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England’s Coast to Coast including Hadrian’s Wall - Itinerary

We stay in small B&Bs and country hotels with our luggage being transferred onward to our next lodging so we only carry a light day pack, the better to enjoy the hike and scenery.  The trip starts and ends in different locations. If you’d like advice about your in-country travel arrangements, please do ask, we are happy to help. 
Included meals shown by B - breakfast, L - lunch, D - dinner.

Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Day 1    Welcome to Carlisle

Welcome to the Border city of Carlisle.  We meet at 4 pm for a welcome drink, to review our trip itinerary and answer last minute questions. We then walk into town for dinner, our first meal on the trip. D

Day 2    Hadrian's Wall   3 miles

Hadrian's Wall is the largest Roman archaeological feature in Britain and runs a total of 73 miles in northern England. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Hadrian's Wall marked the boundary between Roman Britannia and unconquered Caledonia to the north and was begun in 122 CE.  Today we are joined by a Blue Badge Guide on our walk along Hadrian's Wall and our destination is Housesteads Roman Fort.  A fort was built in stone at the Housesteads Roman Fort site around 124 CE. Unusually, it has no running water supply and is dependent upon rainwater collection as evidenced by a series of large stone-lined tanks around the periphery of the defenses. It also has one of the best-preserved stone latrines in Roman Britain. A substantial civil settlement existed to the south, outside the fort, and some of the stone foundations can still be seen. B/L/D

Day 3    Carlisle and St Bees

In the morning we have a Blue Badge Guided walking tour of Carlisle to discover the fascinating history and heritage of this ancient city from Roman times to the Norman Conquest; from the English Civil War to the Jacobite Rebellions and the Industrial Revolution. Over the course of 2,000 years, Carlisle has witnessed many turbulent times, all of which have left their mark on this great Border city.  During the tour, we will wander along ancient streets, uncover the city’s hidden secrets, admire the medieval Guildhall and discover the historic significance of the Cathedral and St Cuthbert’s Church. After lunch, we regroup to transfer to St Bees, a journey of about 1 hour 20 minutes. After settling into our B&B, we visit St Bees Priory dating from the 7th century to enjoy a presentation about the Priory and the famed St Bees Man. Overnight in St Bees. B/L/D

Day 4    St. Bees to Cleator   9.5 miles, 1,100 feet ascent 

After the ceremonial dipping of our boots into the Irish Sea we ascend the 300 feet high cliffs - nature reserves and important breeding sites for nesting seabirds. Heading inland, we end today’s hike at our lodging, a country house hotel Grade II listed building nestled in five acres of tranquil landscaped gardens. We will celebrate our first day on the C2C with a well earned drink in the bar. Overnight in Cleator. B/L/D

Day 5    Ennerdale Water to Honister Mine   10.5 miles, 1,400 feet ascent

Following the shoreline of Ennerdale Water, the westernmost lake in the Lake District, through Ennerdale Forest, we have our lunch break at Black Sail Hostel, a former shepherds hut. The Lake District is the UK’s first national park to attain the UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Next we climb a strenuous 1,000 feet up Loft Beck, dominated by the magnificent mountain scenery of Pillar, Great Gable and the rugged Haystacks, the resting place for Wainwright’s ashes. The path leads down to Honister Quarry, one of the oldest slate mines still operating. Overnight in Borrowdale. B/L/D

Day 6    Stonethwaite to Grasmere   8.5 miles, 1,950 feet ascent 

An old packhorse route following the course of the River Derwent and dominated by Eagle Crag, takes us to the rough, steep climb to Greenup Edge and onto open moorland. Pending fine weather, our route might follow a broad ridge to Helm Crag, a stunning array of pinnacles and tilted rock slabs. Or we might descend to the shelter of Easdale Gill and continue into the historic village of Grasmere where we lodge for one night.  B/L/D

Day 7    Grasmere to Glenridding   8.5 miles, 1,900 feet ascent 

Our gradual climb out of Grasmere around Great Tongue, summits at Grisedale Pass and then descends to Grisedale Tarn. The steep sided valley set between Helvellyn Peak and St. Sunday Crag takes us to our destination, Glenridding, where we lodge for two nights. B/L/D

Day 8    Howtown to Glenridding  7 miles, 500 feet ascent

Deviating from Wainwright's classic route to see the gorgeous Ullswater Lake, the second largest lake in the Lake District and shaped like a dog’s leg. We take a boat ride on one of the historic passenger vessels from lakeside Glenridding to Howtown. Afterwards our return hike follows the lake shore back to our accommodation in Glenridding. B/L/D

Day 9    Ravenstonedale to Kirkby Stephen   6.5 miles, 600 feet ascent 

Leaving Glenridding, we have a ride of about 30 minutes to a small market village founded in the reign of Edward  I in the 13th century and birthplace in 1636 of  George Whitehead, who with George Fox, was one of the founders of the Quakers. After a short visit, we are taken to our drop off point on Ravenstonedale Moor. Traversing the moor we approach the site of the prehistoric village of Severals overlooking the valley of Smardale. The lime kilns on Smardale Fell and distinct elegant outline of Smardale Viaduct are visible from our trail across the valley. We continue walking to the old market town of Kirkby Stephen, where we stay the night. B/L/D

Day 10   Kirkby Stephen to Keld   12 miles, 1,900 feet ascent 

From Kirkby Stephen, we pass through the village of Hartley and ascend the fell road to Hartley Fell. A track leads us to the summit of Nine Standards Rigg, at 2,170 feet, it marks the Pennine watershed. Today we leave the Lake District and enter the Yorkshire Dales National Park. We descend to the remote hamlet of Keld for the night. B/L/D

Day 11    Keld to Gunnerside   8.5 miles, 500 feet ascent

From Keld we cross the River Swale and climb to the ruins of Crackpot Hall, then down to the path alongside the river. The fells show evidence of lead mining dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries and earlier. At lunchtime we visit Muker and its fine examples of ancient hay meadows. Our trail ends at Gunnerside where we transfer by private coach to our lodgings in Richmond.  B/L/D

Day 12   Rest day in Richmond 

After breakfast, an optional guided tour of Richmond town founded in 1071 by the Normans, helps to get us oriented. Richmond has many attractions including Richmond Castle, Easby Abbey and a couple of fine museums. The day is yours to enjoy until we regroup for dinner. B/L/D

Day 13    Carlton Bank to Blakey   12 miles, 1,700 feet ascent 

We start today with a 50 minute journey to our trailhead in the North York Moors National Park to follow a section of the Cleveland Way. We begin our days' hike with a rugged, steeply undulating walk past the dramatic Wainstones to Clay Bank Top, where we ascend Carr Ridge and continue eastwards to Round Hill, at 1,489 feet the highest point on the Cleveland Hills. After Urra Moor we join the old ironstone railway at Bloworth Crossing, following the track to the 16th century Lion Inn, standing alone on Blakey Ridge where we stay overnight.  B/L/D

Day 14    Blakey to Egton Bridge to Whitby   12 miles, 1,050 feet ascent 

Passing Rosedale Head, we see visible scars of the ironstone workings. We cross over Danby Moor and descend to the village of Glaisdale with the 17th century Beggar's Bridge. Along the wooded Esk valley we cross the river at Egton Bridge and end our walk at a small country pub before being collected and taken onto Whitby. We stay in Whitby for two nights. B/L/D

Day 15    Whitby to Robin Hood's Bay   7.3 miles, 1,300 feet ascent 

Passing Whitby Abbey, founded in 657, we hike along the cliff tops overlooking the North Sea and drop into the picturesque village of Robin Hood’s Bay. We will again ceremoniously and triumphantly dip our boots in the North Sea before enjoying a well earned lunch and refreshment in a local pub. Tonight is our farewell dinner. B/L/D

Day 16    Farewell 

Our trip ends when our private coach delivers us to York train station at about 11 am and we bid our farewells.  Breakfast is our last meal on the trip. B

This trip is fairly strenuous with an average daily mileage and elevation gain of ~ 9 miles (maximum ~12 miles) and ~1,400 feet ascent (maximum ~2,000 feet). 

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