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ORGANISATIONS

The Wainwright Society Reference site for the Coast to Coast and all other Wainwright inspired walks

Sherpa Van Luggage carriers, corporate site with message board and loads of useful information on routes and accommodation for the Coast to Coast and other selected Long Distance Footpaths

RETAILERS AND MANUFACTURERS

Snow and Rock Of all the Outdoor Megastores the Snow and Rock - or as they are affectionately known - Slush and Muck have some of the most experienced and knowledgeable staff.

Itchy Feet Small chain. On the outside they appear to cater for the traveller / festival goer rather than hiker but they do stock hard to find brands such as Patagonia and Kayland. They have one of the most knowledgeable and best staff in London.

Country Concept Small outdoor gear mail order company, based in North Yorkshire not far from the Coast to Coast, they can mail items direct to your B+B.

Kayland Boots We took a gamble on changing boots a month before setting off, our normal boots getting a bit too hot for summer. The high ankle support on these has made Lizzie more stable over rocky ground and the lacing options allows the boot to be adjusted well but we have both had the tendency to over-tighten laces and put too much pressure on parts of the foot. Unfortunately a day in to the walk they proved too uncomfortable for Lizzie, so she reverted back to her old trusty Han Wag Lady Lima's

SIS Sports Drinks Couldn't do a walk without the Energy Bars and drink

Mountain Hardwear We use Mountain Hardwear clothing throughout the year

Camelbak The best hydration system combined with packs

FUNNY BITS

World Cup Sheep Not all sheep are soft fluffy timid beings, this bunch are completely baarmy

Abducted Cows We have had our share of close encounters with cattle but it appears they are now under threat from outer space

WHERE WE STAYED

Ennerdale Bridge - Ennerdale View

A very lovely large ensuite room. Only drawback with this B&B is that it is a bit of trek up the road from Ennerdale Bridge, although the owners can arrange to pick you up and it is possible to get on to the Eastern side of Ennerdale Water to continue the Coast to Coast (recommended if it is wet as it was when we were walking). We didn't use the hot tub (looked a bit small) but a couple who did, said it was very relaxing, looking over at the views.  They went to the trouble of getting some gluten free bread for me at breakfast, which was very much appreciated  - sadly Kev didn't get his normal toast though but as the rest of the breakfast was quite filling this wasn't a problem.

Patterdale - Old Water View

Old Water View was a very welcome sight after a long hard trek from Stonethwaite.  You're not allowed to arrive before 4pm, but we were in no danger of breaking that rule, arriving at 6pm.  We were greeted to a warm welcome and shown our room.  Although it could be classed as being slightly on the small side, the bed was nice and comfy and the chocolates on the teddy bears  which adorned the pillows - a very nice touch. Good shower, with dressing gowns supplied as well.  Has a television so we were able to catch up with the World Cup.  There is a large guest lounge downstairs, with a computer, so you can access the internet if required.  

They have a very comprehensive breakfast menu and can supply gluten free bread on request.

An accommodation review on the Sherpa website had warned that there were post-it notes stuck everywhere with Dos and Don'ts, but we saw no evidence of that.  

Best of all it is not too far from the Red Lion which serve excellent dinners - well recommended.

Shap - Brookfield B+B

This is such a fantastic place to stay - Margaret is so warm and welcoming. I had the misfortune of spraining my ankle whilst coming over Kidsty Pike. On seeing me hobble in, Margaret was instantly there with an ice pack for my ankle; and a massive tea tray in the living room, including gluten free cakes that she had got in especially for me. Margaret was a little disappointed that I didn't have a bigger appetite and could try out some of the gluten free rolls she had also found. the consideration towards my diet was really appreciated especially when you consider that these places are in very small Towns and the owners have to travel some way to get to a decent supermarket. Had a nice guest lounge with bar so you relax and chat with the other walkers. Would definitely stay here again.

Kirkby Stephen - Old Coach House

The sight of the Old Coach House was so welcome after 19.5 very tough miles hobbling along (I'd twisted my ankle the day before). Derek was very welcoming and friendly. Room was pleasant (with a TV) and a very nice bathroom. You can tell you're staying in a B&B though, rather than a guest house as its very much like staying in someone's house. We were also the only people staying there, and quite missed the cosiness of the guest lounge that we had experienced at Brookfield House at Shap, and the general chit chat with other coast to coasters. Breakfast was great and Derek had gone to the trouble to print out a map of the next days route and dig out an article from a Pennine Way book which warns that day 5 is generally the hardest on a long distance walk and can be the day most people give up. ..

Keld - Butt House

The owners of this guest House have a legendary reputation amongst Coast To Coast Walkers, Doreen and Ernest are probably the only people that you will meet that have a direct connection with the Alfred Wainwright and his route. Having compiled the walkers Handbook listing all accommodation on or close to the route, AW used to call in to sample Doreen's Baking and it easy to see why. So much time and effort goes into the way in which they look after walkers. Doreen makes guests an evening meal and even remade a soup for especially for Liz when she realised that it had been thickened with flour. It would be difficult to find a better place to stay along the whole Coast to Coast route.

