Monday, August 29, 2011

Wainwright Coast to Coast Walk - Overview

Day 7: Heading to Gunnerside. Turning around to catch late afternoon sun

Day 11: View from the Glaisdale Moor into the Great Fryup Dale

It’s been several weeks now since I went on the Wainwright Coast to Coast Walk sponsored by National Geographic. The walk started on July 24th and ended on August 3rd and included 14 of us and 2 guides walking about 140 miles in 12 days through spectacular countryside. The route we followed was not the full Wainwright trail, but selected parts, Wainwright-light we joked. I’m not a purist in having to complete every part of the trail. The real attraction is getting to know the country, its people and geography. And to that end, this tour was a success. The National Geographic overview of the tour starts with the succinct description: “[c]ross England on foot, trekking from the Irish Sea to the North Sea through three incredible national parks.” Here’s a summary of the itinerary we followed:

Part I - Western

July 24 (day 1) :: St. Bees (Arrive in town and get settled.)
July 25 (day 2) :: St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge
July 26 (day 3) :: Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite
July 27 (day 4) :: Rosthwaite to Glenridding
July 28 (day 5) :: Lake Ullswater to Shap
July 29 (day 6) :: Shap to Ravenstonedale
July 30 (day 7) :: Ravonstonedale to Reeth

Part II – Eastern

July 31 (day 8) :: Reeth to Richmond
Aug 1 (day 9) :: Richmond to Osmotherley
Aug 2 (day 10) :: Osmotherly to Blakey Ridge
Aug 3 (day 11) :: Blakey Ridge to Grosmont
Aug 4 (day 12) :: Grosmont to Robin Hood’s Bay

So you are thinking about this tour and are not sure about it? I recommend it. This was the first group tour I’ve ever done outside of a class trip to Paris in 1983 which I think can be ignored for the purposes of the discussion here. I was worried about whether I could hang with a group for a long period and what would it be like. In the end it was fine. You form a small family with a common goal: dipping your toes in the Irish Sea and then dipping them 12 days later in the North Sea. Along the way, stories are swapped, personalities revealed, and friendships forged. It helped that a guy who would have been my roommate cancelled last minute so I had a single which gave me some private time when we weren’t walking and eating together. During the day while you walk you can always find your space if you need it– by finding a place in the line of hikers. I preferred the back of the group. Typically we had one guide in front and one in back.

The tour includes dinners and lunches (and associated arrangements), transporting your luggage from hotel to hotel, any transportation, and other logistics. You carry just a day pack during the day.

We used the FootPrint maps, more or less, with some deviation when our guides led us on a more interesting route. The FootPrint maps break the walk into two sections, west (part 1) and east (part 2), and I’ve adopted that approach in most of what I posted about the trip.

Why is this coast to coast walked named Wainwright? It is named after Alfred Wainwright (1907 – 1991), a British fell walker, who published his book A Coast to Coast Walk: From St. Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay in 1973. For more information on this book see the first link below.

Some other Travelmarx posts related to the Wainwright walk which give different views of the trip include:

- A Coast to Coast Walk: From St. Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay (book review)
- The Wainwright Coast to Coast Walk – A Botanical View (Eastern Part)
- The Wainwright Coast to Coast Walk – A Botanical View (Western Part)
- Mxyomatosis – or – The Explanation for Flattened Rabbits
- Red v. Grey Squirrel
- Rothko on the Moors
- Grosmont and Goathland
- A Name in North Yorkshire
- Benches of the Wainwright Coast to Coast
- Kissing Gates and Stiles – Wainwright Coast to Coast

Footprint Map: St. Bees to Swaledale
Footprint Map - Coast to Coast Walk Part 1 West FrontFootprint Map - Coast to Coast Walk Part 1 West Back

Footprint Map: Swaledale to Robin Hood’s Bay
Footprint Map - Coast to Coast Walk Part 2 - East FrontFootprint Map - Coast to Coast Walk Part 2 - East Back

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