholic Martyr, Oliver Postgate.

Glaisdale is a great stop to take a break and refuel, before continuing Beggars Bridge, an early 17 century bridge over the river Esk. The route then continues through East Arncliffe Wood and down into Egton Bridge passing the old toll gate where the prices for passing in 1948 are listed. If you are staying at Grosmont, you might be lucky and arrive in time to see a steam train arriving at the Station.

Overnight

Day 17Egton Bridge or Grosmont to Robin Hoods Bay 25.7 km/16 miles, 7 hours.

Many Coast to Coast walkers have declared the last day to be one of the best of the entire walk.

The first section is a relatively steep ascent into the beautiful Sleights Moor – and it is here that you can see the sea for the first time! From here, a steep descent into Little Beck, a stunning little village.

From here the C2C planners have become a bit tricky! Although we reach a point that is only 3.5 kilometres from Robin Hoods Bay, we divert further away to a lovely village called Hawkser, to ensure we will reach our destination from the coastal path. As you arrive at the coast, make sure you don’t let go mentally as there is still another 5km to go before you finish.

And now you’re here! Your last job is to descend the very steep road through the village to the sea to deposit the rock you’ve carried all the way from St Bees, all those days ago.

Congratulations! You deserve a hot shower, a cold drink and a great meal!

Overnight

Day 18Arrangements end after breakfast.

Buses can take us on to Whitby Bay or Scarborough, from where trains can be taken via York, Whitby is well recommended for an extra day or two and it is possible to walk there from Robin Hoods Bay via the Cleveland way or Cycle Path.

Photos