Coast to Coast 2006

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The Savage's Coast to Coast Diary
Day One
Day 1 - 8th August 2006

St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge (14 miles)

End of Day 1: 8th August; 4pm: Room 1, The Fox and Hounds, Ennerdale Bridge, Cumbria

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me. Forty six today. I poked my head out of the window of our B&B in St Bees this morning. No church bells ringing, no bunting, no marching bands. And no time to reflect on the glory of years past or to plan the next 46 years. As William would say “We’ve…like…..errr….got stuff to do.”

We took the train over yesterday afternoon - Harrogate-Leeds-Carnforth-St Bees. Waved off at Harrogate Station by the rest of the family. Albert the three-year-old seemed pretty happy that I was going – less competition when it comes to grabbing his mum’s attention. Charlie (the newly anointed teenager who has just got back from a week’s schooltrip to France and is still trying to work out if he’s glad to be home) didn’t seem bothered either way. The seven-year-old – Roscoe – put in his usual request for presents and treats to be transported back. Patrick – the ten-year-old – was still in a bit of a sulk that he was not allowed on the walk (too young) or to go grouse beating over the next few weeks (too young) kept his own counsel. Ruth gave William a big hug – it must have felt like hugging timber, such was his responsiveness – and I got a reasonable sized hug. See you all in Robin Hood’s Bay.

A nice rail route over to St Bees. Once out of the Greater Leeds sprawl, you pass through the western Dales/Pennines and beyond Carnforth you hug the coastline. However, after five-and-a-half hours on clackety-clack trains built for neither speed nor comfort we’d had enough.

Last night we stayed at Stonegate Farm: twin-bedded room, friendly and comfortable with some sound advice on where (or rather where not) to get our evening meal. Found out William’s first secret – he talks in his sleep. Last night he shouted: “HANG ON” on three separate occasions – not sure what pace he thinks I’m going to be setting. Perhaps he sees me clinging from a crag at some point over the coming days.

Reintroduced William to 7.30am when we went down to breakfast and by 8.30am we were on our way. Down to the beach, feet in the water and pebble in the rucksack. Limited to three photos as William had overlooked charging up the camera batteries (I like….errr….forgot) – his single responsibility during the trek. Let’s see how we get on with this over the next few days…

A strange day’s walk. To us it seemed like a walk of three parts, although I guess your perspective would depend on the weather. We had the ideal walking weather - no rain, good visibility and not too hot. The first part is a good walk along the cliffs to St Bees Head and beyond – this was great; views to the Isle of Man and Scotland (don’t look back as you gain height – Sellafield). The second part as you strike inland is a whole lot of nothing as you pass through the slightly down-at-heel looking villages of Moor Row and Cleator; however the various local people we talked to during this stage were very chatty and friendly. The third stage takes you onto Dent Fell and then down to and along a place called Nannycatch Beck; entering Lakeland - terrific.

We set a good pace throughout and were checked into our B&B for this evening by 2pm. We’ll have to be careful that we don’t just concentrate on doing the route miles but also get as much as we can out of the walk itself.

William has done really well today; no difficulty with the pace, terrain or distance. The spirit is good.

The next two days, as we take on some of the challenges of the Lake District, will be harder than today but we’ve had a good start…

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