England Coast to Coast: What the Guides Say
by MT Sobek
April 24, 2017 Adventure Experts
April 24, 2017 Adventure Experts
There are few treks as satisfying to serious hikers as England’s classic “Coast-to-Coast” trail, considered by many to be one of the top ten hikes in the world! MT Sobek is the only North American adventure travel company to follow all 192 miles of the original “West-to-East” route scouted by Alfred Wainwright, who first blazed the trail in the 1970s. We asked our local guides for their insights into this incredible hike.
The reasons why I love leading the C2C, essentially break down to the following components; history, wildlife (flora and fauna), weather, geology, seasonal changes, local/regional culture, great food and accommodation. Having walked the C2C 26 times people often ask me if I get bored walking the same route. Honestly I have to say, I genuinely love the C2C as it traverses the Lake District, which is very close to my heart and where I choose to live. No two trips are the same, every trip has a different group dynamic and ultimately it’s the people who make a trip.
The weather and the subtle seasonal changes are always different, and the weather can dramatically affect the mood of a trek. Contrary to many north Americans popular belief, England gets a fantastic summer and over the past 5 years I’ve had many trips which had wall-to-wall sunshine and beautiful weather throughout. I’ve also had trips which encountered the full spectrum of wind, rain, hail, sun; sometimes on the same day, which personally rank as my most memorable trips.
I think the C2C is unique as it journeys through three National Parks, crosses the width of the country and travels through some of the most striking and varied countryside in northern England. I often hear guests say just ” how green everything is”. It’s true, the C2C goes through some stunning mountain scenery, it also goes through beautiful wildflower meadows, arable farmland, deciduous woodland and open heather moorland. Physically the C2C is a great challenge and has a real sense of achievement finally pulling up in Robin Hood’s Bay. For a relatively small country England is brimming with history and within this trip you see remnants of our industrial past, 13th-century abbeys, Norman castles, steam trains, market towns and quintessential English rural villages.
On this trip there is so much variety: history, culture, terrain, and, just as importantly, the people who come to experience it with me. All of England stands before us: Man and Landscape! Revealing and interpreting my native landscape is a joy, and each trip provides something new to see or to learn. Human traces can be found, from prehistory through Neolithic Bronze and Iron ages, Britons, Celts, Romans, Vikings, Anglo Saxons, Normans and others since into the industrial and modern eras. It’s amazing to think they all trod along the paths we’ll take. Perhaps we’ll see their legacy within the landscape, or hear it from an epic Anglo Saxon chronicle, witness the same views as William Wordsworth and maybe hear his words with a keener understanding, or join in a song celebrating the wild lives and times of the Navvies..the men who built the railways, a system that changed the world.
The land itself offers a massive challenge, with many different types of terrain. Traverse along western sea cliffs, move inland through mountains, along river valleys and across wild expansive moorlands, through rolling pastures and wild flower meadows to the eastern coastline, encountering the many different hues and moods of ‘England’s green and pleasant land.’ The biggest buzz I get is helping people meet and overcome the many challenges a trip like this offers. It’s so much more than a point to point hike. There are riches and treasures along the way, unexpected perhaps…for when we go out for a walk we are really going in.