In 1973, Alfred Wainwright published “A Coast to Coast Walk” describing a 192 mile footpath across England. The walk passes through three national parks; the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, and the North York Moors. Tradition includes walkers diping their booted feet in the Irish Sea at Saint Bees and, at the end of the walk, in the North Sea at Robin Hood’s Bay. We plan to do it all.
David and I leave tomorrow, and will meet up with six friends in Saint Bees to begin our walk on Monday. Thirteen days later, on Saturday, July 7th, we should be in Robin Hood’s Bay.
We have a lot of walking to do over those 13 days, but we’re ready. Our training walks around our house have taken us to a number of places I’ve never been, even though close by. We’ve walked through Northwood State Park, over Saddleback Mountain to the second peak, on a trail created as an Eagle Scout project by a friend’s son. We’ve navigated the many criss-crossing logging roads on Evans Mountain in Strafford, finding a rocky knob we’ve looked at on a topo map for years, but never reached before. We’ve walked in pouring rain and on misty, showery days, trying out our rain gear. We’ve walked the Northwood Area Land Management Collaborative (NALMC) trail across beautiful meadows at the top of Blake’s Hill. So much walking has been centering and strength building and has conditioned us to the point that a 7 mile hike in yesterday’s blistering heat felt pretty much like nothing.
Which is good, because in a few days, that will be half the distance I need to go to get to where I’ll sleep that night.