The People

People say that one of the best bits of the Coast to Coast is the camaraderie.  We weren’t going for this – we just wanted to walk and see the scenery.  But it is impossible to ignore and rather pleasant to be able to spend time talking about your day’s walking with others in the same position.  That said, we felt we generally preferred the people we met with near the start of the walk – presumably because everything was newer and talking to other people in the same position helped us work out if we were doing ok or not.

Here are the people we met during the walk, Coast to Coasters and random others.

The cast, in order of appearance:

The Blokes from the start.  We shared the minibus to St Bees with them but didn’t get much in the way of friendliness.  We realised later that they didn’t seem to be taking the walk particularly seriously, so maybe that’s why we weren’t sure about them.  We did hear about them getting lost out of Ennerdale and ending up at Wasdale Head (an £80 taxi ride to Stonethwaite), which may also be part of it.  Kudos though for having a huge bowl of porridge, which Elspeth struggled with on its own, followed by a full breakfast, at Kirkby Stephen.

The Backpackers.  One of the nicest couples we met.  These two were camping and carrying all of their kit.  The lady had walked the Coast to Coast in this manner as a teenager but both seemed to be rueing their decision to walk it unsupported this time around.  In Ennerdale Bridge their campsite was closed and they were put up by a friendly resident.  When we stopped to chat with them alongside Ennerdale Water the next day, they left with Packhorse’s number.

Standoffish Couple number one.  We met these two in the little shop in Cleator, and again at the pub in Ennerdale Bridge.  They were the only people we met doing the walk in fewer days than us: we saw them again as we arrived at Robin Hood’s Bay.

Our First Australians.  Peter and Claudia were fixtures during the first few days of the walk.  Definitely a case of him wanting to come on the walk and her going along with it!  I *think* they were enjoying it.  They were early starters and we generally caught up with them at some point.  Hopefully Claudia’s new boots from Grasmere helped them finish the course – we left them in the Greyhound at Shap.

Dave Digger Diggs.  First spotted in the pub in Ennerdale Bridge talking about politics with our First Australians, we saw Dave on most days up to Richmond, where he took a rest day.  A geography professor from Colorado, Dave was a good walking companion and I’m sure he enjoyed the walk. 

The Irish Raincoat People.  A pleasant couple who we first met putting on their raincoats for the day at the foot of Ennerdale.  We then shared West View in Grasmere with them: they were struggling with the amount of walking after those first 3 days, so I hope they made it.

Standoffish Couple number two.  I liked these two as they were using Pentax SLRs.  But they were really rather unfriendly so I can’t say much about them.

The Swiss.  A couple of long distance path enthusiasts, who we shared Gillerthwaite Youth Hostel with during a squall.

The Australian Foursome.  Our favourite Australians?  We walked much the same schedule as this group, and came across them relatively regularly.  We weren’t too impressed by their over-reliance on their GPS sensor: “The GPS says it’s that way”.  Beware technology.

The Cumbria Way Walkers.  Two couples from Leicestershire who were walking the Cumbria Way.  They had previously walked the West Highland Way and enjoyed telling us their stories of the ‘wonderful’ (read ‘haunted’) Drovers Inn.  We had a very pleasant half hour in the lounge of the Langstrath talking about walking – a nice change from talking about the Coast to Coast itself.

Sundry walkers out of Grasmere.  So Grasmere is a busy hub of walking, I guess.  We passed a lot of walkers coming the other way up to Helm Crag and along the ridge.  Some of whom had to be pointed the way the path went, which was rather concerning.  It was a reasonable day weatherwise, but still, going up on the tops with no map and no compass, when you clearly don’t know what you’re doing, is rather silly.

The Wild Campers.  Camping at Grisedale Tarn.  In a gale.  Good on them.

The Man from Shap.  We had a good break talking with an eccentrically dressed fellow who lived in Shap, at the foot of Kidsty Pike.  Nice to be welcomed as Coast to Coast walkers by a random local.

The Three Australians.  One of whom had a loud voice on the misty moody moors.  Grrr.

The Dry Footed Man.  The first of two sets who were walking East to West.  This chap was doing it in stages, and told us that he’d crossed Nine Standards Rigg without getting his feet wet.  I suspect he had a boat.

The Three or Two or Four American Ladies.  There were apparently four of them walking the route, but I think we only saw three at one time.  Two of them joined us for the swim across the Pennines, the only day that we really walked with anyone, and it was good to chat with them on the walk.  I hope at least one of them made it to the end.

The Grumpy Man and Tea-Stirring Lady.  An odd couple.  The lady spent most of breakfast stirring her cup of tea ostentatiously.  Perhaps I’d have done the same if I’d had to walk with him for two weeks.

Harry.  A distinguished American Fellow who was walking for the sixth year in a row.  His approach was to walk only the bits that he actually liked: getting a lift from Packhorse to an interesting spot and taking a walk from there.  We enjoyed dinner with him in Keld and it really was interesting hearing about his life – a different character than we’re used to.

Julia Bradbury.  Only by proxy, by virtue of tripping over her film crew’s camera cases at Butt House, but that’s good enough to claim we walked the Coast to Coast with a bona fide walking celebrity.

The Australian émigrés.  Two walkers who emigrated to Australia and came back for the walking.  She looked a little like Jimmy Cranky.

The Geordies.  Four Geordies who we met properly later at Park House.  Proof that you are not too old to walk a long distance path – these would have given us a good run for our money.

The Wellington Wearers.  Walking the Coast to Coast in Wellies?  Crazy Americans.

The Farmer.  Who talked to us about wheat.

Judy and Jenny.  Two ladies taking a very relaxed approach to the walk.  Good value for dinner.

The Kids on the Moors.  Two groups of primary schoolkids out for a day on the moors.  Brilliant.

The Lyke Wake Walk Runner.  A young man who had run the Lyke Wake Walk (40 miles…) with his dad and Luke.  I’m not sure whether I should have known who Luke was. 

The Two Who Between Them Balanced To An Average Level Of Enthusiasm And Friendliness.  Elspeth tells me this is impolite to the quieter man, but the lady was certainly enthusiastic enough for two.  We met these on most of the last few days, and it might have been nice to get to know them slightly better.

If any of you listed above happen to stumble upon this site and recognise yourselves then do get in touch and tell us the story of your walk!

Next >>   Accommodation