With the path decided on – and the direction of travel – it’s only a matter of deciding on an itinerary, booking the accommodation and getting rid of the belly – quite a simple set of tasks if you say them quickly. The first two are obviously the priority and then I have all winter and spring to achieve the third.
On an east to west crossing on the C2C, you head for the Lakes – the best bit many would say – and they come late in the walk, so you’re fairly fit by then and they can be appreciated all the more – rather than half killing you before you’ve got your walking legs on a west to east crossing. So I decided fairly early on that I wanted to make the most of the Lakes – spend four days taking my time and picking some of the lesser trodden paths between the villages.
I’ll be using Brigantes for baggage transfer (as usual) and so I am rather limited to the traditional C2C villages for my itinerary stops, but if I use Grasmere I can make the Lakes last four days instead of my previous three days on the last two crossings. So from Shap I’ll head for Patterdale, then Grasmere, then Stonethwaite and finally Ennerdale Bridge.
Shap is a no-brainer for accommodation, if Brookfield House is free take any room they have. The shed at the bottom of their garden would probably be better than many of the B&Bs along the route. Margaret is definitely the hostess with the most(est) fantastic philosophy – if she can make a guest feel at home she’s happy. The reception on arrival is second to none, home made pastries and cake, tea in the best china and not just dropped on a tray in front of you, but delivered hot from the oven, again and again until you’re fit to burst. So no decisions to made there.
Patterdale is a little more difficult, there are two or three really nice places to stay, but they mainly cater for couples or groups – solo walkers tend to have to pay a high price. Tex and I stayed at Glebe House in 2009 and that was pretty grim, elsewhere doubles for sole use are expensive, so I’m going for the White Lion and the little single room they have (the Angle Tarn room). At least then when it rains I’ll not have to get wet going out for dinner 🙂
Grasmere is a nightmare – it’s one of the honeypots of the Lakes and very upmarket – many would say it’s right up its own arse too, the result being that most places are expensive, even for a single room. Many places will only do B&B for two nights or more, which is not very walker friendly. The hotels and B&Bs in the village can charge pretty much what they like – they know they’ll fill their rooms without any problem. So I’m looking outside the village for a small single somewhere.
Stonethwaite is a must-do stop for me, the Langstrath is fantastic – I can’t rate it highly enough, it’s second only to Brookfield in C2C accommodation in my view. It isn’t cheap though and a single room is too much for me, so I’m staying in the farmhouse next door. Tex and I have stayed there before, when we did a weekend away a couple of years ago and it was fine. I get to eat in the Langstrath at least.
Finally Ennerdale Bridge and the fly-in-the-ointment booking for the Lakes section. The two pubs in the village are now owned by the same people/person and to suggest an accommodation cartel is now in operation in the village is not overstating the case. Both places want £55 for a single room. Two years ago I got a double en-suite for £30 in the Fox & Hounds.
Like so many places along the route though, they can now charge what they want – mostly thanks to the BBC and Julia Bradbury and the series of programmes covering Wainwrights walks and latterly the C2C. The result is a huge increase in the number of people walking the path and certain bottleneck locations like Ennerdale Bridge being able to take advantage of the demand – economics is a bitch isn’t it?!
So rather than be held to ransom I looked wider afield and I think I have a room about 5 miles away, but the landlady will collect and deliver to Ennerdale Bridge, so I don’t need to walk off-route to find a bed.
More to follow as I find time…..