I can hardly wait until tomorrow when I’m setting off with friends and family to walk 106 miles across England, from Kirkby Stephen to Robin Hood’s Bay to complete the Coast to Coast walk. In 2015 we did the first 85 miles and will now complete the 191-mile walk. From the map, it looks like the second half is less steep though there is a 22-mile day along the way.
There will be a couple of very special encounters on the walk this time, the first with my cousin George Eve and his wife Belinda who are meeting with us and taking us out to dinner midway when we’ll celebrate George’s 80th birthday. Then near the end, we’ll hook up with Mark and Debbie Rushworth to do a day’s walk together. Mark lived in Fort Collins at our house during his senior year at Poudre High School in 1976. This is a friendship that has weathered many years. His mom, Pat Rushworth, will join us at the end of the walk and we’ll all spend the night together in the village of Blakey.
Our destination is Robin Hood’s Bay and I’m hoping for a dip in the ocean. Could be a chilly one. It’s 92 degrees here right now, but from what I can gather, the temperature in our walking area is hovering around the 60s and no doubt there is a bit of moisture involved. It wouldn’t be the UK if there weren’t a few raindrops.
I love going back to this country where I was born and where I still feel as if I have roots even though I’ve been away from it for so long. Being there brings back memories I didn’t know were hiding away inside me—little phrases and thoughts that pop up unexpectedly.
It will take us 8 days to do the walk and during that whole time there will be nothing more to worry about than putting one foot in front of the other and enjoying the incredibly beautiful countryside, the intense greenery, the woolly sheep, the ancient ruins, the little stiles that separate one farmer’s field from another, and the stashes of drinks that people leave in a small box along the way with a note to leave a pound and wishing walkers a good trip.
We’ll carry lunches prepared by the B and B of the night before. We learned the hard way that there isn’t always a little village placed near the spot when it is time for lunch. And we’ll be sure to study the guidebook with care. This is not a single well-marked path and walkers need to make sure they stay on the straight and narrow. The days are long enough that no one is much interested in adding mileage.
If it is like last time, we’ll end up with several new friends we’ve met along the way. There’s nothing like hours of walking to allow for leisurely chatter the formation of friendships.
Be home in a couple of weeks.