Wow! 11 weeks from today, Lauren and I fly from Miami Intl into Manchester, UK (and yes, the tickets have been purchased). It's almost here. We'll spend the night in Manchester and then hop a train to St. Bee's the next morning (those tickets have also been purchased). The Good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise, we'll arrive in St. Bee's around 2pm, giving us ample time to check in, buy last minute provisions for the trail, and pop into the Coast to Coast Pub for some refreshment and morale building. We may be fortunate enough to bump into other wing nuts embarking on the Walk as well and we can compare notes and strategies. After a few pints, dinner and a shower, it's off to bed...our walk begins in the am!
Since our first day's walk is only 8 miles and we can't arrive at the farm at which we're staying that night until after 4pm, we don't need a very early start. It's true that we'll be climbing uphill all day, so it'll take longer to walk 8 miles than it does on our very flat island, but it shouldn't take any more than four hours, including breaks. That means we can sleep in and take our time christening our boots in the Irish Sea before we head east. We can't forget to pick up a stone to carry 200 miles and then throw into the North Sea at Robin Hood's Bay - that's a Coast to Coast tradition.
A big thank you to Louisa at Columbia Sportswear, UK!!! She generously sent us two long sleeved, bug repellent/UV protection T-Shirts, which will come in handy when the midges start biting. Another heartfelt thanks to Councilman David Purdo for landing us Gore-Tex rain jackets from Bass Pro and long/short sleeved T-Shirts from The Island Grill! We are so very appreciative of everyone's support and enthusiasm.
We've bought walking poles, base layers, moisture-sucking sucks and hiking boots, which we've been breaking in over the past couple of weeks. (One of us is breaking hers in faster than the other....ahem.) Our hand-held GPS arrived yesterday...Dougie was playing with it but I haven't touched it yet. Lauren needs to become as proficient as I need to be on that thing so that if we wander into to too many pubs on any given day, she can take over navigating. We still need rain pants, backpacks, outer layers, first aid kit and waders but we're holding off in hopes of some additional sponsorships. The chances are slim to none but look at all of the great support we've gotten already! We are very thankful and happy!
Lauren and I are now off to do at least 5 miles but we should be doing 10. Before we now it, those mountains of the Lake District will be staring us in the face.
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.