|Thursday 25th August
We made it!
I can see the sea!!! ^_^
From the Irish Sea to the North Sea.
From St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay.
11 days, Coast to Coast.
AMAZING, EXHAUSTING, INCREDIBLE.
Loving the bright lights of Whitby @.@
Day Twelve - Time to go Home!
This morning we were all woken by the familiar sound of rain pelting down on our tents. Except this time it was harder! Getting out of the tent to go to the bathroom in all my waterproof gear, I
found that the campsite was slowly flooding, and as the time came to pack away our tents for the last time the rain got even heavier. Once the soggy tents were finally rolled up, we were
completely drenched, but marched off to the bus station none the less.
After we'd been on the road for ten minutes our bus to Scarborough started to resemble a sauna, and the driver had to stop the bus to wipe the inside of the windscreen. The tents were making
puddles on the floor of the bus, and when Jack decided to take off his waterproof trousers mid-journey some of the local passengers asked us if he was expecting music and a round of applause.
From Scarborough we got on the train which was to be where we parted ways. After devouring a whole bag of different rolls and pastries from a local bakery it was just about time for me and
Frances to get off the train in York to get our London connection, while Jack stayed on to Manchester.
Travelling back, it seemed like the whole country was under the same giant rain cloud that had soaked us in Whitby, and I had to feel grateful that this weather hadn't come a day earlier, even
while the rain from my soggy clothes seeped into the seat of the train.
Arriving home from such an epic adventure is always a time of mixed emotions. 12 days without proper rest or creature comforts would make anyone relieved to get home! But even so, there is
usually some element of anticlimax when you realise that it is all over. Lucky for me and Jack, we are both stupidly busy most of the time. Jack is off to Scout camp tomorrow morning, and I have
two weeks to write my postgraduate!
Day Eleven - The end! Grosmont - Robin Hoods Bay
In the night we found that our campsite was more horrible than we thought, when at around 1am a whole load of drunk people turned up at the farmhouse and started screaming and shouting to
be let in. While some of them threw stones at the windows, others just shouted insults at their friends and one lad could be heard throwing up not far from our tents and being told that he would
learn in time how to handle his drink.
In the morning we were woken by the sound of rain on the tent, and after a late and noisy night setting out for a long walk was just about the last thing we could have wanted to do. But, this was no
ordinary day, it was the last day, the day when we would reach the North Sea! In a hurry to get out of the grotty campsite we quickly headed in to the village of Grosmont. As we arrived at the
station in the centre of the village a steam train was waiting for us in the platform and we enjoyed the spectacle before pressing on up the hill out of the village.
In having to walk so far the previous evening, we had given ourselves an accidental head start for the last day, so even though we didn't set off very early, we felt as though we were making good
time once we had made the gruelling ascent up on to the moors. Once up there the weather started to clear and the sun burned off all the clouds leaving us with a blue sky and great visibility for
the amazing moment when we finally saw the sea. Still a way off, we could see the sea at Whitby, but this was not where we would come to it. Instead we carried on to Hawsker, where we walked
through a caravan site to finally reach the coast, high up on a cliff top which we followed all the way round to the descent into Robin Hoods Bay.
The whole afternoon was spent in glorious sunshine, and while there were no tears or jumping up and down, we both felt an enormous sense of achievement and a great pride at finally reaching
the sea. When the winding streets of Robin Hoods Bay opened out to a path down to the beach we walked out across the rocks to the low tide beyond to put our feet in the sea on the other side
of the country.
After appreciating the sea and reflecting on how far we'd come, it was time for a celebratory pint in the Wainwright bar. After 10 days of being too exhausted to drink, one pint was enough to make
us quite giddy and we got into our taxi to Whitby full of cheer. After setting up camp in Whitby we headed into town in search of dinner.
Having been out in the wilderness for so long, Whitby felt like a metropolis. The sight of the winding streets, the boats in the harbour and their reflections on the water and the sounds of folk music
coming out of every pub we passed were intoxicating. After much deliberation we settled on an Italian restaurant and managed to stay awake just long enough to eat our food before walking back
to our tents.
Day Ten - Beak Hills (near Clay Bank Top) - Grosmont
After a night in a warm room and a proper Yorkshire cooked breakfast I felt like a new person, ready for anything. Which was lucky really because day 10 turned out to be one of our longest days.
