Don’t let the name fool you. Britain’s classic Coast to Coast Walk is anything but a casual stroll. Spanning 192 miles between St. Bees and Robin Hood’s Bay in Northern England, this route wastes no time before throwing travelers into the mountainous Lake District National Park. The next leg passes through historic Yorkshire, covering the hilly terrain near the Yorkshire Dales before finishing out in the natural beauty of the North York Moors National Park.
The Coast to Coast Walk recently took second place among the great hikes of the world, beating out other classics such as Everest and Mt Blanc. This makes it a must-do for Brits and tourists alike, but no traveler should undertake a trek like this without sufficient preparation. Here are some things that you can do to knock this walk off your bucket list in both safety and style.
Don’t Forget Your Water
No piece of gear is more important than a full water bottle. Dehydration can lead to other far more serious ailments, such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Victims of dehydration also become dizzy, which can be fatal on even mildly technical terrain.
While dehydration can easily be treated at well-equipped facilities, such treatment is usually not available out on the trail. The best option is to prevent any problem from coming up by bringing plenty of water. Three to four liters per day of walking is sufficient for the average hiker. Towns or other populated rest stops are ideal places to refill your supply and the route is dotted with them. Before setting out for the day make sure you have enough water to carry you to each stop along the way.
Do not drink stream or lake water that you run into on the hike unless you’re carrying proper gear to purify it. Drinking bad water is almost as bad as dehydration and can lead to serious illness.
Wear the Right Boots
A good hiking boot should help absorb a day’s worth of impact between your feet and the trail, provide good traction on rough terrain and most importantly, fit you just right. Boots that are too big will be awkward to walk in, causing more harm than good when you encounter a piece of technical hiking. However, boots that are too small present a much larger problem. Too much friction between the boot and your foot (often a result of ill fitting boots) can lead to painful blisters. Blisters are caused by heat, moisture and grit so in addition to appropriately sized boots, socks can play a big role in footcare. Don’t wear cotton socks, they trap heat and moisture, and every time you stop to rest make sure your boots and socks are grit and debris free.
If you don’t own a pair of solid hiking boots it’s essential to purchase a pair well in advance of your trek. Buy a boot with a sturdy, thick sole. When you try them on look for a pair that doesn’t chafe or result in pressure points.
You will have to break these boots in well before your coast to coast trip. You’ll do so through a series of shorter hikes–don’t attempt a long hike in new boots; (it is normal to develop some blisters during the process of breaking in your boots) the chances of blisters popping up will be reduced on shorter jaunts.
Don’t underestimate the Coast to Coast Walk. It may be more mild than famous mountaineering expeditions on the mainland such as Mt Blanc or the Matterhorn, but few hikers have much experience with this degree of sustained walking. Those who come unprepared will realize it pretty quickly once they start to run out of energy after the first day.
Avoiding this burnout is actually quite simple once you know what to do. As we mentioned above, drinking enough water is a crucial part of remaining active on the trail, but water alone will not sustain you. An assortment of tasty trail snacks such as nuts and dried fruit will be light, easy to eat on the go, and super energising.
For hikers who are looking for an extra boost to carry them without adding weight to their packs, we recommend a supplemental Myers Cocktail before leaving for the trip. The Myers Cocktail combines nutrients and vitamins in a high concentration–higher than can be taken orally. It can provide a boost of energy that’ll help you push through the Coast to Coast Walk. It contains a whole slew of B vitamins (B5, B Complex, B12 and B6), and Vitamin C, which helps to strengthen your immune system, in addition to a handful of other wonderful, nutrient rich vitamins. Nothing can shut a great hike down more quickly than getting sick on the trail.
The Coast to Coast Walk is an iconic hike that every Brit should do at least once. Since it’s incredible views are best enjoyed when you’re not burdened by problems that you could’ve avoided, follow these suggestions for one of the best trips of your life.