About

Faced with unsettling feelings about turning the big 3-0, I decided to walk it off. This blog chronicles the philosophical, physical and logistical preparation for walking Wainwright’s famous 190 mile walk (or in Standard American English, hike) across England, coast to coast. Beyond travelogue, these notes examine the precipice between moving from one stage of life to the next.

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25 Responses to About

  1. t.on.air says:

    Nice to meet you. I can see that we have something in common: walking! To me it’s somewhat spiritual and philosophical. Keep up the good work! Oh, we started our blogs at the same time too.

  2. kboehnlein says:

    I like the concept of your blog! Marking a major milestone with a celebration of sorts…thank you for sharing your thoughts on life transitions, too. They are at the same time mystifying, joyful, confusing, monumental, and mundane all at the same time! ps. I love walking too, and your goal inspires me to do something similar!

    • Thank you for your very thoughtful post. I hope that you find the time and resources to take a journey that you’ve always wanted to take on your next birthday milestone. Keep me posted on your travels! Thanks for following along.

      • kboehnlein says:

        What a great idea! I just had my birthday a couple weeks ago so it sounds like I have to begin planning for next February’s milestone trip 🙂 I’ll be taking a train trip on Amtrak from Chicago, IL to Portland, OR in about a month which I’ll be documenting on my blog so keep your eyes peeled for that!

      • Absolutely! A milestone trip is the way to go. That sounds like a great trip. I look forward to reading about it. Portland is a great city. Be sure to visit Powell’s City of Books. Thanks for reading and following along!

      • kboehnlein says:

        Yes, I agree with you! I live in Portland and find every opportunity to visit Powells. I write a lot about Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco, three cities I’ve lived in on my blog so check it out if you are interested in city life.

      • I will definitely wander over to your blog. Those are three cities that I adore. Thanks!

  3. patchooh says:

    The idea for your blog is somewhat similar to mine. I just finished uni and I didn’t know (and I probably still don’t know) what to do next. It was all confusion and anxiety and trying to make sense of things, and then poof! A blog! Looking forward to reading more of your journey!

  4. Annie Nunan says:

    Hey there Gina, I noted you are following http://www.rufusrambles.com for which thanks. As you will see I did the C2C with Bearded Collie and friends some time ago. We had 13 days of glorious sunshine and not a blister between us. You can walk yourself fit but I would recommend that you not prepare by eating typical Cumbrian fare (Cumberland sausages, a myriad of pies, chips and potatoes with everything …..you get the picture) and you do get some leg stretchers in before departure. Good luck with it all and I will be sure to enjoy your journey via your blog. Annie aka Rufus.

    • Thirteen days of glorious sunshine and not a blister between you? That sounds marvelous. I hope that we have similar luck and good fortune. Thanks for the tips about the irresistible sounding Cumbrian fare. Thank you for following along.

  5. Monica says:

    Hi Gina, thanks for following my blog. If you ever decide to start a blog exchange, please count me in. In the meantime, I’ll be checking on your blog because I’m looking so forward to your adventure!

  6. Hi Gina! I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and I’ve nominated you for Versatile Blogger Award! You can find out more about it here: http://booksinthemoonlight.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/the-versatile-blogger-award/

  7. dianeledet says:

    Just wanted to share a book with you that you may enjoy. “A Daughter’s Tale, The Memoir of Winston Churchill’s Youngest Child by Mary Soames. The book includes detailed descriptions of the English countryside and I could not help but think of your wonderful blog.

  8. caminoist says:

    May I ask a few questions, please? Thank you kindly.

    • Absolutely. I am happy to help.

      • caminoist says:

        Greetings:

        I thank you in advance for allowing yours truly to present you with some nagging questions that I have had regarding the Coast-to-Coast walk in England.

        My questions are as follows, and they are not in any chronological order:

        >> Which guidebook—if any—did you use, and why? Was it any help, or you think you should have used another guidebook, and why?

        >> How much did your whole walk cost at today’s rate? Could that amount have been reduced drastically somehow?

        >> Would it be possible to overnight at the youth hostels along the way?

