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Coast to Coast Walk, 11th -28th May 2012  Walk for Tshwaranang

It had always been a big ambition of mine to do the Wainwright Coast to Coast Walk. 192 miles across the north of England from St Bees by the Irish Sea to Robin Hood Bay by the  North Sea. After two months of various foot problems whilst training and wondering if I would be capable of the walk I decided to give it a shot and do it as a sponsored walk for the Tshwaranang Aids Hospice in South Africa.

On 11th May I travelled North with 6 friends from St Albans Ramblers. On 12th May we started our walk in the traditional way – a paddle in the sea (in our boots), then pick up a pebble from the sands to carry to Robin Hood Bay. Each night we stayed in either a Youth Hostel or Band B and our luggage was transported for us. The weather for the first 10 days was a mixture of rain, hail, some snow and very strong winds with a couple of dry days thrown in.

On the second day of the walk we had to climb up Loch Beck, a long rocky incline by Black Sail Youth Hostel This is the loneliest and most remote youth hostel situated in a wonderful surround of mountainous country. As we left the Youth Hostel and set off up Loch Beck the fun began! The winds that had been fairly strong previously gained a greater strength and we were buffeted by gales of 60 miles an hour gusting to 85 miles an hour. Every time a gust of wind hit us we crouched against the rocks until we were able to continue onwards and upwards. When we eventually reached the top the heavens opened and we now had to contend with torrential rain as well as gale force winds. What an experience!

The walk took us past beautiful lakes, very boggy moors and included lots of climbing including Kidsty Pike which is 2560ft. This was done on our longest day of walking -19 miles- and was pretty exhausting. We walked in the Lake District for 6 days then passed through the Westmorland Plateau, the Pennines, the Vale of Mowbray, the Cleveland Hills and finally the Yorkshire Moors.

The sun did come out for the last 6 days of our walk and one beautiful day as I was having lunch high up on the Yorkshire Moors looking down over beautiful panoramic scenery I thought I must be in Heaven.

After 16 days of walking and 214 miles (the extra miles included getting to and from our accommodation each day) we arrived at Robin Hood Bay. We went down to the beach had a paddle, threw our pebbles into the sea, had a group hug then off to Wainwright’s Bar for a very welcome celebratory drink.

I would like to thank all those who have sponsored me for my walk. You have been very generous. Money can be left in the Presbytery in an envelope marked Helen Bassill sponsored walk.  To hear more about the walk and see some more of my photos please join me for a social evening in the Hall at 7pm on Saturday 22nd September.

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