Coast To Coast Walk
The Coast To Coast Walk (properly "A Coast To Coast Walk") is an 190 mile long-distance walking trail in England which crosses the North of England from St Bees in Cumbria on the West coast to Robin Hood's Bay in North Yorkshire on the East coast.
The walk was created in 1972 by Alfred Wainwright, when in response to the creation of the Pennine Way he set about devising the best walk he could imagine in England. It has never been adopted as an official National Trail, though a campaign has begun, but is hugely popular and came second only to the Milford Track in the South Island of New Zealand in a recent poll among travel writers conducted by Country Walking magazine to find the finest walk in the world.
Along its route the walk passes through three National Parks - The Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, and the North York Moors. The creator suggested walking from West to East in order to enjoy the best possible views, and to have any prevailing weather at your back rather than in your face.
The original guide book was written in Wainwright's characteristic style of hand-written text and hand-drawn maps, in the same manner as his seminal Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells.
The walk typically takes people two weeks to complete. You'll want a copy of the guidebook, maps, and suitable outdoor gear. The walk crosses through the mountains of the Lake District but generally keeps to the passes, apart from the occasional option to cross summits.
Walkers may split the walk in various ways to suit the distance they want to walk in a day, though the availability of accommodation may limit this. The author suggested breaking the walk into twelve days, which makes about 16 miles a day. Some may find this a little too much for comfort and choose to have the odd rest day or a couple of short days.
To St Bees.
St Bees railway station is a mandatory stop on the Cumbrian Coast Line. From the West Coast Main Line change at Carlisle or Lancaster, or travel to Barrow-in-furness and change there. There are 22 passenger trains a day.
Robin Hood's Bay does not have a train station, but Arriva Bus has a regular bus service between Whitby and Scarborough that stops in Robin Hood's Bay. By bus it is about 20 minutes to the Whitby bus station or about 40 minutes to the Scarborough train station. You do not need to book the bus in advance. Tickets can be purchased from the driver when you board (cash only). As of 2014 the fare from Robin Hood's Bay was £5 per person. There are also several local taxi services that will drive you, though these must be booked in advance and cost significantly more than the bus.
The scenery throughout is beautiful, but also varied, since you pass through a number of different types of landscapes. The start is a coastal path walk, with cliffs, seabirds, and a lighthouse. Soon after heading inland you pass through the Lake District, which has a great variety of landscapes in itself. The northern part of the Yorkshire Dales is limestone country, then the Vale of Mowbray is lower level terrain. The North York Moors are peaty moorlands, and finally you reach the sea once more at Robin Hood's Bay among the highest cliffs in England.
Your options are Bed & Breakfast (with occasional Youth Hostel options) or camping. Some accommodation guides for the walk have been produced over the years.
Lighten your load by hiring a daily baggage transfer service that will transport your luggage to the next stop each day, allowing you to carry just a small day pack. There are two well-known, reliable companies that cover the entire Coast to Coast route: Sherpa Van and Packhorse. Each offers daily transfer service for around £8 per bag, and Packhorse will cover the entire walk, up to 16 transfers, for £101.50. Both companies allow exhausted hikers to ride along with their paid baggage.
Your main risks are being miserable when it rains, getting blisters, and getting lost. Having the right walking gear, especially good footwear, is important. Plan on getting wet: It will rain on you, you will have to cross some shallow streams on foot, and you will probably sink knee-deep in some bogs. Good maps and/or a GPS unit should be considered essential: Some stretches of the route are poorly signed and even experienced hikers can easily take a wrong turn and not realize it for hours. Set off prepared each day: In many cases you will spend much of the day outside the reach of mobile phone signals.