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.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hot Off The Press!

We're going to be famous.  Well, maybe not famous but well known.  Well, probably not even that but our names will be in print and maybe a cheesy picture to boot.  We were called by a journalist from the local paper and he offered to do an article about our walk for next week's edition.  (I told you we lived on a small island...our paper comes out only once a week.)  We promise not to let our egos get inflated.  Even though we're going to be famous.

All joking aside, I am very pleased.  It will give us an opportunity to publicly thank the corporations and individuals who were generous and supportive to our adventure.  Their contributions have been amazing.

For a mere $500, I'll send you a genuine autographed edition.  But wait!  There's more!  Order now and you'll also receive an autographed picture of my hiking boots absolutely free.  An offer like this won't last.  Order yours today!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Heat Wave!

The Coast to Coast Weather Gods are jerking me around.  It's been very cool and perfect through the Lake District and on the east coast of the UK for the past several weeks.  According to weather.com, it's in the mid to high 70's.  Ahem.  There must be some mistake. That's not what we ordered.  We want cold and rain.  Please stop screwing around with our weather and work it out.

On a more positive note, we leave in TEN DAYS!!!!  TEN DAYS!!!!  The only thing that's more exciting than that right now is that Zak is home on leave from the Navy.  He just graduated from Nuclear Power School and has a short break before starting Prototype School, during which time he'll live on a training sub for six months. It's sooooooo good to have him home.  I don't know how this is possible but he's cuter every time I see him. How does he do that?

Lauren and I won't be home to celebrate Father's Day with Doug nor will we be back in time for our anniversary.  Sadly, we'll miss them both.  But I told Dougie that I don't want him to be sad about any of that so to help him feel our love, I'm going to leave a "to-do" list.  It will have jobs for him to do each day.  I told him that if he does his jobs well and texts me pictures of what he's accomplished that maybe, just maybe, we'll bring back a present or two for him.  Strangely enough, he gave me a very unfriendly, one finger wave.  Man, you'd think HE was the one who hasn't had a beer or a soda in 12 days!  Sheesh.

Ten days and counting!

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Right Ole Git

At some point yesterday, I decided that I'd better go through our itinerary one more time to be sure we're squared away.  What with only 14 days left to departure, that was cutting it close, don't you think?  Good thing I did.  I booked us a wonderful place in Moor Row, resulting in a very manageable 8 miles for the first day of our walk.  My plan was to walk another 8 miles on day two and spend the night in Ennerdale.  However, I discovered that the place I booked in Ennerdale is not actually in Ennerdale and is in fact only two miles from the place the night before.  What?!?  How did that happen?  This is why people pay a local agent to figure it out and manage their bookings but not me.  That would eliminate too much excitement and drama from my life.

This is NOT the time of year to try for last minute bookings but the Coast to Coast gods were smiling on me and I found a charming farm that's is actually right on the outskirts of Ennerdale and I managed to book a room!  They have a couple stables of horses and they offer half or full day trail rides through the countryside.  What a great place to stay!  Lauren will never want to leave...  I am amazed that we 1) found a place w/a vacancy and 2) that it's really very nice.  I should buy a lottery ticket.

Now I'm trying to get detailed directions from several places we'll be staying in that are not on the maps in our guidebook.  I'm gonna have a big enough challenge finding the ones that are on the maps....  This is causing me a bit of concern and I didn't sleep much last night.  When I did, I dreamed of being lost in dark places dotted with stinky watering holes teeming with slimy creatures and yellow eyes watching me in the distance.  Every time I opened my mouth to yell for help, I bleated like a goat.

This is what happens when I don't drink beer.  13 more days.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Deep Breaths

14 days from today, me and my bonnie lass begin the biggest adventure of our lives (so far)!  The weather on our island has been getting us ready for what we're sure to encounter during our trek across Great Britain.  Its been raining every day for a week or better.  I love walking in the rain.  Damn good thing, too.  Funny though...I just checked the weather in St. Bee's (where our walk begins) and its 62 degrees and sunny! Go figure!

All our gear is assembled and waiting to be packed and broken in.  Although we'll have our handy-dandy Mr. GPS, we will carry emergency gear in the event we get stranded by bad weather atop a mountain.  We'll carry spare food and water, space blankets, flashlight, first aid kit and extra clothes. When the visibility is poor due to rain/fog/sleet, and I've had a few pints who knows what'll happen. We might end up in Ireland.  That wouldn't be so bad...it's next on my walking list anyway.