We got off to a nice early start, and as we walked away from our home for the night it quickly vanished into the thick cloud that had descended on the moors. We walked briskly along the
Cleveland Way and then along an old railway line all the way to the Lion Inn, a pub in the middle of no where, which like the Lord Stones Cafe was a hive of activity.
Stopping only for a cold drink and a plate of chips we pressed on across the moor to a parking place where we sat down to tuck into our packed lunch.
As evening came we were walking into Glaisedale, hoping to find camping in a village pub, as the farm we had previously tried to enquire about was now closed. When we arrived in Glaisedale
however we found no where to camp and were told that the nearest place was a farmers field in Grosmont about 2 miles down the road. We finally arrived at the campsite in Grosmont after dark at
around 9:30pm to find that the three walkers we had been overtaking from Shap to Kirkby Stephen were already camped there.
The campsite in Grosmont was horrible, with the kitchen infested with flies. After putting up our tents we set about making dinner, but by the time it was ready none of us were very hungry and we
ended up having to throw most of what we'd made away.
Day Nine - Ingleby Cross - Beaks Hill
When Frances had come up to join us the day before she brought all sorts of foods which we had been craving, and so day 9 had an exciting start: bacon rolls. I managed to eat one, and we had
all our things packed and ready to go when I felt sick again. Leaving the campsite to head up into the moors was not an option and while 'my hero' Jack went off to try to find me some medicine I
had to stay very close to the toilets.
After taking the medication which Jack had been given by the woman who worked at the local petrol station who just happened to have some in her car, I started to feel better quite quickly. Still
weak, but determined not to let the day go to waste, I wanted to set off, even though we wouldn't be able to make it to the campsite we had intended to use.
At around 11am then, we started walking. First was a long climb up onto the moors, but from then on the walking was quite easy, with just a few ups and downs. The moors landscape was really
beautiful, but quite barren. Miles and miles of purple heather and views to fields and towns below were breath-taking at first, but one soon got used to them.
At about 4pm we reached 'Lord Stones' Cafe' beside a moor top road, it was the only building for miles around, but quite a bustling little cafe with excellent parkin cake. By this time I had just about
used up my energy for the day, unable to eat much and with rain setting in I was beginning to despair, knowing that I couldn't keep walking much longer in my condition. Frances and James both
spoke to the cafe owner and were trying to work out what to do, whether we could spend the night there, or whether someone could give us a life to a local B&B. They had one place in mind, a
farm with a campsite and B&B up in the moors just a couple of miles further down the route, but they weren't answering the phone for us to see if they had a room indoors for the night where I
could recover. Eventually we decided to head for the farm and hope that they could help us find an alternative if they didn't have any beds for the night.
Dropping down from the could covered moor we came to the farmhouse at Beaks Hill and knocked on the door. When we asked if they had a room for me, the farmer’s wife told us she had a room
with three beds in, and after conferring quickly we decided that all of us would stay indoors. When we explained the situation the farmer was sent to put more logs in the wood burner so that I
could get warmed up and a huge pot of tea and plate of biscuits were laid out on the living room table. When we got up to the room we realised we didn't have enough cash to pay for our board
and so, after explaining this to the farmers, Frances went on an adventure with the farmer to the nearest village to get some cash, and she came back with medicine too. While I slept Frances and
Jack made dinner and waking up to eat I finally felt hungry again.
Day Eight - Richmond(ish) - Ingleby Cross
Day 8 was another very long day. The route for the day, while long, was very flat, and so should not have presented us with much of a challenge. However,
weary from the day before and aching more than ever, even on flat ground we couldn't walk as fast as we normally would.
After such a late night the night before, we took our time getting ready in the morning, so even though we were woken up early by the loud mooing of cows in the field right next to our tents, we
didn't leave the site until after 10am. In the morning I found that I had absolutely no appetite and struggled to eat a few biscuits before we departed. Hours later as we passed through the village of
Danby Wiske in the late afternoon I managed to eat a bag of crisps, but even though we had been walking all day I could not make myself eat anymore. I was struggling with my sore foot and
obviously quite weak after so little food, but we pressed on to Ingleby Cross knowing that my sister Frances was waiting there for us in the pub where we planned to camp that night.
