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Coast to Coast Walk in England

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My sister and I (54 and 48) are going to hike the Coast to Coast walk in England. I read a great trip report (via Fodors) about a family who did it in 2004. Just wondering if anyone has done it more recently. Not that it would have changed much but just curious if anyone else has done it since then. We will probably do the May/June time frame and plan to spend the 16-18 days doing it. I've been in the Lake District before and know how stunningly beautiful it is so I am excited to share this part of the world with my sister.

Would love to know if anyone has any idea of how much to plan to spend (either per day or total).
Things that wished that they had brought along or things they wished they hadn't brought along.
A recommendation of the transport (Sherpa, etc) as we will definitely utilize a service like this.
Special places to stay or some to avoid, if possible.

Anything else of interest. BTW, we both love to hike/walk but have never taken this type of trip on before. WE know to up our miles (we live in Houston) in "training."

Thanks,
Charli

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    I did the route in about 2008 but on bikes over two weekends taking 4 days (2 nights) in total though this included some train time to get there from Leeds.

    Thoughts, part of the route is along an "art trail" a little dull but at least it was there, the moors above Sunderland were good in the sunshine but I suspect pitiless in the rain, while the last bit through the 'burbs of Sunderland were safe enough but it shows you how Northern poor people live.

    My only advice is that for most of the trip you are never far from food but there were the odd stretch where sugars dropped out, we find pressed dates are a good boost, but you may also find Kendle Mint Cake does it for you (buy in Kendle or indeed anywhere hear there).

    As a Brit I'd expect to pay £50 to £80 for 2 (you may get better deals as you are at the start of the season) for twin beds along the way including breakfast, lunch £5 to 12 each and supper without booze £20 to £40 per person. We didn't think we got ripped off in any of the villages where there was only the one restaurant. Just check that any of the B&Bs that you use have somewhere OPEN to eat nearby on your night, nothing as bad as going to bed hungry. :-)

    On bikes the route is called C2C if that helps

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    I did the walk this past July/August over 15 days. It was a wonderful experience. I used the services of Packhorse:
    http://www.c2cpackhorse.co.uk/ to move my luggage but also to book my accommodations. I have only high praise for them. Accommodations were excellent, luggage was always awaiting me at the next destination, each place I stayed offered a packed lunch for the next day. I would encourage you to use them.

    Regarding the walk itself, I was surprised at how difficult I found some of the climbs in the Lake District so do prepare ahead of time in your training.

    I did the trip on my own and ignoring airfare, I think I spent somewhere between $2500 - $3000 Canadian for accommodations, packhorse and dinners. Lunch and dinner was on average 30 GBP.

    Have some good rain gear, don't bring a large camera - I used my phone and a small back up camera, bring a Ziploc bag or equivalent and only bring the maps you will need on that day. I used a GPS and got a map of the route via Garmin, I found that to be particularly useful and removed any potential stress of getting lost (it does come at a cost though). I brought 3 litres of water with me each day and most days that was fine but on particularly warm days I did not find it to be enough. My backpack had a camel water pack built in and that was very useful.

    Hope that helps, if you have any further questions, feel free to ask. My home email address is Moldovan at eastlink dot ca

    Mark Singer

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    My husband and I did the C2C walk in July/August 2014. This was our second time... our first time was in 2004. We've done seven other long distance walks in Europe.

    You have some great input from Mark... I'll offer some other thoughts.

    We booked our whole trip through Sherpa and let them take care of all of our accommodations. We've used Sherpa for several walks, including both times on the C2C. We were happy with almost everyplace booked... only two I wouldn't recommend. We ate very well. We spent about $5800 USD for the two of us, which includes our train tickets to and from the start and end of the walk (plus a taxi from Carlisle to St. Bees when our train was cancelled). We did the walk over 16 days, no rest days, 17 nights. We had a couple of days more than 15 miles. Some people do the walk in 14 days, but you'll end up with some long days and it's more difficult than it might seem, especially some steep climbs in the Lake District.

    One of the challenges is the weather. We had some beautiful days but also several days of rain. There were two days where the rain/fog was so thick that we could barely see the way to go. We bought gloves and did use them! You definitely need to bring excellent raingear: rain pants, rain jacket, pack cover, map cover. My husband uses a heavy duty poncho that he wears over his pack. That said, we had days of hiking in shirt-sleeves. It's really an incredible walk, and the variety of countryside you experience is wonderful. We especially enjoyed all the people we met on both walks.

    You absolutely need to be sure to have good hiking boots that are well-broken in. You should have used them in a variety of conditions. We walked with two friends and one had real problems with his boots and blisters. (On our first walk, we met several people who could not finish due to feet or knee problems.)

    It's also very possible to get lost, not just in the fog. The markings vary along the way and you have to be able to read a map and really pay attention to directions. Some people find a GPS helpful, though we prefer to use the map and guidebook. On our first C2C walk, our family got tangled up around Black Sail Hut and got lost up on the mountain in the fog. We didn't make it to our accommodation that night and fortunately were taken in by the good people at Black Sail.

    I'm also happy to answer other questions.

    Kathy

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    We did the walk in 2010 and it was one of the best things I have ever done. Just so wonderful. We used the services of Packhorse and loved them. All of the bnbs we stayed in were lovely and our luggage was always there when we arrived at a new place each afternoon.

    I second having a cover for your maps and just bringing what you need for the day. We used Steadman's guide book and cut it up instead of having to lug it around, then put the relevant pages into a sandwich bag for the day. I don't know if they've updated it but just be aware that we found the first half of the book really easy to follow but the maps in the second half were not as accurate and in some cases very confusing. I still think it's worth using even with that.

    In terms of extra things to bring - waterproofing for your shoes in case of lots of bad weather. Mine ended up needing a couple of redos and we ended up buying some along the way. We also sometimes found it hard to find a decent lunch along the way and had wished we'd ordered one at the bnb the night before.

    We did it in 16 days and wished we'd scheduled a day off along the way for a rest, probably Richmond would have been good. We also did the 23 mile day out of Richmond and onto the next town. It kind of knocked us around and made us extra tired for the rest of the trip. I don't think I'd do that again.

    Also, we were in California when we trained and it's not just the longer distances but if you can add in some good hills (the kind that go straight up without all of the switchbacks to help) I think that'll help you out on the trip as well.

    I also second the need for really well broken-in boots. I never had any issues with mine (Merrell Moab Mid-Gortex boots) but my husband got bad blisters and they made him miserable.

    Have a fabulous trip!

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