Day 1 - St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge

Comment: 16 miles - 1 hard climb (1000 ft) and 1 steep painful descent along a forest track, 1 very marshy/muddy field, sheep and cows.

St Bees has been made famous by the walk. It is a large village with with stoney beaches and a large number of hotels, guest houses and Bed & Breakfast establishments. This is ideal for the walkers who take an overnight stop to prepare for the days ahead.

St Bees Head

  Approaching the start of the walk one sees the picturesque headland - an inspirational sight - to see the way ahead so plainly. But first-things-first - we stood by the sign marking the official start of the walk, where a kindly passer-by took our pictures. Obelisk
The weather was fine, which gave us encouragement for our first day. We climbed the headland and followed the coastal path. Being from Essex, where there are no hills to speak of, we had no idea what was ahead. I was more concerned that we wouldn't even finish the day than finishing the 190 miles. We had undertaken several training walks - the longest was about 14 miles, but nothing could have prepared us.
 
The headland gave us dramatic coastal scenery, with sharp drops to our left. Eventually we left the howling winds of the coast behind us, the quiet lanes followed and at last we were heading east.

As we trudged down the hill to Ennerdale Bridge, we met our first fellow coast-to-coast walker: Ian. Ian has walked long walks before, and told me one thing about his training that regime that I have since taken up myself: use the stairs at work instead of the lifts. However, Ian works on the 16th floor of his office block, I work on the 4th. But I would recommend this to anyone contemplating a walk in hilly countryside.

Although we were tiring, chatting with Ian in the final 3 miles of the day helped take our minds off the aches-and-pains. These seemed to be occurring mainly in the feet and the shoulders - as I had never carried a back-pack for a whole day before.

We were heading for a guest-house near the banks of Ennerdale Water. This meant walking about 2 miles further than the advisory stopping point for the first day.

 

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timr@timandtim.co.uk

Copyright 2000 Tim Reeves