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Deborah and Gwen's
Coast to Coast Diary
In 2005 I had cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats with our son Tom, then 15, so I had some experience of planning a long distance linear route. I had also perfected the art of packing light so after ruthlessly reducing Mums pack we decided not to use a baggage transfer service. After our second day of blistering heat we changed our minds, but more of that later.
I did use the Sherpa Van website to find suitable accommodation and found the walkers feedback invaluable. Every one of our overnight stops proved to be exactly as described in the feedback. I want to say a big thank you to everyone who posted comments on the website.
Back in April I booked the accommodation as far as Keld but soon our enthusiasm got the better of us and I had booked the whole trip my mid-May. We had hoped to make more use of the youth hostels on route but as our start date was in the last week of term most of them were fully booked with school residential holidays.
Mum already had the elusive Ordnance Survey strip maps 33 and 34; she had received them as a gift years ago. I felt the need for a guidebook and sent off for the newly revised Cicerone Guide by Terry Marsh. I considered ripping out the last third of the guide as it described the route from East to West but couldn’t bring myself to such violence so resigned myself to the extra weight.
As the summer approached Mum took a short walking holiday with Dad in Scotland and I walked once a week with a group in Sheffield. I treated myself to a new rucksack, a Berghaus Freeflow II 35 + 8. I think Mel thought I was mad as we already had several rucksacks in our gear room, all of them good but none offered the same ventilation as the Berghaus. It turned out to be a prudent choice, considering the weather we were about to encounter.
In the weeks running up to us setting off I discovered the walkers chat forums on the Sherpa website and enjoyed reading many accounts and picked up some useful tips. It felt we had made friends with fellow C2Cers even before our walk had begun – Thanks to you all.
The final week was very hectic for me. As you can imagine there is a lot for a wife and mother to organise before she leaves her brood. We also had a big family party to attend on the Saturday night and I had a wedding to photograph all day on the Sunday. Needless to say I didn’t get to bed until gone 2 a.m. and we were up early on the Monday morning ready to leave Sheffield as soon as the kids got off to school – PHEW!
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