Coast to Coast 2020 - Preamble

Alfred Wainwright's Coast to Coast from St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay at 190 miles holds an almost mythical status.  Today it remains one of the most popular long distance trails and is considered to be one of the world's great walks.  Whilst unlike many other routes such as the Pennine Way etc. have an official status and are properly way-marked, the C2C is a little less obvious and various guides will offer different route options.  If done according to plan, it would normally be completed in 12 days as part of an overall 14 day trip.

The Route

I have done the Coast to Coast once before, back in 2008 with a friend from work.  We were carrying full camping kit and we completed it in just over 5 days.  That is probably considered by some to be pretty fast, but the record is actually a crazy 39 hours that was set in 1991!

For whatever reason, from time to time I've contemplated another go at it now i'm much fitter but the project has never really got off the ground.  Now that most racing has been put on hold the time was right to have a second go.  In the end I only really decided to do it about a week before the off but in some ways it was good to not over plan it.  The goal was pretty simple - complete the crossing in 3 days which is a crazy 63 miles average per day over rough terrain.  It would be a semi-supported attempt; by that I mean I would navigate and only carry what I would need between checkpoints, but otherwise I would be by myself.  My wife would then follow in the car at various checkpoints to look after me and help with logistics.  I was conscious that keeping track of each other could be a challenge.  To resolve this I hired a GPS tracker that uploads live data to a web page every few minutes, assuming there is mobile phone signal.

It was never really in the plan to do the crossing akin to a race situation e.g. go non-stop or press on after dark etc., but at the same time I wanted to go as fast as I reasonably could.  There was an outline plan for the first day, which was to get to Shap (62 miles), but after that I kept things pretty flexible as I simply wasn't sure where I would get to, what type of accommodation I wanted to stay in or whether I would even be in a fit state to continue.

Pre-start review

The night before the off we stayed at the Ennerdale Country House Hotel in Cleator which has the advantage of only being a couple of miles away from the start and the route passes by the hotel at around 7 miles in.  This allowed me to treat it as a mini checkpoint with my wife and check that the tracker was working.  Despite these advantages, all I can say is that I wouldn't go out of my way to stay there again!


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