In my efforts to get in tip-top shape for this adventure, I stopped drinking beer and soda one week ago today.  Did you hear that?  I haven't had a beer in seven days!!  Yet I breath.  Unbelievable.  I was sure that my life without beer would surely end in death within 24 hours.  It's not fun and I'm sure my family has noticed a slight decline in my jocularity but they're supporting this moronic idea nonetheless.

So from this point forward, rather than reading a count down to our departure, don't be surprised if it becomes a count down to the first pint.  I AM drinking beer on this walk.  You can bet your sweet arse on that!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Technology? Check!

Thanks to Dougie, the GPS has been uploaded with waypoints matching those in our Coast to Coast guidebook.  The book's maps are excellent but when we encounter fog and poor visibility at the summit of some crag and the trail is not marked with signage, we're gonna need more than the book.  I'm not exactly Lewis or Clark and I will need help navigating from one sea clear across Great Britain to the other.

I willingly admit that I have trouble using a compass.  Sad but true.  When I took my open water scuba certification, I really hosed up the part of the test where I had to navigate under water with a compass.  It's not difficult but...I just don't get on well with the damn things.  My excuse at the time was that I was distracted by the reef and its amazing inhabitants.  The truth was that I didn't understand the compass and I was shitting my wet suit in fear of bumping into a shark!

The GPS and I have bonded and I'm confident that when we can't see where the hell we're going and we're not sure what direction we came from, our little friend Mr. GPS will figure out our location and show it to us in relation to where we should be.  From there, I know I can follow a  little pointy arrow to the trail and get us safely to the next pint.

Always thinking ahead, Doug also bought us a charger that holds several rechargeable batteries so we can recharge at night and have plenty of spares available during the day to keep Mr. GPS up and running.  He has adapters and multiple socket pluggy-in things for us too. Lucky for us, he thought of everything that I would have overlooked.  If he were walking with us, we wouldn't need a GPS.

I will insist that we don't walk with our heads down staring at the GPS screen for the duration of the walk.  That would defeat the whole purpose.  We need to navigate, figure things out on our own and enjoy the incredible views surrounding us.  Only when really necessary will we take out Mr. GPS.  The compass will no doubt stay in my pack until we come back home.  Unless I use it as a coaster...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

You Guessed It!

Yup.  Only 3 more weeks!

Just checked weather.com and it's still in the low forties in St. Bee's - our starting point.  Remember, we're talking about northern England.  It's a balmy 47 degrees in Robin Hood's Bay, which is where our walk ends.  In the towns in between its been in low 50's.  Perfect walking weather.

Oh, I neglected to mention the liquid sunshine.  Yup, it's pouring.  Buckets.  Poor visibility.  Fog.  I don't mind at all.  In fact, I think it's pretty damn exciting!  Walking in 45 degrees in the rain over mountains and through peet bogs will be nice change from walking in 85 degrees with a hot sun and high humidity.  Warm pints by a blazing fire will be that much more wonderful after a day of cold rain.

I've added 3 days of "bootcamp" each week to my training to build strength and endurance.  It sucks.  I'll leave it at that.  I find my pint draining training much more to my liking.

My excitement is tempered only by the lack of excitement on Lauren's part.  I guess she's decided that walking across England doesn't sound like fun after all.  Crazy girl.  It's gonna be the most amazing thing we've ever done together.  Or else.

21 days and counting!!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Beware the Weather

We will be Coast to Coasting in only four weeks.  That's one month for those of you with poor math skills.  One month!

It snowed in the UK's Lake District over the weekend.  Our first week of walking will be through those mountains.  I don't know about you, but that is ridiculously exciting for one who lives on a tropical island with an almost ever present sun.  Snow!!  Today it's in the low 40s in St Bee's, which is where our Walk begins.  I hope its snowing for at least part of our Lake District adventure...Lauren and I both miss snow and she will be so happy to be in the white stuff again that she won't notice the many miles of walking.  Well, at least not so much.

Just imagine it....  walking 8 to 10 miles over mountains and around beautiful mountain lakes while lilly white snow flakes float down from a dark grey sky.  Somewhere in those miles, you see the welcome sight of a pub come into view.  Smoke billowing from its crooked chimney.  The smell of fish and chips and bangers and mash wafting through the air.  We'll hunker down close to the fire with a pint of the dark stuff and warm our bellies with a good meal.  Maybe a short nap by the fire and we'll be off again through the snow to the next pub.

Jealous yet?