‘We may have been the first to do it this year’ – Three York men tackle a deserted Coast to Coast lockdown walk
It started as an idea to help relieve the stress and boredom of the recent lockdown and to raise funds for a charity close to their hearts.
However these three men from York didn’t expect the Coast to Coast walk to be quite so challenging and to be all alone on what is usually a pretty well trodden tourist path.
There was also the issue of very sore feet and bad knees, but they didn’t let that stop the trek which took nearly ten days from the Cumbrian Coast to Robin Hood’s Bay.
Taking part were Oliver Webb and his two friends, Liam Ledgeway and Craig Shardlow.
Oliver told YorkMix: “We’ve been coming up with ideas for things to do in the UK during the current stage of restrictions due to Covid and we all really wanted to do the Coast to Coast walk.
“Obviously, it’s quite a big thing to trek right across England. We also thought it would be great to raise a bit of money for charity as well.
“Sadly Craig’s grandfather was very poorly last year and finally lost his fight with Parkinson’s Disease, so that was the charity that we chose to support.
So, we asked, how did it go?
Well the three friends found it a lot harder than they thought and because the route is still basically emerging from Lockdown there wasn’t a lot that was open and no fellow walkers to chat to.
Oliver explained: “We were inspired by watching YouTube videos as we like to go out and do walks in and go on camping experiences.
“I don’t think it comes across how difficult the walk actually is when you get on it and you do it every day.
“There are certainly some very stunning parts of the walk, it’s amazing when you’re up on the mountains. But it certainly is very, very difficult indeed.
“The other thing about the walk is that you are constantly thinking oh we are nearly there and then you realise just how much there is to go. In the Lake District you think brilliant, we are at the top of the hill and then you discover, No, that’s not the summit, that’s up there!
“It’s just relentless to be honest and lonely, actually, we didn’t see any other walkers at all. We were totally alone. Lots of the B&Bs and hotels that would usually service walkers were closed still too.
“Even the pubs with beer gardens were shut! So we set up camp each night, having a wash here and there in streams and rivers.
“Villagers we were speaking to said that they’re not seen anyone else doing it this year. So I think we might have been the first group to do it.”
Finally after crossing various rivers, railways, the M6, the A1 and the North York Moors they arrived on the Yorkshire Coast at Robin Hood’s Bay, Nine and a half days later.
“We thought it might be quite emotional and yes we did all feel elation on finishing. I think it’s funny how you don’t remember the pain and you only remember the good parts. I don’t really remember much after 3pm that day to be honest.
Dodgy Knees and Sore Feet
Oliver says they did suffer a bit on the journey.
“My knee really struggled, I mean, we all suffered in different ways, but I personally had some pretty bad blisters too. I kept them sort of covered during the whole walk.
“So they weren’t causing me too much pain but my knee was quite bad because actually going down the hills is much worse on your knees and your body than going up the hills. So there was a lot of going down as much as it was going up.
“Liam suffered really badly with his shins and managed to get quite a bad injury on one of his left one. But he powered through, I don’t know how he did it but he did.
“To be honest, if I was in as much pain as Liam was, I think I would have given up three or four days before the end but he just kept walking through it and made it.
“Craig was absolutely fine. Like he just been for a walk to the shops to be honest. But then he goes to the gym the most out of all of us. “