What Had I Done to Myself? Walking Across England-Coast to Coast

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.

Me and Dallas Cowboy Fan with Alan in the middle, the King of Hospitality

Alan will make sure, you have whatever you need to start a successful journey

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.

NEXT: DAY 1: Are We Even on the Trail? or (It’s Longer Than You Think)

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About Barb

I escaped from a hardscrabble farm in Oklahoma. I'm not sure why people think I have an accent. I miss the sunshine, but not the fried foods.
This entry was posted in A Laugh, Change, Coast to Coast, Humor, Traveling and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to What Had I Done to Myself? Walking Across England-Coast to Coast

  1. Pingback: Ready or Not Here We Come! – We Want to Go to There

  2. Talk about ambitious… and exciting! The longest walk I take today will probably be to the mail box.

    Like

  3. Recie says:

    Can’t wait to follow along. I’ve never been out of the US, so will go with you. Yay Barb!

    Like

  4. This sounds like it will be great! Looking forward to the tale 🙂

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    • Barb says:

      Well, you’ll probably laugh your garden gloves off because you know what to expect from the climate there. I’m from Oregon and thought I was used to the weather, but…well…I’ll just say that the cool temperatures made it easy for walking a long time. I noticed that all the flowers and plants were blooming about 4-6 weeks behind the U.S. How’s your garden doing?

      Like

  5. Ooh. I have missed you, and wondered what you were up to. And find you have been having adventures. Big adventures.
    I am a tad jealous, but will be back to read. And drool. I even speak the lingo. Pretty much.
    And I know you survive (or have found a way to write from the dead). Which I wouldn’t put past you.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      That’s right. I forgot. I should’ve been boning up on the lingo by taking lessons from you.. You’ve got Queen Elizabeth’s portrait all over your money, too. Do you have those 1 Pound coins that weigh as much as a sack of flour? I hope you’re well. I always think of you on Summer Solstice and am a tad jealous because the earth is tipping back in your direction, now you’ll be getting all the sun.

      Like

  6. Al says:

    Blimey! Hip, hip and all that rot. Yer a brave little bird so I’m tippin a pint for ya here in the states, gal.

    Like

  7. jono says:

    Very cool! I’ve got a new pair of knees and want to give them a couple of good workouts before the rest of me goes to hell. You are an inspiration!

    Like

  8. Margie says:

    I’m really looking forward to reading your adventure. We lived in the UK for two years and there really was no end to the fascinating places to visit and the immense history of it all.
    Twelve miles a day – that’s impressive. I bought myself a Fitbit a while back and find I walk about 5 miles a day. I think twelve miles would do me in!

    Like

    • Barb says:

      I’m not sure if those Fitbits are a curse or blessing. It’s like having something on your arm that gives you a guilty conscious. Can you just waggle your arm around and make it think you’re walking? If you’re doing 5 miles a day…you’re doing super. That takes commitment.
      I wish I’d picked your brain about the UK before I left. The vocabulary sometimes stumped me. I faffed around a bit before figuring out road signs that stated: “Watch out for Caravans”, or “Hump for 150 meteres”.

      Like

      • Margie says:

        Nope, you can’t trick the Fitbit by waggling your arm! 4-5 miles seems to be pretty ‘normal’ for summer time on my acreage.
        My favourite UK signage: ‘Mind the gap’ at the train stations; ‘Ford’ really does mean you and your vehicle will be fording a stream; ‘Zebra Crossing’ is a crosswalk.
        A few foods have interesting names – we chuckled at ‘Spotted Dick’ and couldn’t see the appeal of ‘mushy peas’. But the Fish and Chips were usually wonderful; I adored clotted cream with biscuits, and Cornish Pasties…
        Now I’m hungry and really missing the place!

        Like

  9. momaescriva says:

    And so it starts. I’ll save commenting until the last Blog.

    Like

  10. M j rivera says:

    Always a delight to read you😄. What a wonderful trip! Happy to come along…

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    • Barb says:

      We made a little sidetrip to London afterward, and I thought of you each time I saw a trip leader waving a flag and trying to gather her flock among the hordes of people on the streets. I hope you’re still gathering people as you journey.

      Like

  11. flyingfish3@comcast.net says:

    Yay! Oh yay and wah-hooo!

    Like

  12. Rose L. says:

    How exciting! Armchair travels with Barb!! Woo hoo! I am looking forward to it. Who knows, maybe it will develop into another book for you (as if 6 wasn’t enough!). As for massages–highly recommended! Too bad you cannot have a traveling masseuse along on a trip! A nice, handsome strapping young man–or one who looks like Bruce Willis! wink wink!

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Who cares what he looks like as long as he can rub the tiredness out of feet. I’m sure some of the characters I met will make it into a book or two. I’m glad you’ll be traveling along (and looking for Bruce Willis in these posts).

      Like

  13. Alice Lynn says:

    Barb, at last you’re going to take us across England with you as our special, super-duper tour guide! Love the first installment and can’t wait for the next!

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Hi Alice, Yes, I even learned some super-duper English words to describe idiots and doing idiot things. Although with your vocabulary and wordsmithing, you probably could’ve told me what they meant when I first heard them.

      Like

  14. dan says:

    I’m jealous. I have the mobility of a tectonic plate. I’ve been doing stand up so I removed a lot of material and haven’t been blogging. Looks like a great set of articles coming up on your blog.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Dan, Dan!!! How I wish that I were close enough to take in one of your gigs!!! I looked at taking a class in stand-up but couldn’t squeeze together enough courage to do it. I really admire you. Your stuff makes me laugh until I have tears. Hugs and applause for you.

      Like

      • Rose L. says:

        They have a class at CCC and the final is performing for anyone who shows up. We could have a great crowd for you! I bet you would be great!! Most of the women I have seen are the funniest.

        Like

        • Barb says:

          I talked to the instructor and asked if I could audit the class without doing the final stand-up performance. He said “No.” And I haven’t worked up the courage (or material) to do it.

          Like

  15. Elyse says:

    How wonderful! My days of hiking long distance are behind me, so I am going to thoroughly enjoy your adventure.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Well, Elyse, with the public service you provide of keeping us aware of what’s going on, this walking thing is the least I could do for you. I mean…how else will folks learn about the mysteries of Vaseline mixed with feet? Hugs to You. Great to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Elyse says:

        And great to see you posting more often!

        My husband wants to do a walking tour of Scotland … he will be doing it with a Scottish friend, though, not his wife. So I will be very interested in following your journey!

        Like

        • Barb says:

          Ha.Ha.Ha. Yeah, doing it with a friend is a lot easier on a marriage…as you’ll see from the upcoming posts. Scotland is on our list of “Wanna” hikes, though someone told me that if I didn’t like rain and bogs, maybe I should just see Scotland from a car. (Killjoys).

          Liked by 1 person

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