There’s no reason to Panic
I keep telling myself. Over and over.
It all started about a thousand years ago when I was 28. I was going to walk over the spine of England (North to South on the Pennine Way).
I never got around to it. So now, being a thousand years older, I thought I’d better get started on the hike. Except, now … the more I looked at the trek, I was sure it would kill me. So I settled on crossing England in a skinnier direction: from west to east on the Coast 2 Coast Trail.
Developed by A. Wainright in 1973, this 192 mile jaunt crosses through 3 National Parks in the U.K.: the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, and the North York Moors. I pre-hired a company (Packhorse) to carry our luggage from one inn to the next, thinking that in 15 days my husband, Dallas Cowboy Fan, and I could saunter leisurely across the countryside. I bought airline tickets.
And then the reality set in!!! What had I done?
For the next several posts, I’ll tell you about Walking Across Englaind—in case
- you’re thinking of doing it yourself
- you need a good laugh.
Pre-Hike: You Can’t Get There From Here
The journey starts in the out-of-reach, bitty-bitty burg of St. Bees on the Irish Sea. One of the hardest places to get to in England. And then we discovered we couldn’t get there on a Sunday. No bus. No train. So we changed our airline and train tickets, honored all traditions surrounding travel and hiking, and arrived early to hang around an extra day at the amazing Manor House Inn with its 3-foot thick walls and Hobgoblin Ale.
In my pre-hike jitters, I had trained until I was able to walk 12 miles a day. At that point I had to quit because I’d developed tendinitis in my hip and pulled my back out of whack. But everything was setup and paid for. So I boarded the planes and trains, with bags of Advil, and heat paks, heading for this wee-village. (No kidding, the sign on our train door said: Last one leaving the coach. Close the door.)
The Manor House at St. Bees is a great home for adventurers. In the pub, we were surrounded by groups from Australia, a family from Hong Kong, and Brits starting on the walk. I looked around, amazed that half-way around the world, here we were with new friends, talking excitedly about beer, world dominion, and the adventure of the next couple of weeks.
I didn’t say much because I secretly and sadly figured I’d be seeing most of the landscape from a bus window because of my back and hip. When I shared my fears with the owner of the inn, he arranged for a therapist to give me a massage.
And that was the beginning of a lesson I’d keep learning in the next few days about hospitality.
Did it help?
We’ll see in the upcoming blogs. And if you’re ever in St. Bees, England, stop by the Manor House. Dogs, drinkers, and anyone starting an adventure—big or little—will be set on their path with renewed hope.
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