In the end we reached the pub at about 8pm, after walking through countless fields and along farm tracks that never seemed to end. It was on the way to our site that evening that I really felt that I
was not going to be able to carry on and complete the walk in the state I was in. When we finally reached the pub I was so relieved to see my sister and to have arrived somewhere where I could
rest, but I was also panicking about the days ahead. After trying, and failing to eat a bowl of soup in the pub, Jack, who was quickly settling into the role of 'my hero', went out to put up my tent
before his and Fran's dinner arrived, and while they ate I got into my sleeping bag and tried to gather up my strength for the following day.
Day Seven - Keld - Richmond (plus a bit)
This was our longest day, at 22 and a bit miles. When we woke up in Keld, as if my prayers had been answered, the weather had cleared and it looked set to be a beautiful day. There was
another problem however, without the rain to keep them away the local midges were out in force and while we tried to pack away our tents we were getting bitten by these tiny flies. While I came
away with just a few pink spots around my wrists, Jack left the campsite sporting a polka-dot face! As the morning wore on, while my bites faded away, the bites all over Jacks cheeks swelled up
and he looked like he had chicken pox.
In the morning we followed the 'riverside alternative' route all the way to Reeth were we stopped in a village hotel for lunch. As we got up to leave our table a couple at the next table asked us what
we were doing with such big bags and after talking for a while we got our first 'on the road' donation: £3! After lunch we sat on Reeth village green and had an ice cream before stocking up on
some supplies for the afternoon ahead.
After this rest we headed on for Richmond, but as we left Reeth I started to feel quite unwell. It got worse and worse until, just before we reached Marrick Priory, I had to take off my bag and was
then sick by the side of the path. After a rest and having thought about our options for the rest of the day we decided to press on to Richmond. Though I was now a little weak, I felt much better
than I had just before and there was little else we could do from where we were.
We finally reached Richmond as darkness fell, but as we arrived we realised that the campsite we had chosen for the night, indeed, the only campsite in the area, was quite a way out of
Richmond. We pressed on, both of us weak and weary, but still managing to navigate in the dark, to finally arrive at the farmer’s field at around 10pm. The farmers were really friendly, the
bathroom and shower were basically their downstairs loo, but for the first time, the room was stocked with towels. To both of us this seemed like a really exciting luxury: it's strange what you
appreciate after a week on the road.
Day Six - Kirkby Stephen - Keld
Because our planned route for day 6 was only 11 miles, we decided to spend the morning in Kirkby Stephen doing our washing and airing our tents and sleeping bags. The weather was in our
favour and there was a shop just ten minutes down the road and so the conditions were perfect for our mornings rest. When I had gotten out of my tent first thing, it was pretty difficult to walk and I
found myself limping slowly to the toilet block. Luckily after a gentle stroll to the shops the pain in my foot had pretty much subsided.
Though we vowed to leave at midday, we finally left our campsite at around 1pm, very pleased with our mornings work: for the first time all of our clothes were clean and dry. We made it across
country and up to the 'Nine Standards' in good time and had a little celebration at the trig point there as this marked both the highest point for the remainder of our journey and the halfway point of
the entire walk. It was while we were up by the Nine Standards however that the rain began. The terrain ahead would have been nightmarish even in fine weather as the moor we were walking
across was a giant sticky bog. With rain coming down and cloud all around us it was even worse. As we came down from the moor we had to follow a river, but here the path was even more
waterlogged and slippery, and I fell down countless times. Muddy, soaked and sad that our dry washing and kit was probably now as wet as we were, we arrived at our campsite in Keld.
The site was small but had a small room where we could prepare our food out of the wind and rain. As the last ones to get there at around 8pm we found that inside the room, every possible place
that could be used for hanging up wet clothes had been used. People had even hung out their underwear in this room where we were preparing dinner with our stove on the floor.
We had to put up our tents in the rain, and, when I went to go to bed I found that even my sleeping bag had gotten wet in the wind and rain up on the moor. This evening marked the lowest point
of the whole trip. Sitting in my tent with a wet sleeping bag, with the deafening sound of the rain coming down I was just wondering how it could possibly be any worse. The next day we were going
to be walking our 'double day' putting two legs of the route into one days walking, it was going to be our most challenging day. I was literally despairing when through the sound of the rain I heard
a couple arguing in a nearby tent. Hearing this I had to count my blessings, even though we had been walking for 6 days and faced all sorts of challenges me and Jack had not argued once and
one of us had always managed to look after the other when they were in a bad way.
