Our group crosses a stream on Wainwright's Coast to Coast walk | John Millen
When planning your walking holiday along Wainwright's Coast to Coast, the first choice you'll probably face is whether to join a group or to go self guided.
You've come to the right spot! Read on for the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions when planning for a Coast to Coast guided walk.
What is it like to do a guided walk? Who will be my guide? And how do picnic lunches work?
Q1 | What is the Coast to Coast Guided walk like?
Without mentioning the stunning beauty of three of England’s national parks that you’ll be walking through (the Coast to Coast is one of the most popular trails in the whole of the UK), there is something about walking it in the company of a small group and the achievement of walking across England with a group of like-minded travellers.
The laughs during the trip, the global friendships that are made, and the fact of knowing there’s always a helping hand on a difficult bit are unique to guided walking.
Our guides walk a steady pace on this challenging trek, have a lot of knowledge of the route, and make sure the entire group happily gets to the next destination in the course of the afternoon.
And probably one of the aspects you’ll love the most is, whilst you enjoy a holiday of a lifetime, you don’t need to worry about anything during the trip, organising & leading it is our job ... And it’s a job we do well.
Q2 | What will the group size be?
Our guided Coast to Coast walking holidays are led by experienced leaders in small, international groups. Group sizes will vary from 6 to 12 walkers, which is the ideal group size for social interaction, the safety of the group and just right for some of the small villages we stay in.
You’ll also enjoy the company of an expert guide who is with you from the evening of Day 1 in St Bees until the time your trip concludes when you dip your toes in the water at Robin Hood’s Bay.
Q3 | Who will lead the Coast to Coast holidays?
One of our highly trained and experienced walking guides will look after you during your Coast to Coast walk. Each of our carefully selected and licensed guides bring a personal aspect to the trip. They have experience in mountain/expedition guiding, adventuring and all things outdoors. Through their enthusiasm and knowledge you’ll get a very good insight in the flora, fauna and history of northern England. Your guide is on hand to ensure your holiday runs smoothly.
Q4 | How do you lead the trip?
Most of our guides have walked the Coast to Coast well over 20 times and so can do it blindfolded. They can therefore focus on the group and tailor the trip to the group’s interests.
On the first night in St Bees we head to a local pub for a welcome briefing. It’s a chance to meet your fellow travellers in a relaxed setting, talk about our expectations, and for our guide to make sure everyone’s gear is in order.
When on the trip, usually at our lunch stop when everyone is together, our guide will brief you for the next day. There’ll be moments that you’ll be walking a bit further away from each other to then regroup for sections where route finding is complicated. The Coast to Coast trail isn’t a very well way marked route, so one of the main responsibilities of our leaders is to make sure everyone sticks to the path.
Q5 | I’ve heard about picnic lunches, how do they work?
Generally speaking it is not possible to stop at cafes or supermarkets along the route and you’ll therefore enjoy picnic lunches on most of the days. You have the option to buy these at a local corner shop or café before you start walking for the day. The other option you have is asking your guesthouse to prepare a packed lunch for you.
You’ll then carry your lunch, along with your water (appr. 2L) and perhaps a thermos flask with coffee or tea, with you. Most accommodation have coffee and tea making facilities, so we always advice to bring a thermos flask.
Q6 | Can I get water along the way?
It is hard to get water when you’re walking the Coast to Coast trail. There could be a friendly local farmer to approach in extreme situations, but on most days you should sufficiently fill up your bottles in the morning to get you through the day.
Although it may seem crystal clear, drinking water from a local stream isn’t a very good idea because of the agriculture in the area.
Q7 | What does a typical day on the Coast to Coast look like?
Breakfast will usually be at 8am for a departure at 9am. The lodges and guesthouses that we stay at serve big breakfasts that will give you a good base for the day.
We then usually have a morning break at around 11am for a thermos coffee or tea before making some good miles again. Depending on whether there are suitable places available, we’ll have a picnic lunch or we’ll stop in a local establishment. There’ll be an afternoon break before we arrive at our next destination usually not much later than 3pm. There are five days though on which we arrive between 5-6pm.
In the evening you’re free to choose where you would like to have dinner or join your guide to a local restaurant or English pub. On one or two evenings, the options will be limited, so we usually book a table for the entire group.
Q8 | Will all walkers be on the same level?
The Coast to Coast guided walks are graded 5, challenging, and involve up to 9 hours of walking a day. The terrain is mostly mountainous and there can be steep ascents and descents and boggy sections. So, all walkers in your group should be prepared with an excellent level of fitness, can easily carry a daypack weighing up to 8kg, and are comfortable in adverse weather conditions.
On our guided trips, we walk a reasonable pace of around 4km/hr on the easier sections and around 3km/hr on the harder sections. This allows ample time for sightseeing, enjoying the scenery and listening to your guide’s stories. All walkers who join our guided walks are required to fill in a medical and fitness questionnaire before travel.
Q9 | What happens if I injure myself?
Our leaders are first aid trained and carry a reasonable First Aid kit with them. What exactly happens when you injure yourself, all depends on the type of injury. For example, whether you can continue on safely or not. If need be, our guide can contact the mountain rescue, but this rarely happens.
As travel insurance is compulsory on our trips, you will be covered for unforeseen circumstances, which hopefully won’t arise!
Q10 | What gear should I bring?
- Good sturdy footwear with ankle support
- Walking poles are recommended and many people bring them
And in your daypack we advice you to bring:
- A fleece or other warm clothing
- Lightweight sunglasses or sunhats
As it can sometimes be cold on higher sections, even on warm days, a fleece in your backpack will be useful. Remember that you’ll cool down quite quickly during breaks and the highest point we get to on the trip is around 820m.
We provide you with a Pre-Departure document, which will help you prepare and also includes a full equipment list to tick off.
Walking in an organised group not your thing?
For those that like to travel with their own private group, our team has a lot of experience organising tailored departures. Such a trip will meet your group’s exact wishes, whether you’re a family, charity, group of friends or walking club. Just contact us to discuss your needs.
Self Guided options
Prefer self guided walking holidays? There's a whole range of options to choose from on our Coast to Coast routes, from the entire length to sections and everything between 15-18 days.