I thought it may be useful, especially to those arriving from abroard, to discuss briefly the mobile phone coverage I’ve had over the last few days.
Between us, Rob and I have carried three mobile phones. I have the iPhone on an O2 contract, I also have a BlackBerry on Vodafone and Rob has an Orange PAYG SIM in his Nokia.
By far and away the best of these three, in terms of consistent coverage has been the Vodafone. It has had a signal in nearly every place we’ve stayed, often no more than one or two bars, but it has rarely not been able to get any reception at all. Stonethwaite and Keld are the only two stops where I’ve had to use a payphone.
Nowhere has O2 or Orange had a signal and Vodafone hasn’t.
Also, more and more places, even little B&Bs are starting to provide wireless access to their clients, often at no cost. The Shepherds Arms at Ennerdale Bridge charged us £2 for their wifi and Tony at Keld Lodge suggested we drop a quid in the Mountain Rescue donation box in exchange for the WEP key for his wifi router. Other places with wifi include; The Langstrath, Brookfield in Shap, Fletcher House in Kirkby Stephen, Willance House in Richmond, the Queen Catherine Hotel in Osmotherley and the Lion Inn at Blakey, all for free.
Hope that helps someone.