Day Five - Shap - Kirkby Stephen
Day five was especially exciting because a short way out of Shap we crossed the M6, the only motorway that the route crosses. Today we also had our first taste of the scenery to come in the last
days of the walk: walking through fields of purple heather.
Around lunchtime we made a stop at a B&B near Orton for a hot drink and some homemade cake, before carrying on, constantly catching up and overtaking a group of three young walkers who
were having their kit ferried around for them. Every time we stopped for a break they would pass us, and then eventually we would overtake them again, feeling quite proud of our navigation and
general speed given our heavy bags.
The day dragged on and the weather was very changeable in the afternoon. By the time we were drawing near to our destination we had both just about had enough. Passing under the railway
and coming off the main Coast to Coast route to get to our campsite we were thoroughly exhausted, so much so that we were getting annoyed at styles that were too high and cursing brambles on
the path which we would usually just trample over.
After some dangerous walking along a busy road we finally reached our campsite, which thankfully was a caravan park with lots of facilities and beautifully kept grass for camping on. When we put
down our bags on our pitch we both just lay down on the ground for a while, legs and shoulders aching. Although the weather for our arrival was lovely we could see that rain was on the way, but
while I quickly got my tent up Jack seemed to be struggling to keep himself together. After a rest and a bite to eat he was back on form and we worked out a plan to eat our dinner under the outer
frame of one of the tents. As we tucked into our tuna and cous cous the rain started but we were undercover and warm and beginning to come to our senses again.
Jack says there is nothing positive to report about day 4, aside from the fact that we ended it in the 'buzzing metropolis' of Shap,
a village with a handful of shops and three pubs.
At 15 miles with 3265 ft of climbing, stats wise day 4 might sound just like the day before, but with most of the climbing in the initial ascent to Angle Tarn and Kidsy Pike,
it should have been much easier.
When we woke up we found that our campsite was in fact right on the shores of Uslwater but had little time or brainpower to apprieciate the view. We
had resolved to leave at 8am and so woke up bleary eyed before 7, but still, in the end we left the site around 9am.
We made great time on our climb up into the mountains but once we had passed the landmark of Angle Tarn,
our navigation became a bit hazy and we ended up trudging up to the top of the wrong peak and having to work our way down before climbing up the right one.
This was not good for morale! But our error, which we made at about the same time as the day before,
did serve to show us that we needed to eat and rest more regularly, 'haste makes waste' as they say.
Once we were back on track we had no further issues in terms of the route, but tiredness and aches and pains started to slow us down.
Coming down from Kidsty Pike and walking the length of Haweswater Reservoir took us quite a lot longer than expected
and we both had to work hard to keep each other going and distract ourselves from the weight on our feet and shoulders.
Even though we had made a good packed lunch and stocked up on snacks to keep us going, by the early evening, with our end point still a couple of hours away,
had run out of food for eating on the go and so the last leg of our journey, past Shap Abbey and through fields filled with sheep, felt like a real chore.
When we finally reached the 'bright lights' of Shap, at around 7pm with rain starting to fall, Jack was jumping for joy at the presence of a small Co-op supermarket,
and we dumped our bags outside and stocked up on all we would need for the next day.
Our campsite for tonight was the beer garden at the back of The Bulls Head, and so we went through the pub, where we found a whole new days worth of fellow walkers,
and set up our tents beyond the patio and picnic tables.
Seeing as we were sleeping there, we thought it best to eat in the pub, and each enjoyed a big plateful of home cooked food
and took the opportunity to charge up our phones and write some postcards.
People say that the first four days of the Coast to Coast walk, through the Lake District, are the hardest.
A positive thing to be said for this day then, was that we successfully completed those four days.
Also it seems that as we go along we are learning how we must look after ourselves in these strange conditions of burning an extra 2000 calories a day
and pushing the bounds of exhaustion.
Hopefully with these lessons learned and 'the hard part' behind us we can carry on to the end and enjoy the rest of our me on this 200 mile trail.
Today we covered 14.6 miles (plus a bit) and climbed over 3625ft. Day three was both our most amazing day and the one where everything seemed to go wrong.