Where we stayed continued from previous column

Reeth - Cambridge House

Another great place to stay in! Although a slight mistake over which room we were staying in (we were shown the twin room when we thought we had booked a double room), this was soon sorted. Great tea is served in the conservatory and another place that gets full stars for having got in gluten free cakes specially for me!!!! They also have a computer with internet facilities so great opportunity to catch up on emails and update our online C2C diary. Bathroom is fantastic - and its got bathrobes for you to slip in to afterwards. Breakfast is wonderful. If you are using Sherpa - they pick up the bags very early here (about 8.30am). The other 2 walkers staying here had to dive up to their bedroom to hastily pack as they had not bought their bags down before breakfast. We had difficulty getting away in the morning, as Kev (my hubby) and the owner had a great time talking about bikes, racing and the people they used to both know, and compete against. The owner was very proud of his new bike - a very light racing bike that cost over 2000. Fortunately his wife was very accommodating of his expensive hobby.
 

Richmond - Old Brewery Guest House

Mary and her husband are so lovely. We stayed here for 3 nights in total and were made to feel so welcome. They coordinate the Sherpa Coast to Coast baggage service from here and it was great to meet them on our first night before we left for St Bees (as well as when we reached there during the C2C) as meant that we could already put a face to the names and knew that we were going to be staying in a nice place. good rooms, excellent breakfast and again no problems with the Gluten Free.

Osmotherley - Queen Catherine Hotel

Small double room, but is ensuite (with nice shower) and has a TV. However the toilet seat was cracked, but at least the local public toilets have won numerous best public convenience awards. The sink in the room also wasn't the cleanest, but at least the bedding was clean. We decided not to eat in the bar, as the bar man was all gungy with greasy hair. Fortunately the golden lion (across the road) had spaces for food and is well recommended. It only opens at 6pm, and seems to be fully booked, but if you go in then, you should be able to get a table. Food was great! Breakfast was fine, and fortunately was not served by the guy with the greasy hair. Technically can order breakfast from 7am, but in reality earliest breakfast is at 7.30am. You're also not allowed to go into the bar before then in case the security alarm goes off.

Blakey - High Blakey House

When we staggered in, the owner nonchalantly took us to the bedroom 'the room with a view'. Wow our jaws hit the floor it was amazing. The room was bigger than our flat, we got lost on the way to the bathroom! After a visit across the road to the pub we returned and just sat watching the sunlight fade from the hills through the huge landscape windows. Amazing!

Grosmont - Station Tavern

This definitely wins the award for the smallest double room on the C2C. We could hardly fit our bags in. Such a contrast to High Blakey House. And there was no television either! I was also concerned that it was shared facilities and was up at 6am to ensure that I didn't have to queue for the shower. There are also no locks on the door, so anyone walking in to the bar could pop upstairs and snaffle our stuff. Which I found quite worrying. However the landlord was very friendly. We did find it disconcerting when he advised that the bar would get very busy as they were hosting the diners for the steam train dinner that night, from 6.30pm to 7pm. They then had a birthday party scheduled afterwards (so would be noisy). Fortunately as we had been forewarned, we were down in the bar early, reserving a space for us and our fellow coast to coasters. The landlord was right when he warned that it would be busy! It was packed out! Dinner was fine, and I got the last available stuffed peppers (yay gluten free!), though Kev was drawn into being a waiter as it was so busy. Breakfast was also good but only one serving time at 8am, which was a bit disappointing for us as we were hoping for an early breakfast to give us plenty of time to get to Robin Hoods Bay. Kev got eggie bread which I had never seen before. We also got fried potato - yay!!!

And reviews of those without a website

Danby Wiske - Manor House

We had read, that its best not to arrive here early, so we deliberately arrived after 4pm, as we thought that would be an acceptable time to arrive. We were disconcerted to find the place all shut up though. Fortunately it was not raining, and there were seats at the back, though we did feel that we were trespassing, but with feet aching, we did not want to stand around at the front of the house. Mike Sanders arrived home at about 4.30pm. He was very welcoming and apologetic that he had not been at home. His wife (Jan) was a teacher and was at a late meeting. He showed us our room and the guest lounge, which turned out to be on the stairway landing!

Jan finally arrived but couldn't remember our names, even though we were the only two guests booked in that evening and had sent several e-mails, either that or the terse ' and who are you? ' was her normal school teacher manner.

Having heard that the food in the local pub was not very good, particularly for vegetarians, we had decided to bring our own food for the evening. This did not go down well at all with Jan although i could see Mike's eyes twinkle and a little grin appear when I told them we weren't eating at the pub. 'But you must! They are expecting you at 7! all the walkers staying in Danby Wiske have to eat at the pub!' Well maybe if the pub had bothered to pick up the phone when we called in the days before arriving so that we could see what they offered, things may have been different. Instead Mike kindly brought us some plates and we had our picnic on the stairs!

Jan runs this place to hours that suit her, not the guest, you are expected to have breakfast before she leaves for school, perhaps standing to attention after singing the school song? Not wanting to eat before 8am we arranged for Mike to boil us an egg, this it appears is the only thing he is allowed to do in the kitchen!

Stonethwaite - Knotts View

Pleasant welcome from the owner and has a drying room for clothes (very useful as we were very wet). Cottage is quaint but a bit on the small side (Kev kept banging his head on the beams). Room was nice but it had shared facilities, I imagine there would be a queue in the morning if it was fully booked (the owner was expecting 8 people the day after we stayed). No television - so make sure you have plenty of books if staying here. Breakfast was a little disappointing and I got the impression that the owner did not fully understand what was gluten free, and offered hash browns, which had wheat in the ingredients.  The owner tried to charge us for two packed lunches even though we had not ordered any but quickly rectified the bill once I spotted the mistake. All in all owner is very nice and friendly and welcoming. Would definitely recommend having dinner at the pub - The Langstrath, excellent food! Made up for the poor food the previous evening.

 

Kevanliz@aol.com