English Coast to Coast

Setting out from the rocky shores on the Irish Sea, the English Coast to Coast travels 190 miles across the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors and eventually to the cold waters of the North Sea.  In my opinion, this trail offers the most “bang for your buck” of any long-distance trail overseas.

The C2C was my first long-distance trail where I hiked inn-to-inn.  I had backpacked in Colorado and trekked in Nepal.  To be honest, I wasn’t overly excited.  I was used to big adventures in the Himalayas.  There was no lure to England.

We arrived by train from London very late in the evening.  From the back seat of the cab I could see the little man standing at the door of the B&B.  He was waiting for us.  We slept soundly in the blue room, a room that reminded me of home.  This was our first B&B experience.

In the morning we woke to the smell of coffee and bacon frying in the pan.  The weather outside was soggy, making the warmth of the inside more enjoyable.  After our first full English breakfast of cold cereal, a hot plate of eggs, bacon and beans and a rack of toasts, we waddled out the door and down to the shores of the Irish Sea.  The rain was gone.  Waves lapped, birds chirped and a herd of sheep grazed on the high green banks.  It was all that England was suppose to be.

Bob and Joyce Hamblin from Estes Park arrive at the North Sea


After hiking along the cliffs we turned inland and walked down a country lane by a house.  A shovel and a pair of Wellies were up against the backdoor.  Past the barn and out into the field the trail continued.  It climbed Dent Fell before falling into a green valley surrounded by a stone wall.  We were now in the Lake District.  We hiked the final leg into a village, a perfect “Miss Marple” village with a pub.  This was our lodging for the night- the green room, complete with wall-paper and a frilly bedspread.  Downstairs we enjoyed a pint, then showered and returned for fish and chips, mushy peas and sticky toffee pudding.

I was in love with inn-to-inn hiking.

A couple of years ago we returned with several friends and employee, John Laughlin, and did the trail again.  I had done numerous long-distance trails by then and had enjoyed them all.  There were so many still to walk, I wondered if doing a “repeat” was a good idea.  Would it be as good as the first?

I enjoyed it even more.

The English Coast to Coast is not for the novice hiker.  Days are long, mountains are steep and sometimes the trail is faint.  But my, oh my, this trail delivers.  I’m not sure you can go anywhere and within 190 miles see so much different terrain.  Lodging is quaint, welcoming and fun.  The accomplishment of walking from one side of a country to the other is only dampened by the desire to turn around and hike back to the beginning.

We have always carried our gear, but there are several luggage transfer companies which for most people is the best way to go. People ask which is best, west to east or east to west.  Although the most spectacular scenery is at the beginning, I would still recommend doing it west to east.  You’re going with the wind.

Getting in shape, having real boots and hiking poles are all a must.


I’ve done a lot of long-distance hiking.  This trail ranks in the top 5.  I’ve done it twice.  I’d jump at the chance to do it again.