We set off from our campsite in glorious sunshine expecting to find breakfast at the farm shop in Rosthwaite.
Sadly it was closed and so we pressed on to neighbouring Stonethwaite in search of food, but there was none to be found.
Unpreturbed we pressed on up Greenup Gill and over Lining Crag. Up above Grasmere Common, hungry and out of puff, we made our first navigational error.
We didn't get lost exactly but rather accidentally took the 'high alternative' route.
Rather than following a river down to Grasmere we went along the ridge above, getting hungrier with every scramble to the top of the next crag.
After a while up above the beautiful common we finally stopped to cook our 'emergency rations'
and set up our stove sat on a beautiful rock above the path overlooking the stunning mountain scenery.
After some food we came to our senses a bit and found a path down off of the ridge which would connect up with the regular Coast to Coast path.
As soon as we joined the main route we practically ran into Grasmere, with the excitement of little children,
knowing that there would be a small supermarket and an ice cream shop awaiting us.
In Grasmere we sat on the village green and filled our boots with all that the local Co-op had to offer,
and watched the tourists passing by and gawping at our massive rucksacks.
After a rest in Grasmere we set off on the second leg of our journey to Patterdale, but after a well earned rest it was already 5pm by the time we departed.
Apprehensive at the prospect of not making it by nightfall, we climbed up to Grisedale Tarn where we saw groups of people setting up camp beside the lake.
The still water in the evening light was absolutely serene and perfect, just the sight of it calmed our nerves.
Sad to leave the beautiful tarn we trekked on in the dusky sunlight down the length of Grisedale on a steep and rocky path.
As we left the mountain terrain the sun went down completely, leaving us burned and having to find our way in the dark.
We knew that beyond Patterdale stretched views of Ulswater, but could only see a few house lights reflected on the gloomy expanse of water.
Finally reaching our campsite at 10pm there weren't many pitching spaces left,
so we set up on a little patch of ground near the gate and made a small meal before trying to sleep.
In completing the journey from Rosthwaite to Patterdale in one day, we left behind most of our fellow Coast to Coast walkers that had set out on the same day as us,
as they had all opted to split the day in two, spending the night in Grasmere.
Two such walkers were an amazing double act, two retired gentlemen from Bristol who we saw frequently along the way,
and who would boast to fellow walkers on our behalf about the fact that we had started at the same time,
but while they were staying in B&Bs we were camping and carrying all their gear.
Sadly we parted ways in a rush as we took our path down to Grasmere...something tells me we might miss them.
Today we walked 15 miles and climbed 1740ft. It was raining in the morning and so getting out of the tent was pretty depressing!
We started the day walking along the length of Ennerdale Water, where the lake was encroaching on the path and we had to scramble around some rocks.
After leaving the watery path we walked beside the river Liza all the way to Black Sail youth hostel where we then had to climb up beside a mountain stream.
As we were climbing the heavens opened and we were instantly drenched. Up on top of the peak we were inside a cloud, and could only navigate following the cairns along the route.
Coming down into the valley we found Honisted slate mine museum where we found hot chocolate with marshmallows which warmed us up for the further descent into Rosthwaite.
In Rosthwaite the weather was fine, and after pitching our tents in a campsite with idyllic mountain views, we headed to the only pub in the village for dinner.
After a sencond day of walking with our heavy packs, Jack has developed some quite unattractive boils on his hips.
Walking in the rain has also meant our boots are wet through, so there will probably be some seriously stinky feet in the near future.
Tomorrow we go further into the Lake District to the idyllic Grasmere and on to Patterdale on the edge of Ulswater.
Our day began at half 5 in the morning, driving through every kind of rain you can imagine to reach our start point: St Bees Head.
We started walking at 9:45am and powered along the coast with beautiful views across the water to the Isle of Man and misty Scottish mountains in the distance.
Coming inland we stopped for lunch in a field and met our first rain shower of the trip before heading over a hill and along a stream to our campsite near Ennerdale Bridge.
We finished walking at about 4:30pm, covered about 14 miles and climbed over 2315ft!
Highlights of the day were Jack falling into some sheep poo, a delicious sausage roll bought in Moor Row, and a bright pink beetroot sandwich.
There were also some stunning views from the top of Dent and a very friendly pub just down the road from our campsite.
