I thought I'd start describing each day of the walk to 1) make you envious and 2) help familiarize myself with the details. I will be IN CHARGE and since I'm a lousy compass user (at least right now), that could mean lots of extra miles of wandering around lost.
Just a reminder that this is not a group walk/organized event. It's just me and Lauren walking. No guide. No companions. It will be one of the most amazing things I'll ever be so fortunate to do! (Please excuse that lousy grammar. I'm too excited about telling you about day 1 to find a more appropriate way to express it.)
Here's the plan for day 1:
Tradition dictates that we baptize our boots in the Irish Sea and select a pebble from the beach, which we will stow away for the entire walk and when we reach our destination, some 200 miles later, we will throw it into the North Sea. (Lauren and I have already agreed that we will each take two pebbles...one to throw into the North Sea and one to keep as a souvenir.) There is a "Mile Zero" sign not far off of the beach, which is a mandatory picture spot - much like our Mile Marker Zero in Key West, which signifies the southern most point in the United States - you simply cannot embark on this journey without a pose at this spot.
Then we're off for a cliff-top walk along the Irish Sea. The first notable landmark seems to be the cleft of Fleswick Bay, which is a lovely secluded pebble beach surrounded by red sandstone cliff. We'll pass some observation points and the lighthouse. After about an hour's walk, we'll reach the ruins of an old Coast Guard Station. In about another hour, we'll come across the first pub of The Walk; the Dog & Partridge in the village of Sandwith. Since we have such a short walk and all day to get it done, I think it's a mandatory stop. We can sit outside in the green grass, air out our socks and enjoy a pint. During the summer months, they are open daily from noon - 4pm...we'll have to plan our start that morning accordingly. . .I'd hate to get there too early!
After a pint and some chips, we sneak through a tunnel beneath the railway line. We later cross some waterlogged fields around Stanley Pond and a small stream before passing underneath the course of an unused railway. We then find ourselves in Moor Row, home of the Walkers Pop In Cafe, a great place for a squat and a spot of tea with biscuits. The beautiful Jasmine House is around the corner and this is where Lauren and I will spend our first night. We will have to either walk a mile or catch a bus into town for the evening meal but our very warm and friendly hosts have offered to drive us back and forth. Amazing! I've never experienced an American B&B providing such service (and without additional charge)!
The next morning, we'll have a lovely breakfast and our hosts will provide us with packed lunches for our hike to Ennerdale Bridge.
Tune in soon for Day 2!
17 Day Itinerary
Our walk begins in St. Bee's on the West Coast of Great Britain at the Irish Sea. Almost 200 miles later, we will find ourselves at the North Sea in Robin Hood's Bay.
Day 1 - Moor Row, 9 miles The Jasmine House
Day 2 - Ennerdale, 8 miles Low Cock How Farm
Day 3 - Seatoller, 14 miles Seatoller Farm
Day 4 - Grasmere, 10.5 miles Town Head Farm
Day 5 - Patterdale, 7.5 miles Grisdale Lodge
Day 6 - Shap, 16 miles Brookfield House
Day 7 - Orton, 8 miles The Westons
Day 8 - Kirby Stephen, 13.5 miles The Black Bull
Day 9 - Keld, 14 miles Keld Lodge
Day 10 - Richmond, 14 miles The Old Brewery
Day 11 - Danby-Wiske, 14 miles Old School House
Day 12 - Osmotherly, 12 miles 32 South End
Day 13 - Clay Bank Top, 11 miles The Maltkiln House
Day 14 - Blakley Ridge, 8.5 miles The Sevenford House
Day 15 - Grosmont, 14 miles The Station Inn
Day 16 - Robin Hood's Bay, 16 miles The Raven House
Of course, these distances don't account for getting lost and doubling back a few times, avoiding an aggressive herd of heifers or navigating the moors.... or wandering off in search of a pint.