Wast Water - Wander
Wast Water - Scafells
Patterdale - Helvellyn
Wheat field, clouds and path near Breckon Hill Farm ruins
The North of England is traversed from sea-cliff (the Irish Sea at St. Bees) to sea-cliff (the North Sea at Robin Hood's Bay) by this marvellous walk through some of the grandest scenery in the North. The Coast to Coast Walk was originally the concept of the late A. Wainwright (a famous English hill-walker and journalist based in the Lake District - see his biography at Wainwright) who first placed a ruler across the northern hills and inscribed a line from sea to sea. First published in the early 1970's, his guidebook took many people on this great journey.
The Coast to Coast Walk is fairly long at 304 kilometres (190 miles) and passes through three National Parks (the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and then the North York Moors). The terrain is varied with the mountains of the Lake District yielding to the Yorkshire hills, who subside into the flat Vale of Mowbray with the final uplift at the Cleveland Hills leading over moors to the sea.
The original walk is designed to get you from one coast to the other in
a straight line allowing most people to finish in 2 weeks. However there are
many interesting places just off the route so I decided to visit a few of the
Lake District mountains on my way. If you have time then your options include:
Extending the journey up from Ennerdale by climbing onto the ridge containing High Stile and Haystacks (making a long and vigorous day).
Heading south over Black Sail Pass to Wast Water and the chance to climb Scafell, Scafell Pike and even Great Gable. Rejoin the Coast to Coast Walk either by Moses' Trod or Styhead Pass.
Take in the Langdale Pikes on the way to Grasmere rather than the easier route over Greenup Edge.
Stop in Patterdale for great views from either Saint Sunday Crag or Helvellyn.
From Keld, a day-trip up to Sleightholme Moor can be rewarded by good food and beer at the Tan Hill Inn. Alternately a walk up to Great Shunner Fell gives good views.
Information for the walk can be gathered from the following
Coast to Coast Walk: The Classic Walk Across Northern England by Paul Hannon, published by Hillside Publications, (2010) - the 1992 edition is Coast to Coast Walk. This is a good guidebook in the style of Wainwright's original book (A Coast to Coast Walk) - a strip map of the journey, pen sketches of sights and a few black and white photos. He has good planning advice with lots of useful addresses, lists of facilities along the route and hints on variations that may be made.
A Coast to Coast Walk by A. Wainwright, revised by Chris Jetty, second editon (2010) or the 1992 edition: A Coast to Coast Walk. His original handwritten text has been kept with revisions in type-set footnotes.
Wainwright's Coast to Coast Walk (Amazon.com) by A. Wainwright, 1988 - a coffee-table style book with many wonderful photos.
Wainwright's Coast To Coast Walk - a video described as "A.W. Wainwright highlights part of his 190 mile walk from St. Bees Head to Robin Hood's Bay".
To keep the weight down have a look at the Footprint pamphlets: The Coast to Coast Walk Part one: St. Bees to Swaledale and The Coast to Coast Walk Part two: Swaledale to Robin Hood's Bay
This book also sounds interesting: A Walk Across England (Amazon.com) by Richard Long - a pictorial book of his journey across England from Devon to Suffolk.
The guidebooks above have good enough maps to keep you on track but you
may want maps for a larger area, e.g. to identify distant features. The
Ordnance Survey Landranger maps that cover the Coast to Coast Walk are:
0089: West Cumbria & Cockermouth
0090: Penrith & Keswick, Ambleside
0092: Barnard Castle and Surrounding Area
0093: Middlesbrough, Darlington & Hartlepool
0094: Whitby & Esk Dale, Robin Hood's Bay
0098: Wensleydale & Upper Wharfedale
0099: Northallerton & Ripon, Pateley Bridge & Leyburn
For more information, look at my fact sheet.
Also have a look at:
I did this walk in July, 1993 so the standard warning applies - this is not an up-to-date or comprehensive guide so consult the above references.
For a accommodation, try the following:
The Lets Stay sites: Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors.