Thanks to seclectic to posting his experience about walking the Wainwright! If anyone has done this walk before and can offer any specific suggestions, I welcome your feedback. I am particularly interested in things you wish you had known and things you wish you had brought. As always, I am especially interested in any encounters you may have had with the Black Adder


I am back in the Chamonix valley; first day back actually. After a quick shop at the supermarche this morning, we were anxious to get out on the ski slopes because the weather was so lovely, sunny, and very warm. We went to Les Houches because it is the nearest resort to us. The school holidays have not quite finished, so there were a fair number of people around. But the only congestion we found was in the car park at Prarion. The snow is still in excellent condition despite the high temperature. It became a bit slushy towards the end of the afternoon, but there were very few places where the earth and grass was starting to show through. Spring had truly arrived in the valley with butter- and hoverflies straying into our way while we were skiing and a great deal of bird song whenever we passed by…

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About 30 Ways of Walking

Gina Liotta's writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in The New York Quarterly, Slate, The Paterson Literary Review, LIPS, and The Healing Muse, among others. She lives, writes and teaches in New York.
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4 Responses to

  1. Annie Nunan says:

    RufusRambles here. You will meet a lot of other walkers each day bumping into them again and again. Don’t wait until Robin Hood Bay to get contact details as you will all arrive at different times and on different days. Seize the moment so that you can share your memories and photos when you get back.

  2. seclectic says:

    Hi You asked for other comments and I offer these from Mrs D (who has no WordPress account)

    Seclectic has made some valuable comments. I was with him 8 years ago, but first did the Coast2Coast in June 1996 in fifteen days. Seclectic suggests adding to his notes. So, these are my thoughts – in no particular order of importance. Sorry, I’ve no reference books or maps with me, so this comes from memory.
    Wainwright’s ‘first day’ suggests rounding St. Bees Head and heading east towards Dent. You may like to spend a half day in St. Bees and walking around the Head, so that you can set off directly east on your first full day of walking. Dent is a slog and can dent your enthusiasm. There are several interesting routes avoiding this outlying fell, which lead you to the edge of Ennerdale Water.
    Route-finding out of Ennerdale – beyond Black Sail Hut – and down to Honister can be difficult even on a clear day. In mist, it would be advisable to pace and time your route carefully. A compass is essential equipment, or GPS if you’re au fait with the technology.
    The same navigation warnings attach to crossing Greenup Edge (particularly in torrential rain), and approaching Kidsty Pike for the descent to Haweswater. If you’re using an OS 1:25,000 map, you may find it useful to count marked field boundaries here!
    If there’s a wind strength of anything over Force 5 coming at you, when contemplating Nine Standards Rigg, you’d be well advised to ‘take the low road’. Exhaustion can be serious, and the going is not easy across the peat hags. There used to be controlled routes across Nine Standards for environmental reasons. These varied throughout the year and marker posts were installed in the peat to assist navigation. Publicity is usually in local evidence for this section.
    My greatest pleasure – on both crossings – was interpreting the Ordnance Survey maps and planning my routes (I was responsible, on both occasions, for tour planning and route-finding). The Ordnance Survey produced a presentation C2C strip map in the early Nineties. It may be possible to obtain this still, to support other detailed maps you’ll need. As Seclectic says, don’t rely on Wainwright’s guidebook alone!
    Accommodation for both my crossings was pre-booked – so it helps to know your limitations, especially if you’re carrying a full backpack. Besides, it’s good to achieve each day’s goal.
    Lastly, however you plan to cross northern Britain, you’ll be with like-minded souls. The walk is popular. Regular meetings with individuals, or groups, add to each day’s pleasure. But do guard your valuables AT ALL TIMES. This means taking your wallet, GPS, compass etc. into the shower with you and not leaving them for opportunists to ruin your night (and, likely, the remainder of your tour). Ninety-nine per cent of us are honest. But there may be someone on the trail – or, indeed, staffing one of your overnight hostelries – who is not.
    Seclectic thinks all this may be putting you off! But don’t be dissuaded. The C2C is majestic, breathtaking and a must for visitors to Britain with two weeks to spare. Enjoy!
    Sincerely, Mrs D.

  3. Thank you to both you and Mrs. D. My husband and I appreciate your comments. We are in no way put off; we appreciate your candor and thorough review. We’ll try to get a hold of the ordinance survey maps. We’re super excited and a bit nervous, we’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.


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