This is my account of Wainwright's Coast to Coast walk I did with Chris between 13-23 June 2006. 


You can also see my slide show here or on YouTube: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=elHBktge7FA.



















Wainwright's Coast to Coast at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:Share GPS tracks

NB This is only a guide as it has a reduced number of waypoints. 

The original full set is available by e-mailing: webmaster(at)whitecottage.org.


We were constrained by dates and only had 11 continuous walking days.  We thought this was tight, but manageable, as it turned out to be.  We decided to walk with all our kit as well, to make us independent.  This was between 25-30lbs.  I am not sure I would do that again, but it was certainly good training!  We found that everyone else used a baggage transfer service to transport kit.  There are quite a number now who offer this service, at least six, of which Sherpa Van Project and Packhorse seem to be the most popular.  They can also book accommodation and transport walkers who want a rest day.  I would recommend booking everywhere in advance as it was difficult to find accommodation even back in April.  We were glad we did but it did mean committing ourselves and left no margin for bad weather or mishaps en route.


The walk is highly recommended for its variation of countryside (lakes, dales, moors and pastureland) and companionship of other walkers.  One of the biggest surprises was how popular the Coast to Coast walk is, particularly with Americans and, to a lesser extent, Australians.





Height climbed (feet)

Time (hours)


Place stayed





Outrigg House, St Bees, Cumbria CA27 0AN


St Bee's to High Gillerthwaite 




Over Dent, through Cleator, Ennerdale Bridge and along the lake

High Gillerthwaite Youth Hostel, Cat Crag, Ennerdale, Cleator, Cumbria CA23 3AX


High Gillerthwaite to Rosthwaite




Over the High Stile ridge, Haystacks, Brandreth and Grey Knotts and down via Honister Pass

Gillercombe, Stonethwaite Road End, Rosthwaite, Cumbria CA12 5XG


Rosthwaite to Patterdale




Over Greenup Edge, Steel Fell, Dollywagon, Nethermost Pike, Helvellyn and Striding Edge

Wordsworth Cottage, Patterdale, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0NP


Patterdale to Shap




Via Angle Tarn, The Knott, Kidsty Pike, along Haweswater and past Shap Abbey

Greyhound Hotel, Main Street, Shap, Penrith, Cumbria CA10 3PW


Shap to Kirkby Stephen




Over the motorway, skirting Orton and past Sunbiggin Tarn and Smardale Bridge

Kings Arms Hotel, Market Street, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria SA17 4QN


Kirkby Stephen to Gunnerside




Up to Nine Standards Rigg, above Keld, past Crackpot Hall and Swinner Gill, and down to Gunnerside

Dalegarth House, Gunnerside, Richmond, N Yorks, DL11 6LD


Gunnerside to Richmond




Back up to the moor, through Reeth, Marrick and Marske

Willance Guest House, 24 Frenchgate, Richmond, N Yorks DL10 7AG


Richmond to Ingleby Arncliffe




Down to the river and along it via the disused railway, through Catterick Bridge, Bolton-on-Swale and Danby Wiske

Ingleby House, Ingleby Arncliffe, N Yorks DL6 3LS


Ingleby Arncliffe to Blakey Ridge




Beacon Hill, Carlton Moor, Cold Moor, the Wainstones and Clay Bank Top, Bloworth Crossing and along another disused railway

High Blakey House, Blakey Ridge, N Yorks YO62 7LQ


Blakey Ridge to Grosmont




White Cross, Great Fryup Head, Glaisdale, Egton Bridge

Hollins Lodge, Grosmont, Whitby, N Yorks YO22 5PU


Grosmont to Robin Hood's Bay




Falling Foss Forest Trail, Hawsker and Ness Point

North Ings, Station Road, Robin Hood's Bay, Whitby, N Yorks YO22 4RA









Day 1  St Bee's to High Gillerthwaite 


After our arrival the night before, we ate in the Queens Hotel where we met a group of 6 Americans also doing the walk.  I hope they made it alright - we didn't see them again!  We were entertained during our meal by some local singers.


The first thing to do before setting off was to paddle in the sea.  We saw a single pair of footsteps in the sand going one way - strange?!  Most of the first day was new to us, although I had been to St Bees once before.  We were joined below Dent by a couple who were walking quite fast.  We missed the path up to the top while we were talking and took a detour through the forest tracks before we got there.  Beware - this wooded area has changed over the last few years and you would not recognise it on older maps.  Even though today was a long walk and the path at the end of the day along the lake was difficult, we recommend going the extra miles to the youth hostel to get a good start the second day.  The youth hostel at High Gillerthwaite was quiet with only a Dutchman, a German couple and an interviewee for the job of warden at Black Sail Youth Hostel further up the valley.  We were given good food for dinner (including beer!) and breakfast and the shop was handy for lunches.




Day 2  High Gillerthwaite to Rosthwaite


The day started with a steep walk up to Red Pike - no chance to loosen up here.  We were keen to walk all the high level alternatives, weather permitting.  The view at the top was fantastic - one of the highlights of the whole walk.  This enabled us to walk along the High Stile ridge, and, very appropriately, have lunch at Haystacks.  Having walked all the Wainwrights, I recommended to Chris that we climbed Brandreth and Grey Knotts as well for the views and they added little further height.  After a long descent via Honister Pass, Rosthwaite was a welcome sight and Scafell Hotel gave us a good meal (no need to book in advance).  Check out the Borrowdale Fell Race here: http://www.borrowdalefellrunners.co.uk/BFR_Info.htm (sponsored by Scafell Hotel)!  We met Steve in Rosthwaite and we would bump into him several times until we reached Richmond.  This was his 7th time on the Coast to Coast.




Day 3  Rosthwaite to Patterdale


This day again started with an long and steady uphill walk to Greenup Edge.  Our host last night recommended that, as we weren't staying in Grasmere, we should miss out Helm Crag and Grasmere village, go along Steel Fell and drop down to Dunmail Raise instead.  This saved about 3 miles of walking and several hundred feet of climbing.  This was definitely a good idea as we wanted to walk on the Helvellyn ridge and along Striding Edge.  The weather continued to be excellent and enabled us to achieve our objective.  We had dinner at the White Lion accompanied by analysis of the England v Trinidad & Tobago World Cup match.




Day 4  Patterdale to Shap


This was my birthday.  What a way to celebrate it!  The walk started inauspiciously as we left Patterdale on the wrong path.  A quick detour enabled us to reach the correct path and we started to climb up to Angle Tarn.  The views continued to be excellent into Patterdale and up Kirkstone Pass and when we went over High Street (we decided not to go to the summit) we could see the eastern fells around Haweswater and Kentmere Horseshoe.  The descent off Kidsty Pike to Haweswater was quite steep and there were more complaints from fellow walkers about that than anything else.  The walk along the lake side was not as straightforward as we expected, but the views continued to be good all the way to Shap Abbey.  This was worth a detour.  We found the Greyhound was about the furthest building at the other end of Shap village, which was very annoying!  However, it was a welcome sight and we had a memorable evening meal with 4 American ladies.  The Greyhound turned out to have a justifiably excellent reputation for food.




Day 5  Shap to Kirkby Stephen


We met some cyclists riding from Land's End to John O'Groats at breakfast time (including one from Stoke Gifford!).  I know what I would rather be doing!  This was a very hot day.  The landscape was quite interesting after the motorway and limestone quarry & granite works.  We said goodbye to the last views of the Lake District.  We started to see some wild flower meadows of which there were quite a few throughout the pasturelands.  We had dinner at the Kings Arms Hotel where we were staying.




Day 6  Kirkby Stephen to Gunnerside


We saw our first rain today.  The dales were rather gloomy but we kept to our higher level route.  The path round the Hartley quarry is no longer in existence.  We were pleasantly surprised how quickly and easily we got to Nine Standards Rigg but wondered why it was there (as did Wainwright).  It is important to follow the coloured routes to help with erosion control.  We had an interesting spectacle at Keld when we saw the Beamish vintage car rally driving through.  This marks the halfway point.  We were surprised that there are rumours of Keld Youth Hostel being sold as it is on the intersection of the Coast to Coast and the Pennine Way.  We had lunch at Crackpot Hall before going over more moorland and grouse butts and following the path down to Gunnerside.  When at last we found our bed & breakfast in Gunnerside, we had a cup of tea and bath, and had dinner at the Kings Head (the only pub in Gunnerside, which is more than there is in Keld!).  It was very quiet - perhaps customers are put off by the landlord?  We saw two Australians touring the area very briefly and a local farmer who had just inspected his grouse but they had been decimated by an infection.  That would explain why we didn't see many.  However, I think we saw more curlews on our walk than any other bird.  They were very upset at passing walkers.  We also saw lapwing and oystercatchers as well as larks and other moorland birds.  Later on we saw rooks mobbing a buzzard.