Tomorrow we enter Lakeland and should enjoy some stunning views.
Already though bags are causing problems. Despite making us look really tough in the eyes of other walkers, they are proving to be a real pain: literally.
Hopefully tomorrow we will both be able to get the bags fitting properly, or alternatively, toughen up, as loosing weight out of the bags isn't really an option.
Big thanks today go to our 'sherpa', or 'dads taxi' Adrian Caine for driving us to the start point at such an early hour, and for introducing us to the delights of Gilbert O'Sullivan (not!).
We are on our way!
Our final preparations have all been made: the bags are packed and maps marked and ready. We've even remembered to pack the kitchen sink, a really handy camp-gadget which folds down
into a small bag, and of course we have our Scout scarves and awesome sunglasses.
On 15th August at 10am (11 hours from writing this!) we will begin walking and plan to finish the day at Ennerdale Bridge.
Alarm clocks are set for 5:30am as we have a three hour drive to the start point.
After checking over all the maps today it really hit home just quite how far we are walking and what an undertaking this really is. The scariest part is not the miles, or the weight of the pack, but
rather keeping up morale for such a long time on the trail. Still, I think the support and well wishes of friends, family and supporters will really keep us going.
Coast to Coast Day Minus 1
In just 48 hours from now we will be coming to the end of our first day of walking.It's only then that we might really understand what we've let ourselves in for!
Preparations are going well, with campsites booked and our daily itineraries sorted.
Our toughest days will probably be the 21st August where we will be covering 33 kilometres and climbing 880 metres and our third day of walking on the 17th where we will climb over 1000 metres.
Suddenly it all seems very real!
So far we have raised £515,
with donations coming from as far as
Cheshire and South Korea!
It feels amazing to know that before we have started we can feel confident that our efforts won't be in vain.
Still, we really hope to reach the target
£1000 by the end of our mammoth hike.
Now it's time to get packing.
A really crucial moment.
Going 11 days without a toothbrush would be a bit of a disaster,
and it is very important not to over-pack,
as everything that goes in the bag adds to the weight which we will have to carry for about
88 hours over the course of the trip.
Sophie Sat 13th Aug
|The Great Walk
|Saturday, 26 February 2011
Up to recently I hadn't decided whether I was going to try and raise money for charity as I
embark on my 3rd Ultra-marathon but when I did decide there was just one charity at the
moment that I would like to raise some money for and get more awareness for and that is Bahay
ng Pag-Asa (House of Hope) in the Philippines, run by Nickie Kenning(Or Mama Nickie is she is
The reason I hadn't decided is that Nickie has been out in the Philippines since last August,
doing amazing work, and has just returned, so I needed to check some details with her about
setting up a site for donations, which she has now organised, and if you would like to find out
more about her fantastic work with the children of the Philippines, or donate some money to
support Nickie then just log on to www.mycharitypage.com/Bahay-ng-Pag-asa-House-of-Hope
Any donation, no matter how small, will be gratefully accepted and if you are a taxpayer don't
forget to tick the 'Gift Aid' box so the House of Hope will receive even more of your money.
On behalf of Nickie and myself
'Thank you all so much'
|HUGE THANK YOU TO
TO OUR FUND-RAISING
COME & SING!
WE RAISED A
WHICH WILL REALLY
|The course for the Atacama
Crossing 2011 crosses the
stunning Atacama Desert that
is more than 15 million years
old and known as the driest
place on Earth
(fifty times more arid than
Death Valley in California).
In some places along the
course, there has never been a
single drop of rain recorded!
|Sophie & Jack's
Coast to Coast Walk
Sophie and Jack are getting in training
for the mammoth 200 mile walk from
St Bees Bay Cumbria
Robin Hood Bay North Yorkshire
The walk will start on the 14th August
and we will be following their progress
every step of the way!
Come back often to see how they are
|May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be ever at your back.
May the sunshine warm upon your face,
And the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again.
May God hold you, May God hold you
Ever in the palm of his hand.
|Huge Thank You Marian
Who took part In The Atacama Desert
For Bahay ng Pag-asa
Sophie & Jack
You Are Stars!
|Administrator and great
supporter of the Mission took
some of the harshest
conditions on earth in
temperatures of 40c
Friends & Sponsors