Finally have internet connection, as warned its been a bit of a struggle for me. I’ve had erratic reception with tmobile and am not able to send emails at the moment from my phone. If I can fix this, I will be able send more snaps enroute. Carla’s in better shape with her phone as she has roaming reception with her phone and can pick up the strongest signal, no matter who the carrier.
We had a very smooth travel, all things considered. Every plane, train and automobile left and arrived on time. No delays, no missing suitcases… it all fell together perfectly. Which is just as well as we were EXHAUSTED by the time we got to St Bees. I think I managed about 3 hours on the plane, Carla a little less. We both got another hour or so on the train North, but it wasn’t enough. When we finally got to the St Bees hotel at about 6pm, it was everything we could do to stay awake. We needed to stay up until 9 or 10pm to adjust to the local time. So we went down to the beach, explored the village, found a really interesting 12th C church, and went to take a look at the cliffs tops that the next morning would be the start of our long journey. We had dinner at the local pub (which was good) and then had to do a massive reordering of “the stuff” that we carrying. Everything had been sorted for the airport security regulations, and not for our convenience. So after of lots of messing around with maps and snack foods, lotions and bottles, we passed out and slept like babies until the next morning.
After a full English Breakfast (a lot more than my normal bowl of oatmeal) we set out to start the Walk. We dipped our boots in the Irish Sea and picked out a few pebbles and had our pictures taken near the St. Bees sign (all three traditions for Walkers). We will carry the pebbles with us each day, and then throw them into the North Sea at the end of the journey.
Caroline and I were thankful for our training as the Walk started uphill to reach the cliffs of the coastline at St. Bees.
We continued along the path to discover an abandoned Coast Guard station and the St. Bees lighthouse – and the hangout of some cools birds like puffins and guillemots. We joked that although it’s called the Coast to Coast Walk, we were only doing coast walking. Finally we began our journey eastward and walked through the villages of Sandwith, Moor Row and Cleator. We had a bit of a detour on the way to Moor Row as we apparently took a wrong turn, but thank God for some previous Walkers who had posted a sign stating, ‘If you’ve reached this gate you have left the C2C path’ and then gave a quick fix to get us back on the trail. We stopped for tea in Moor Row, and then continued to Cleator to begin the path up Dent Fell (new vocab for Carla: Fell = hill). UP and up and up and up we climbed, thankful for our hiking poles, to the summit. We were pleasantly surprised to turn around and the see all the villages we had walked through as well as the Irish Sea where we had started the day.
We continued over Dent Fell on to the VERY STEEP descent of Raven Crag. We definitely needed the hiking poles, we definitely needed to walk sideways, and we definitely needed little breaks. It was quite surprising that 3/4 in to the day’s walk we were doing something so challenging, but well worth it when we finally reached the valley and Nannycatch Beck (vocab for Carla: Beck = stream). (I joked that it might have been easier with a snow sled or skis or even a hanglider – none of which we packed in our packs – hahaha). We continued into Ennerdale Bridge – I should say we stumbled into Ennerdale Bridge – and checked into the Shepherd’s Arms Hotel. Had an average dinner at the pub, and managed to stay awake until 11:30pm.
The journey to Ennerdale Bridge was 14 miles – a long day. Today our path takes us to Black Sail Youth Hostel – a short day at 8 miles. There will be no power, no reception and definitely no internet access – so you won’t get another report until we are at Grasmere or at worst, Patterdale. If Caroline can troubleshoot her phone, we may be able to post more little report/tweets/posts along the way.