Coast to Coast day 1: St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge


We arrived at St Bees via train from Carlisle. It’s a rather sleepy little village and there isn’t a huge choice of places to eat – we ended up at ‘Platform 9’ next to the train station.

The next morning after a big breakfast at our accommodation at Stonehouse Farm we started towards the beach via the old church, which is well worth a visit.

The walk ‘officially’ starts under the sea wall at the beach. We began with the two traditional coast to coast rites – walking out to the Irish Sea to dip our boots in (a long way as tide was out..!) and collecting a pebble to carry to Robin Hoods Bay and drop on the sea shore there.

After the obligatory photo at the Coast to Coast start sign we started the walk proper. The initial path is a nice walk around the coastline before turning inland to Cleator. We stopped for lunch at the Three Tuns in Cleator, the first pub we came across – following the track by the cricket fields leads straight to the front door. A sign outside welcomed c2c ‘ers and pets (but no sheep, cows or pigs!) and inside we received a friendly welcome from Rena at the bar. They didn’t serve food but Rena was happy for us to buy sandwiches from a shop up the road and eat at the pub with our beers.

Immediately after lunch the first major hill, Dent, is reached. There were great 360 degree views from the summit – to the west the coast and Isle of Man and to the east the fells of the lakes beckoned.

After a steep descent through the Uldale plantation there was an attractive path through Nannycatch Beck before the final stretch along a lovely county lane into Ennerdale Bridge. We arrived slightly weary at the Shepherd’s Arms Hotel but soon felt better after a beer and a good meal.

(Total distance approx. 14 miles)

Coast to Coast Summary

Wainwright’s “A Coast to Coast Walk”

Walking Wainwright's Coast to Coast walk

I recently completed this tremendous long distance path. Devised by Alfred Wainwright in the early 1970s, it traverses some beautiful parts of northern England. Traditionally completed from west to east, it stretches for around 190 miles from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay and takes in the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire National Parks.

Wainwright described it as ‘A’ Coast to Coast walk, rather than ‘The’ as he wanted to encourage other walkers to devise their own cross country routes. Nonetheless, the trail today follows Wainwright’s original pretty closely, and walking it you can see why – he created a very attractive route. For what such things are worth, it was voted second best long distance walk in a survey carried out by Country Walking magazine.

We started on a Friday, so I’m going to start posting a trip report from tomorrow.