Day 7  Gunnerside to Richmond


The reason for staying at Gunnerside was to divide the distance between Kirby Stephen and Richmond as equally as possible.  The downside was that we missed some of the interesting mines above Gunnerside.  This was another wet day, but it dried up when we reached Reeth, where we had lunch.  This is a more substantial village than Keld and very pretty.  We then found our way through arable land where there was a lot of silage-making with large agricultural machinery.  Our hosts at Willance Guest House in Richmond had taken over only 10 days earlier and it was their first such venture.  We wish them well and they have got off to a very promising start.  Unbelievably, we found it difficult to find anywhere to eat in Richmond.  Apparently, Mondays and Tuesdays are quiet and pubs don't generally offer food.  Therefore we decided to have a change and had dinner at the Amontola Tandoori restaurant.  This was very good and reasonably priced.




Day 8  Richmond to Ingleby Arncliffe


This was the longest day (distance-wise) and nearly the flattest, being between the Yorkshire dales (Swaledale) and the North York Moors.  This made it very wearing on the feet, making blisters that had already started rather worse.  The GPS was registering a speed of 3-4 mph quite frequently.  When we got to Danby Wiske, we were disappointed to find the White Swan closed.  However, we were very impressed that the landlady took pity on us and opened up, especially after hearing what Wainwright thought of the place!  That was a lovely long soft drink.  But beware of trolls in the village.  We reached Ingleby Arncliffe at last in one piece.  We had dinner at the Blue Bell Inn in Ingleby Cross where there was a cricket match still in progress even though it had started to rain!  Anything to get away from England playing Sweden!




Day 9  Ingleby Arncliffe to Blakey Ridge


This was a very windy and wet day.  The moors were at their wildest.  OK, I expect it gets worse in the winter.  This was rather like walking on a coastal path because there were so many ups and downs.  There were excellent views across to Middlesbrough and into the moors.  The final stretch was along a disused railway line which seemed to go on for ever.  When we reached the B&B, we had a very warm welcome in more ways than one.  The heating was on!  This was a spectacular place.  We had dinner across the road at the Lion Inn.  All I can say is that is just as spectacular with superb beer and food.  It is very popular with motorists as well as walkers.




Day 10  Blakey Ridge to Grosmont


This was another day on the moors but the weather had improved and the distance was much shorter.  There were more lovely views coming off the moor especially of Whitby and the sea.  We bumped into some friends of mine from Thornbury in the road at Egton Bridge who were staying at Northallerton and driving to Whitby.  What a small world!  There was a scarecrow trail in Glaisdale (including what appeared to be Michael Owen with a gammy leg!).  We had dinner at the Station Tavern in Grosmont - it had the feel of a working men's club, not that I have been in one, but excellent Whitby scampi.  Grosmont is the place for steam buffs - here is a proper working steam railway line, sheds and shop (North Yorkshire Moors Railway).




Day 11  Grosmont to Robin Hood's Bay


The final day and another relatively short one!  The walk was very varied, including moors, woods, cliffs and fishing village.  We crossed some moor before walking through the Falling Foss Forest Trail, then more moorland (where we assisted 2 American sisters with navigation) before reaching the coast beyond Hawsker.  We wondered why Wainwright took us this way rather than to Whitby or directly to Robin Hood's Bay.  I think there may be some symmetry with St Bee's Head.  When we reached Robin Hood's Bay, we resisted the temptation to leave our rucksacks at the B&B before dipping our feet in Robin Hood's Bay and having a pint at the Bay Hotel.  We had a very warm welcome from fellow walkers and spent a happy evening eating and drinking.  Following recommendations, we had dinner at the Victoria Hotel - very large and good meals.  No starters needed here.




The following morning, we went our separate ways but before I left I had time to see some of the Morris Dancing festival just starting.  I don't think my legs could have managed to join in even if I had wanted to!







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