England & Wales
August 2004
Our merry band at Whitby, on the shores of the North Sea, preparing for the Coast-to-Coast Walk, 130 miles to the Irish Sea. From left to right, Jackie, Dave, Shirley, and guide Julie.
The pier at Whitby. As we headed west from here, across the North York Moors, the weather deteriorated, and we had a couple of days of rain, showers, and heavy clouds. Tough hiking, but still enjoyable.
The view across the garden at Elaine's Tea Shop, in the Yorkshire Dales. Elaine's is the brainchild of the wife of a Yorkshire farmer, and is stuck on the back of an isolated farmhouse, surrounded by sheep, cows, and a bunch of kids. A lovely break from hiking.
Tea time for the hikers. From left, Jackie and Julie.
Tea time for the other hikers, Dave and Shirley.
Morning in the village of Reeth, in the Swaledale region of the Yorkshire Dales, seen from my hotel room.
The church on the green in Reeth.
The shops that line the green in Reeth.
A suspension footbridge across the Swale.
A typical Yorkshire Dales scene, with the village of Reeth in the distance.
Climbing up out of the Swaledale, over a bracken- and heather-covered ridge, into the Wensleydale.
Remember, Julie, "guide" is also a verb!
Bolton Castle, built in 1399, and still owned by the Bolton family.
A typical Dales scene - a stone farmhouse, sheep grazing in the field.
The Stone House Hotel between Hawes and Sedbusk, our last stop in the Dales, and our place for a rest day, the first non-hiking day after seven days of covering over ten miles a day, most of it with backpacks. Built as a private residence one hundred years ago, this place oozes charm, with a fire-warmed library for pre-dinner drinks, a billiard room, and a very congenial staff.
We've now left the Dales, and are heading into the Lake District. Having spent the night in an old hunting lodge on the shores of the Haweswater Reservoir, we began our day with a climb out of the valley.
Our route up to Kidsty Pike, the highest point on our trek. Hiking days in the Lake District, unlike those on the North York Moors or in the Yorkshire Dales, usually involved a 2000-foot ascent in the morning, followed by a 2000-foot descent in the afternoon.
The Lake District is named for the large lakes that lie in most of the valleys, but it's also dotted with high mountain lakes, known as tarns. It's also dotted with groups of hikers - a popular place.
On the descent from Kidsty Pike, we see Patterdale, lower left, and, on the opposite shore of the lake, our destination, Glenridding.
Our group gathers in front of our inn at Santon Bridge, preparing for our last day of hiking.
Emerging from the woods around Mulcaster Castle, we catch our first sight of the Irish Sea. After 12 days of hiking, and over 130 miles, there was a strong urge to break into a run at this point.
The ruins of the Roman baths at Ravenglass.
On the beach at Ravenglass, on the Irish Sea.
Having completed our hike, we were not eager to walk back to our inn at Santon Bridge, so we took the train, instead.
After seeing my hiking companions off at Manchester Airport, I picked up my glamorous Avis Vauxhall Corsa 1.2, and drove to the Pembrokeshire region of Wales, constantly fighting the urge to drift to the other side of the road. This is the harbor at Goodwick, where I spent the better part of the next week, with the hydrofoil ferry to Ireland just clearing the breakwater.
Castell Henllys, a reconstructed Celtic Iron Age hill fort, circa 600 B.C. There are dozens of such sites in the Welsh countryside.
Pentre Ifan, a neolithic burial mound, circa 3500 B.C. The capstone weighs over 16 tons, and is supported on only three points.
St. David's Cathedral, begun in 1181 A.D. Inside is the tomb of Edmund Tudor, father of King Henry VII.
Whitesands Bay, near St. David's.
So much better than a "Warning - Steep Cliffs" sign.
St. David's Head, sheltering a typical cove.
Cousin Leslie and his wife, Jean, on a hike near Strumble Head, whose lighthouse appears in the distance. Leslie and Jean live near London, but were spending some time in a holiday cottage in Goodwick, and graciously acted as my hosts and tour guides for my stay in Wales.
A sailboat off the Pembrokeshire coast.
A stretch of the Welsh coast, with gorse and heather in bloom. It was in this vicinity, in 1797, that the last attempted invasion of the British Isles took place. A motley French force consisting largely of ex-convicts landed, expecting to be greeted as liberators by the Welsh (sound familiar?). After two days of drunkenness and skirmishes with the locals, the French forces were rounded up, and later traded for British troops held by the French.