Wednesday, 14th August 2002
Tina and I arrived at our friends’ house, Pat and Mary Handley who live at Langsett, South Yorkshire, at 12.15 p.m. After having coffee we left at 1 p.m. to commence our journey to St. Bees in Cumbria. A short while later we stopped at the Gun Inn, Tintwistle, for a leisurely snack (it turned out to be very leisurely because the service was poor). We left at 3 p.m. and arrived at the Queen’s Hotel, St. Bees at 6 p.m.
En route we had decided that it would be a good idea to start the walk that evening and try to do the 5 miles from St. Bees along the cliff top to the lighthouse and then to Sandwith. We went to the beach, dipped our feet in the water as instructed by Tina, collected a pebble and set off on the prescribed route at 6.40 p.m. The first 45 minutes was unbelievably difficult, far more than I had ever imagined, climbing the steep steps up to a height of 500 ft on a surface which was very uneven. Not being a walker, this was a real test of character and I can imagine that many would be cursing “Wainwright” (the originator of the Coast to Coast walk, who must have been a masochist) before they got to the top of the cliff.
This was a very tough start to the 190 mile walk and slightly unnerving. However, we survived, with Pat striding along confidently about 100 metres ahead of Mary and myself and we completed the walk to Sandwith at 8.40 p.m. with Tina diligently awaiting us in the village centre. Tina had already established that the only pub in Sandwith (Dog and Partridge) only served meals on Thursday to Saturday each week and we made our way back to St. Bees in Tina’s Vauxhall Corsa (which seemed to be suffering from the combined weight of the four of us, together with all the luggage we had brought for the expedition).
When we arrived at Sandwith, Tina was talking to a lady with a dog and she told us that the best restaurant in St. Bees was called ‘French Connection’ although it was rather expensive. After the day which we had had, the last thing on our minds was the cost, and we duly made our way to the recommended restaurant, parking on the Railway Station car park. It was a very pleasant evening in a restaurant which had been converted from the former Station Waiting Room, Railway Carriages etc. After eating and drinking, we went back to the Queen’s Hotel and to bed at 11.30 p.m.