Another Coast to Coast Walk, submitted by Jim and Carol Watson. Or How Two People Created Their Own Path, with the help of Paddy Dillon and Cicerone.
"We completed the traditional Wainwright Coast to Coast walk some years ago and have since hiked Coast to Coast following a self-planned route south of the St. Bees to Robin Hoods Bay route, hiking from Ravenglass to Scarborough. Wainwright himself said that when writing up his route he would have succeeded if his book 'induced some readers to follow instead their own star and find their own rainbow's end'.
So with this in mind, this year we thought we would tackle a route slightly north of AW's and plotted a walk from Maryport to Whitby, greatly aided on this occasion by two Cicerone guidebooks, The Teesdale Way, written by Martin Collins and updated by Paddy Dillon, and the Cleveland Way, another Paddy Dillon guide. We also referred to the very excellent Ordnance Survey Explorer maps. We had followed in Paddy's footsteps previously using his Irish Coast to Coast book and we really like the concept of walking from one coast to another, there being a most definite beginning and end point
So we set off from Maryport on a very damp day towards the end of April having taken the obligatory picture on the beach and collecting a pebble to take on our journey eastwards. Our route took in the northern lakes, and in improving weather, we hiked down through Cockermouth to Bassenthwaite, along its eastern shore and southwards to Keswick. Here we picked up the trail along the disused railway line and onward to Scales Farm and the village pub for a beautiful sunset evening.
Our route then took us via Threlkeld Common, Dockray and Pooley Bridge to Askham village and then by country lanes through a number of small villages before arriving at Dufton village where we were to start using Paddy's Teesdale Way book. It was just as well that we had this book as overnight rain in the village showed as snow on the hills with our route over from Nick's Cup completely obliterated by snow. However, visibility was good as we crossed the Pennines where our route coincided with the Pennine Way. Hiking on down to Teesdale proper the weather was showery but as we began to walk along the river banks passing both High and Low Force waterfalls, the light between the showers was stunning. The whole section down to Barnard Castle was a joy and we seemed to have lambs alongside us all the way.
We so enjoyed the peacefulness and tranquility of the Teesdale Way, the history of Piercebridge with its Roman ruins and story of the 'grandfather clock' , the fabulous B&B at Clow Beck and the individual interest in all of the other villages along the way. We ended our association with the Teesdale Way at Yarm, a place which we knew little about but which proved to be a delightful market town in which to spend a few hours..
And so we made our way cross-country to the village of Great Broughton, at the base of the Cleveland Hills, where we met up with other hikers doing the traditional Wainwright route and staying in the same overnight accommodation as us, the only time we were to meet up. Removing the second Paddy Dillon book from the rucksack, we made our way up onto the hills of the Cleveland Way and then on to Slapewath. Here we decided to take the alternative 'Cleveland Street' walk which took us on a more direct route to the lovely fishing village of Staithes. The light in the village was excellent, the tide was in and all the cottages were reflected in the waters of the estuary – how lucky was that.
Then came the final day, walking the coast path and along the sunny beach to Whitby, a really fitting end to our coast to coast hike. We threw our pebble into the sea and settled down for a meal in a harbourside restaurant – it was a long way to come for fish and chips but worth every mile we had hiked.
We always think that to walk Coast to Coast across England is a pleasure, but for us, this route simply was one of the most enjoyable we have done. It suited our style of walking, we took advantage of some delightful B&B and pub accommodation along the way, and filled each day with new and interesting things to see. And finally, once again, Cicerone was with us for much of the way. Thank you.
This ‘tell us your story’ article was sent in by Jim and Carol Watson. If you'd like to share a story with us then please do - we love to hear how you've been using your guidebooks.