Coast to Coast

Introduction

Back in 2007 we had walked the South Downs Way, our first long distance path. We had thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience but for various reasons and other places we wanted to visit, holiday wise, meant that the first opportunity we had to walk the Coast to Coast was in late April and early May 2011.

The idea to do this had been floating around for some while but we had got to the point one day where we sat down and said that if we were going to do it, we had better just get on with it! So we did. After a couple of months working through a basic plan of action we bit the bullet and made the first phone call to book our first night’s accommodation. The sending off of the first deposit meant that we were committed and the juggernaut stated to roll!

We started booking accommodation over a year before we were due to start as we wanted to get our first choices but also from what we had gathered, April and May can be very busy months. In addition, the reason why we chose 2011 was that Easter was late and the 2 week break required to do the walk meant that the May Day bank holiday would also fall within that two weeks, so requiring less time off work.

This also gave us the advantage of really getting our heads around what we were planning to do and gave us plenty of time to plan the finer details. It also gave us time to research and update our clothing and any equipment that we would need.

On a practical note it also gave us time to save up for it. The Coast to Coast is not a cheap holiday if you are staying in B&Bs plus the train fares to get there, it would eventually total up to about £2000 for the two of us.

It shouldn’t be underestimated as to how much time and effort it takes to plan such a trip, assuming you want to do it properly. There are those that just make the best of it but we take the approach that preparation is key. The sort of things we wanted to know, for instance were, if there was a shop so that we could buy provisions for that day, or should we have bought more the day before as there are no opportunities to buy anything. These are quite vital things to know. Simple things like how far away the pub is. After 20 miles do you really want to walk another mile to the pub, it is also another mile back! We prefer to be forewarned so we took the time and trouble to find out.

All these type of things were a pleasure to find out and piece together and so when the day finally came we felt we had done what we could to make it as pleasurable and as comfortable as possible.

Dark clouds

During our training, my left knee started to give me problems. Strangely, walking to work (I walk 7 miles a day) was the hardest even with trainers on, but when carrying a pack over uneven ground everything was fine, ish. That was until about 3 weeks before we were due to set off. I was in so much pain I could hardly walk. There was no way I would be able to do the Coast to Coast with that level of pain. Miraculously the pain subsided over the next week and then went completely. This was a scare that we could have certainly done without. But health issues were still going to pose a problem right up to the day before we were due to leave.

I had a tooth that had been giving me problems on and off so I decided that I must get it sorted out. It was decided that it needed to be re-filled and so after a bit of to and froing, managed to get an appointment. The filling was not successful and I had to have an emergency appointment. This appeared to do the trick but after a few days I had bad toothache again. The day before we were due to leave, I could stand it no more and managed to get another emergency appointment and a crack was diagnosed. The tooth was trimmed so that the bite point was lower than on the surrounding teeth as well as being given some special toothpaste to spread over the tooth to anaesthetise it. Generally it did the trick but on my return I would need yet more investigations and treatment.

So being patched up in one way or another, we both left work for the last time and looked forward to the trek ahead.

 

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