        >> What was your equipment list(s)?

        >> How did you deal with the severe climate?

        >> What brand of rain gear did you use?

        >> How difficult was/is the walk?

        >> Do you reckon there would be some cheaper accommodations en-route nowadays than when you did your walk?

        >> If you had to do the walk all over again today what would you do differently?

        >> Did you have to use any ordinance survey maps?

        >> How many days did the whole walk take you?

        >> Would one need a companion; could one do the walk solo?

        >> Would there be any youth hostels along the walk?

        >> Would you use the same guidebook if you wanted to walk the path again? If not, which other guidebook(s) would you consider using this time round?

        >> How much do you reckon it would cost nowadays to do the complete walk?

        >> What did you have to take with you then, and what would you take with you instead today?

        >> When would be the best to do the walk?

        >> If you wanted to walk again, would you begin from the East instead of the West where you began?

        >> If you had to find any youth hostels/cheap accommodations along the way, do you reckon you will have to deviate too far away from the main path? How could that be avoided somehow?

        >> What brand rucksack did you use before? Would you change that for another brand?

        >> How heavy was your initial rucksack when you began? Could that weight have reduced somehow?

        >> What was your packing list on your initial walk? What would you take instead if you had to do the walk once again?

        >> Were there any grocery stores along the main path; or you had to deviate too much in order to get to them somehow?

        >> When do you reckon it would the optimum month to begin the walk?

        >> Perhaps because many people begin on a Sunday, do you think you could beat the crowd by beginning on any other day except Sunday?

        >> Which parts of the path would you consider to be really nasty, and unequivocally difficult to begin with?

        There you have it. I am very sorry if I have taken the liberty of asking too many questions. I hope I have your empathy, and understanding accordingly there-of.

        Anxiously awaiting for your most favourable response at a suitable time, and I remain,

        Peacefully,

        Tony…

  9. Hi Tony,

    My apologies for the late reply, but I am in the midst of several projects. Many of the answers to your questions can be found on my revised packing-list post. When necessary, I will redirect you there. Otherwise, here are my responses:

    >> Which guidebook�if any�did you use, and why? Was it any help, or you think you should have used another guidebook, and why?

    Please see item #6: https://30waysofwalking.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/revised-packing-list-what-we-should-have-brought/

    >> How much did your whole walk cost at today�s rate? Could that amount have been reduced drastically somehow?

    We spent $4000 US Dollars per person in 2012. This price reflects international airfare from NYC to Manchester, train fare from Manchester to St. Bees, bust fare from Robin Hood Bay to Marlborough, Train Fare from Marlborough to Manchester, food, and accomodations, which we booked through Packhorse (highly recommended). Their prices are listed on their website http://www.c2cpackhorse.co.uk

    If you live in the UK, you can omit some of the travel costs. You can arrange to park in the Kirby Stephen Packhorse lot and get a shuttle to the start of the trail. This will allow you to stock your car with extra gear and you can replenish your load when you pass through Kirby Stephen halfwa y through the trip.

    You can probably book accommodation individually and save a bit. You might be able to find some hostels and campsites, but you need to book in advance. You can also grocery shop for your meals.

    >> Would it be possible to overnight at the youth hostels along the way?

    Yes. Black Sail is the most popular. Book early.

    >> What was your equipment list(s)?

    Please see our revised list: https://30waysofwalking.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/revised-packing-list-what-we-should-have-brought/

    >> How did you deal with the severe climate?

    I suffer from chronic pain related to a skin condition called Ichythosis, so the severe climate was a concern for me. The proper rain gear and water-wicking clothes are important. Whiskey also helps 😉

    >> What brand of rain gear did you use?

    North Face

    >> How difficult was/is the walk?

    The most difficult part is the Lake District because of the elevation and the terrain. It also accounted for the first few days of our trip when we were getting used to the walk. The second half of the walk is much easier. The bog can be a bit of a pain to walk through and can slow you down. The most difficult part, for me, was the road walking. I found that many drivers speed and there is not a sufficient should along many of the country roads, particularly where there are stone walls. As an American my intuition is to keep right, so I was often most nervous on the roads, knowing that my instincts were counter-intuitive.

