I thought I’d walked the Coast to Coast for the last time in a long time, back in 2009 (only last year as I write this). But the path has an addictive quality, drawing walkers back again and again like moths to a flame. As Tex and I sat enjoying a pint in Robin Hood’s Bay in May 2009, I told myself I’d walk it again one day, but for the time being I was done with it. When I was asked by Trailblazer to write a short piece for the 4th Edition of their C2C guide book, entitled “Next time I do the C2C” I silently told myself it would be a long time off.
Pah! So much for that idea.
Earlier this year, in June or July of 2010, high on the euphoria of finishing the Pennine Way I started to think of what to do next. I had sort of planned to do the Southern Upland Way in 2011 – a 15 or 16 day coast to coast walk across Scotland, but I didn’t really want to spend that long walking again – the Pennine Way had been 17 days and at times I’d felt that was too many days away from home.
I didn’t want to walk a coastal path – they really don’t appeal to me. I can imagine if the weather’s bad, especially if it’s windy, it’s going to be very exposed and not a lot of fun. Various other paths were dismissed as being too short or too long, too far away, not hilly enough, in Wales, and so on.
At the moment, my path selection is limited by the provision of baggage transfer services along the route. I still don’t consider myself fit enough to carry all my own gear, day after day, over hills and mountains, even if I’m using B&Bs for accommodation. Obviously this has got to change – I still hanker after doing LEJOG at some point – and I want to be able to free myself from this restriction. However, until I’m lighter and fitter, I’m limited to using baggage couriers and therefore limited to the routes I can walk.
Almost by a matter of elimination I came down to the C2C and my spirits lifted at the thought of doing it again. It was bizarre, I actually felt a physical reaction at the prospect of walking the route again. I immediately decided to make it different this time though – east to west was the least of my decisions. I also decided to make my own route up wherever possible. Using the traditional overnight stops would allow me to use a baggage courier, but during the day I could use any path I liked to link them together.