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Coasting from coast to coast

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When renowned British fellwalker Alfred Wainwright published the book A Coast To Coast Walk in 1973, detailing a trip he’d taken from the east coast of England to the west, little could he have imagined the book would become the definitive guide to the north of England’s three major national parks or that the walk would widely be considered one of the best in the world.

Thirty Seven years later and anyone who takes on the walk will be sure the book to hand though, such is the richness of its detail and sensible advice on how to break the walk up into chunks – essential information when you’ll be on your feet for more than 200 miles.

Haweswater reservoir in Cumbria

The route traverses the north of England from Cumbria’s St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire (or vice versa) passing through the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors and taking in the kind of scenery that must have inspired the hymn Jerusalem – England’s Green and Pleasant Land indeed.

Wainwright’s suggested route takes around two weeks to complete and the author, who died in 1991, suggested people dip their toes in the Irish Sea before starting and in the North Sea on completion by way of celebration.

A slightly easier – think, crucially, flatter – way to traverse the country is on the official Trans Pennine Trail which cuts from Hornsea in the east to Southport in the west. It is mainly on disused railway lines, is largely traffic free and can easily be done on foot, by bike or even on horseback. The route celebrates its 21st anniversary this year.

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