2016 Progress

October 2016

Today is the day the clocks have moved back into winter time. For the last few years this has typically marked the end of my coast walking “season”. This year is no exception. The bits of coast I have not yet walked are all now far from home. The short days and the time taken to get somewhere mean that I really need a longer visit to get some good miles done and the weather tends to be less pleasant for coastal walking in the winter.

So (as of yesterday) I’ve done my last (new) coastal walk for 2016, which was from Carlisle to Gretna Green, so it was nice to finish my walks for this year with a border crossing. Though I could have done without the 2 hour 14 minute delay (!) to my train home which meant it was nearly 1:30am by the time I got home (thanks for that, Virgin Trains).

IMG_3017

Though I have not walked the coast in order which means I still have plenty of miles to cover. So, as a few people have asked me which bits I have and have not walk, here are the sections of coast that I have walked.

England

  • From the Welsh border (near Chepstow) continually anti-clockwise around the coast as far as Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
  • From Withernsea (also in the East Riding of Yorkshire) up the east coast of England to the Scottish border.
  • From the border with Wales near Chester as far north as far as Nethertown in Cumbria (to save you looking it up, it’s a bit south of St Bees). I was actually aiming for St Bees but time for my train ran short so I ended up finishing one stop south at Nethertown.
  • From Glasson (also in Cumbria) to the Scottish border near Gretna

This means the only stretches of coastline I have in England to walk are between Nethertown and Glasson on the west coast and Hull to Withernsea on the east coast. Two long weekends next year should see me complete the coast of England!

Wales

  • From the English border near Chepstow as far as St Justinian’s (near St Davids) in Pembrokeshire
  • From Aberystwyth to Aberdovey on the west coast
  • From Nefyn to the English border near Chester

This means I still have most of the west coast of Wales to complete (other than a small stretch near the centre) but have walked the north and south coasts (including Angelsey).

Scotland

  • From the English border near Berwick-upon-Tweed to Helmsdale (a little under 50 miles from John O’Groats)
  • From the English border at Gretna to Gretna Green station (only a mle or so)

This means I have nearly completed the east coast, but I have the north and west coasts still to walk (the west coast in particularly is very long, and much of it remote).

Northern Ireland

Haven’t decided whether to include Northern Ireland or not yet, but I’ve not walked any of it yet.

Island Crown Dependencies

Stretching things a bit here, but I have also walked the coast lines of all the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

I’m looking forward to resuming my coast walks next year but it probably won’t be until around March time now.

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5 Responses to 2016 Progress

  1. owdjockey says:

    Hi Jon, Thanks for that update. When you first started did you have the intention of walking around the whole coastline? Or like me did you just do disparate walks then decide some time later to go for it?
    Earlier this I met a fellow coastal walker between Knott End and Glasson dock, who had adopted a similar eclectic approach, his name was Tony, perhaps Tony France.
    Scotland is a tough one from the south of England, particularly by public transport, as you use 2 days getting to and fro. I drive and am reasonably close to the M6, and generally leave home in the very early hours, which means walking on the same day.
    Off tomorrow to do Ravenglass to Millom and a very early start as I want to catch low tide at the Esk viaduct.
    cheers for now
    Alan

    • jcombe says:

      Hello Alan,

      Thanks for your comment! No I first started by walking some stretches of the coast. After a while I just decided later to go for it, as you did.

      What I’ve been doing for my last few trips to Scotland is flying up (first to Aberdeen), now to Inverness. If you get an early flight there and a late flight back it means you can basically make those into full day walks.

      For my last trip (to Inverness) I travelled up on the 07:40 (I think it was) flight from Luton (unfortunately) to Inverness and back at around 21:30 5 days later. You can get some very good deals from Easyjet who I flew with (they also fly to Inverness from Gatwick, but the timings were not so good). For this trip I managed to get the return flights *and* 5 days car hire for £119 (all booked through Easyjet.com) which I thought was a bargain. This gives the best of both in that I don’t waste so much time getting up there whilst still have the flexibility of a car. I always take the minimum insurance for the car and decline any extras (as these easily double the cost). I then take out “Insurance Excess Insurance” seperately. This costs around £2-3 a day and they pay out the full excess you were charged should you be charged the (usually in the region of £1000) excess for any damage they find to the car, though so far, I have never had to claim on it. So as long as the credit limit on your credit card covers the excess this seems to work well.

      Previously I have done the same but flying to Aberdeen (either with BA from heathrow or Flybe from London City), but it is a bit more expensive from Aberdeen (but there is more choice of flights).

      Having said this, this strategy too will break down when I get to the far north of Scotland as I think there will be some walks where the only realistic possibility is either to wild camp or walk there and back again (which means of course you only cover half as much of the coast in a walk, unless you can find a more direct route back inland).

      Hope you enjoy the Ravenglass to Millom walk. I did though I’m afraid I wimped out of trying to ford the river and just walked around via Muncaster Castle (though I still managed to get lost in the castle grounds). Though the previous day I had walked the coast round to Haverigg, so that today I could walk the roads from Millom back to Haverigg to cut down the mileage a bit (as it’s a long walk).

  2. owdjockey says:

    Hi Jon, thanks for the info re:using flights. I will look at this again when I get over to the east coast. I think you are right re: wild camping, which I did a bit of while doing the Munros & Corbetts. Might have to get a lighter tent though. cheers for now Alan

  3. Can’t believe you’ve nearly finished the coast of England! Looks like you have the best bits of Wales to come. And I’m trying NOT to think about the west coast of Scotland, but my husband retires next year, and I’m slowly persuading him a camper van is a good idea. Thought I’d done my last walk of the year too, but decided to go up to Cumbria next weekend as weather still looks reasonable. Do you do much walking locally over winter to keep yourself fit, Jon? I find it hard and lose fitness very quickly.

    • jcombe says:

      Enjoy your next trip to Cumbria, I think you may overtake me on the west coast then! I can see from the map there are sections of the new “England Coast Path” now open further north in Cumbria which should make for easier walking. I hope the weather is kind to you – so far this autumn it has been pretty good.

      Yes I do continue to do plenty of walking during the winter (though not as much as I do in the summer), trying to follow more local long distance trails – I did the High Weald Landscape trail in Sussex last year over the winter for example. Though I don’t cover so many miles partly because of the shorter days and partly because everywhere gets so muddy. So I lose a bit of fitness, but not too much.

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