Anyone done the Coast-to-Coast walk in northern England? comments on tour companies?

Mrs. Piper and I are planning on doing the Coast-to-Coast Walk in northern England, from St. Bees on the west coast (Irish Sea) to Robin Hood Bay on the North Sea. The walk was originated by Charles Wainwright in the 30s.

We’ve found two companies that offer bookings for B&Bs, itineraries, luggage service, etc: Sherpa and Contour. Has anyone had any experience with either one? Any recommendations? Any other companies that we’ve missed?

I’m bumping this because it sounds really cool. I’m trying to convince Mr. Sin to consider doing this even as I type. Anybody got any more info?

The website of the UK Ramblers charity has tons of info and pretty active walking forums.

thanks, Struan - that site looks very helpful - found some tips on compass use that I’ll follow-up on before we go.

sinjin - good luck with Mr. Sin. Maybe we’ll see you there!

Here’s the article from the Smithsonian magazine that gave us the idea: A Walk Across England

And here’s a more recent one from the New York Times

sorry - the NY Times one is older, not more recent.

I hiked a section of the coast-to-coast many moon ago with an group put together Hosteling International/AYH. They provided a hiking leader and booked us through at hostels along the trip.

I will say this: the hostels we stayed in were VERY nice, many with private rooms. As nice as some B&B’s! There was one conveniently placed nearly every 10 miles along the route. They take people of all ages (our group ranged from 16 to 60).

I know two of the hostels we stayed at on the route were Grinton Lodge, and Hawes Hostel. Both very nice and HUGE english breakfasts! for more information.

I’d consider joining the Youth Hostel Association, this will cost you a fraction of the others, but you will have to do much more research for yourself and be more self reliant. How could you resist the chance to stay at the Hostel at Boggle Hole ?

You’ll have to book each place yourself, but its easy enough.

Most of the routes that do this completely miss out Rosedale, which is something of a shame.

The old railway that used to encircle Rosedale Valley and come out the top of Ingleby has made for a very good cycle and walking route.

You see that picture of the Ingelby incline in that link, at the top there was a winding engine that pulled up the ore trucks, however, for the train engines that transported the ore around the valley, these also had to be pulled up and over the same incline. The only way it could be done was to take out the large driving wheels and so reduce the number of axles to two, instead of four, which would have made them seesaw dangerously and get outof control - once these train engines were in the valley, they stayed there until they were broken up.

I can understand this as this valley is almost at right angles to your route, but you do actually skirt the northern edges of it.

There are some wallking routes that take you from Lastingham down to Rosedale Abbey, where you could have a walk up the infamous ‘Rosedale Chimney bank’ -which is so steep that while you walk down it, your feet slide forward in the shoes and squash your toes!
If you do go up there, you might wonder what its like to cycle up it, it is interesting, your front wheel often lifts away from the ground and you end up part wheelying.

I highly recommend that you are well prepared for wet weather in the first half of the route, the second tends to be drier.

I would suggest at some point you have a days run, go as far as Grosmont and do a days worth of double back on the train as far as Castleton.

I know the area well, its an extremely good mountain bike route, the traffic is light, but you need to either be extremely fit and have ultra low gears, or have comfortable walking shoes.

I’m im’ing my daughter even as I type, the grown up kiddies want to go too. If we do it we’ll probably go the hostel route. We’re pretty good at organization having taken several 30+ day vacations in Southeast Asia, Australia, and through the US. Thanks for all the info. Kid two has just come on line, so off to im.

Wow! so, when do you think you might be walking? Mrs. P and I are thinking about late August.

Oh, and thanks for all the links and suggestions, casdave - I’m working my way through them and taking notes.

Thanks for the cycling links. I think it would be cool to do a similar trip on a bicycle.
I’d prefer a supported ride (they carry your stuff) with a road route.
I’ll look some more…


Based on the schedules of the kids we probably can’t go until next summer, bummer. But by then we can gain all the experience of your walk :cool: Keep us posted.