Saturday June 2nd 2012
Coast to Coast walk
Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk by camping
Not really a caving trip, but this seemed as good a place as any to post our report on our coast to coast walk. We hope that this description may prove very useful to anyone planning the walk as we did (Wainwright route, camping, carrying all our stuff, but getting all food from cafes, pubs and shops). The stops described below allow the trip to be done in 12 days with an average of 16 miles per day, so is suitably challenging, but not excessively difficult for many fit walkers.
The total cost of the trip was about £400 each, which included camping, breakfasts (usually a full English), lunches (usually a sandwich from a shop) and evening meal (typically two courses and a couple of beers at least). However, by simply obtaining a cheaper breakfast from a shop and having a bit less beer, the cost could probably be reduced to £300 each with no great hardship.
We navigated purely using the Harvey maps – these are highly recommended. We also had a copy of Terry Marsh’s book which we never actually used. We are very surprised to see that this book details the low level route from Keld to Reeth as the main route, with only the high level Wainwright route (up Swinnergill and past the lead mines) described as a less desirable alternative. We took the high route and were very glad we did as it was one of the highlights of the entire walk.
We camped every night with the exception of Keld, Reeth and Brompton-on-Swale. In Keld it was very wet so we opted for our own room in the Park House bunkbarn, although there was camping available at the same site. In Reeth the extremely nice site owner at Orchard Caravan Park gave us one of his old static caravans to stay in for the same price as camping would have been. At Brompton-on-Swale the weather was again very poor and the owners of this YHA-run site gave us use of an old static caravan as the bunkbarn was full, but camping facilities were also available here.
Summary of each day
Where breakfast is in a pub this usually needs to be ordered the night before. Most pubs only serve food until 8-9pm, and so for the longer days it is worth taking this into consideration, although we rarely set off anywhere before 9-10 am and after a leisurely breakfast. However, slower walkers may with to consider this and set off earlier. On most days it is worth phoning ahead to confirm camping, and at weekends, book at table for food.
York to St Bees (Train) then Ennerdale Bridge (14 miles)
Lunch: Probably best to bring some sandwiches from home for the first day
Camping (£5/tent), dinner and breakfast at the Fox and Hounds in Ennerdale Bridge
Summary: A superb and very welcoming community pub with great local ales.
Ennerdale Bridge to Stonethwaite (16 miles)
Lunch: Worth carrying from shop in Ennerdale Bridge
Camping at the National Trust campsite in Stonethwaite (£4/each)
Dinner at the Langstrath Country Inn, Stonethwaite
Summary: Gastro pub with gastronomic prices but great food.
Breakfast: Nothing available in Stonethwaite
Stonethwaite to Patterdale via Grasmere/Griesdale (18 miles)
Lunch: Lots of cafes in Grasmere but we found Heidi’s to be superb
Camping at Side Farm, Patterdale (£8 each but showers are worth it)
Dinner and breakfast at The White Lion pub, Patterdale
Summary: Good ales and food – book a table if at weekend
Patterdale to Shap (16 miles)
Lunch: Can be purchased from the shop in Patterdale before departure
Camping (£5 each in beer garden), dinner and breakfast at The Black Bull, Shap
Summary: A friendly non-touristy local pub with great value very simple food
Shap to Kirkby Stephen (21 miles)
Lunch: slight detour off-route into Orton (8 miles) to chocolate factory tea room
Camping: Pennine View Caravan Park (£8 each but superb facilities inc. laundry)
Dinner: Croglin Castle Hotel, just next to campsite
Summary: This is the microbrewery for the superb Nine Standards ales
Breakfast: Numerous cafes is Kirkby Stephen
Kirkby Stephen to Keld via the Nine Standards (12 miles)
Lunch: From shop in Kirkby Stephen, cream tea from farm at Ravenseat (9 miles)
Camping, dinner and breakfast: Park House (we backed out of camping this night due to the wet weather and instead took their private double room in the bunkbarn which was only £47 including a self service breakfast)
Summary: A superb place, offering all types of accommodation (camping, bunk barn, private room) with hearty home cooked food delivered to your room/tent.
Keld to Reeth via Swinnergill and Gunnerside mines (12 miles)
Lunch: No shops so worth buying two days of lunch from Kirkby Stephen
Camping: Orchard Caravan Park, Reeth (£5 each, static caravan may be available)
Dinner and Breakfast: Black Bull pub in Reeth (not a great culinary experience)
Summary: We would pick a different pub in Reeth next time (there are three).
Reeth to Brompton-on-Swale (15 miles)
Lunch: Tea room in Marske, or numerous cafes in Richmond
Camping: Brompton-on-Swale camping barn (YHA-run). Due to the heavy rain we were going to stay in the bunkbarn but it was full so the owners kindly put us up in an old static caravan. Camping was also available.
Dinner: The Crown pub, Brompton-on-Swale (200 metres from camping barn)
Summary: A friendly, local pub, the food was extremely tasty, good value with excellent portions.
Breakfast: There is a Spar shop opposite the camping barn
Brompton-on-Swale to Ingleby Cross (20 miles)
Lunch: Shop in Brompton-on-Swale or pub in Danby Wiske
Camping (£5 each at back of pub) and dinner: Blue Bell in Ingleby Cross
Summary: A friendly country pub with good ales and tasty food
Breakfast: Could have got at pub but went into Osmotherly to The Coffee Pot where we got one of the best breakfasts of the entire coast to coast (opens 10:30am so quick progress after breakfast is needed)
Ingleby Cross to Blakey Ridge (22 miles)
Lunch: Lord Stones Café is now completely closed so call via shop in Osmotherly
Camping (£2.50 each), dinner and breakfast: The Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge.
Summary: A superb place with an unmatched atmosphere, great food, and great full breakfast buffet (at weekends The Lion Inn can get extremely busy so booking ahead for food and camping would be advisable)
Blakey Ridge to Grosmont (12 miles)
Lunch: There is a pub/café at the bottom end of Glaisdale village
Camping: Priory Farm on the left on the way into Grosmont (£4 each)
Dinner: The Station Tavern by Grosmont station
Summary: A good, friendly pub but quite expensive
Breakfast: North York Moors Railway café on station platform
Grosmont to Robin Hoods bay (14 miles)
Lunch: Tea room at Midge Hall (best cream tea of the entire walk).
Camping: We could have gone straight home, but we stayed at Hook House Farm (£8 each)
Dinner and breakfast: Loads of places in Robin Hoods Bay