    >> Do you reckon there would be some cheaper accommodations en-route nowadays than when you did your walk?

    Well, we only walked last year, so I doubt that prices have changed that much in a year.

    >> If you had to do the walk all over again today what would you do differently?

    Other than the revised packing list: https://30waysofwalking.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/revised-packing-list-what-we-should-have-brought/

    Not much. We were well-researched and we enjoyed it tremendously. We might have spent one extra day in Manchester to check out some of the museums (this is not related to the walk; however).

    >> Did you have to use any ordinance survey maps?

    No, but if we had the ones listed in this post, we might have found a short cut some days https://30waysofwalking.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/revised-packing-list-what-we-should-have-brought/

    >> How many days did the whole walk take you?

    Our trip was 21 days with site-seeing days built in before and after the walk. The walk was 12 days of actual walking (we built in 3 rest days during the walk-so 15 days of total time on the C2C).

    >> Would one need a companion; could one do the walk solo?

    One could walk solo; however, to be safe and fair to Mountain Rescue, please make sure that your accommodations and a friend or family member know your plans. I go over some of the safety items here: https://30waysofwalking.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/revised-packing-list-what-we-should-have-brought/. The C2C is quite popular, so each day you will meet friendly companions. Most of the solo hikers were from the UK and were walking parts of the C2C. It seems that many people stage the walk and perform so many miles over the course of several years.

    >> Would there be any youth hostels along the walk?

    Yes, see above.

    >> Would you use the same guidebook if you wanted to walk the path again? If not, which other guidebook(s) would you consider using this time round?

    Yes, see: https://30waysofwalking.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/revised-packing-list-what-we-should-have-brought/

    >> How much do you reckon it would cost nowadays to do the complete walk?

    Probably the same as last year with whatever increases to plane, train, and Packhorse tickets.

    >> What did you have to take with you then, and what would you take with you instead today?
    Please see: https://30waysofwalking.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/revised-packing-list-what-we-should-have-brought/
    >> When would be the best to do the walk?
    May-September seems to be the most popular time.

    >> If you wanted to walk again, would you begin from the East instead of the West where you began?

    That might be fun!

    >> If you had to find any youth hostels/cheap accommodations along the way, do you reckon you will have to deviate too far away from the main path? How could that be avoided somehow?
    The youth hostels are mostly located on the trail (but book early). Many B&Bs that are far off the trail will drive to the trail to pick you up.
    >> What brand rucksack did you use before? Would you change that for another brand?
    We used REI and we loved it.
    >> How heavy was your initial rucksack when you began? Could that weight have reduced somehow?
    Since we traveled with Packhorse, we carried very little in our pack: water, rain gear, lunch, camera, guidebook.

    >> What was your packing list on your initial walk? What would you take instead if you had to do the walk once again?

    This was our initial list: https://30waysofwalking.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/packing-list/
    This was our revised list: https://30waysofwalking.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/revised-packing-list-what-we-should-have-brought/

    >> Were there any grocery stores along the main path; or you had to deviate too much in order to get to them somehow?
    Every town where we spent the night had some kind of groccery store, but if you are looking for a Sainsbury’s or a Tesco, the best best is Richmond.
    >> When do you reckon it would the optimum month to begin the walk?
    July was fabulous!
    >> Perhaps because many people begin on a Sunday, do you think you could beat the crowd by beginning on any other day except Sunday?
    I don’t know. The folks at Packhorse could probably answer that question. They are so friendly and helpful.
    >> Which parts of the path would you consider to be really nasty, and unequivocally difficult to begin with?

    I think the day into and out of Reeth was the most difficult because of the reasons listed in this post: https://30waysofwalking.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/keld-to-reeth/

    ENJOY YOUR WALK!!! This is the experience of a lifetime and I look forward to hearing of your travels. Best, Gina

  10. caminoist says:

    How did you deal with blisters, if any? Thank you kindly.

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