Coast to Coast 2020

Map on the evening of 16 November

Update – 17 November (Day 8)

Reggie’s travels are over at least so far as the Coast to Coast is concerned and we have been hugely entertained by his antics. We all love Reggie!

But he cannot be allowed to detract from the stupendous performance of the three highly competitive teams who crossed the line today and arrived to cool their feet on the beach at Robin Hood Bay. If there need be a winner I think that has to go to Good Morning Vicar (Charlie and Caroline Barratt) who had only to complete 18 miles today and therefore must notionally have been first across the line given there were no ‘night riders’ as on the last Challenge.

But for sheer obduracy and determination to get there on the same day an award has to go to the Lethal Lethams (Penny and Susie) walking 43 miles today and the Recce Troop (Tom and the LOs) 32 miles. Penny even had time to read and share with us (and Reggie) TS Eliot’s Little Gidding, which rather alarmingly for most of us refers to ‘the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started’ and where she says she has left her car! While Ed Lloyd Owen was engaged in the battle with Covid 9 (as a frontline worker rather than a sufferer) his dad Chrissy stood in for him supporting Tom who got lost in Shouldham Warren and by the time he found his way out he had done 22 miles!

As for the rest of us the Anglo Australian team the Nuns and Escargatoire are battling it out with 31 and 33 miles to go respectively. Tum and Jaw are nearing the A19 which on past experience is a frightening road to cross with a pack on your back.

 Grouped together a little further back are GinGin (aka ‘Mine’s a double’) who have appeared from nowhere at the back of the pack in to a competitive position; the Dorset Dashers who are constantly complaining about the comparative topography and their beautiful daughters Sister Act 2 who are running pretty much neck and neck. The Leprachaustrians seemed to have lost the Irish element and if the Dorset Dashers have reason to comment on inclines then let them sort that out with Erika! The Wombles are a little erratic and quite capable of stealing what is left of the show if Willoughby can persuade his Dad to take him in to the office.

Still with a little way to go but approaching the half-way mark and presumably enjoying the scenery as well as some of them having to do day jobs are the others. Banbury Cross reported being squashed by a theological tome he was extracting from the top library shelf while standing on the third rung of his ladder, looking for a text he had obviously not used for some time. The Wandsworth Wanderers are surveying every park inside the M25. The Cuckoos remain in character and therefore incognito. The Dilke Dynamos are walking in the dark. Hex and Baz who asked me to lay this on originally are just taking their time and striving to make sure the reporter remains active for a long time to come. OveryAction maintain a low but steady profile and the Animated Amblers need Reggie to come and rescue them!

Happy Walking everyone and well done to the Vicars, the Lethal Lethams and the Recce Troop. We will miss them!

Update – 13 November

Last evening Good Morning Vicar now leading the Challenge arrived in Keld in the northern section of the Yorkshire Dales. Keld represents the approximate half-way marker along Wainwrights Way and is also on the junction with the Pennine Way running North South. I am reliably informed that the Vicar does not have compass and is therefore highly susceptible to map reading errors. True to form they do spend a lot of their time in churches and so it is expected they should know their East from the West but it remains to be seen therefore whether they know North from their Nouth and they leave Keld in the right direction.

Foolishly (or may be not) they got ahead of the two former cavalry officers representing the Recce Troop. If however you read your Times yesterday you will seen a report on how the aide de camp of the Chief of General Staff and the highly decorated former leader of special forces gave the wrong grid reference to his helicopter pilot and  ensured he landed in the wrong half of Salisbury Plain much to the consternation of the welcoming party and the huge amusement of the rest of the army. Cavalry officers are often also not the best of map readers…a fact to which I know some of our current participants can attest!

Not far behind the two leaders are the Lethal Lethams. The reason we believe they are doing so exceptionally well is that they are trying to keep up with  Reggie who towards the end of the day is still fit enough to test the most angelic of temperaments. They have also spared the time to share with us the most wonderful photographs of Herefordshire and the Broadlands in Norfolk.

In the chasing pack we have an Anglo Australian sister combination ‘the Nuns’ spurred on by the fact that the Vicar is in front and the Bishop (Banbury Cross) is behind them. Who catches who first is something we will be keeping a close eye on. The famous Willoughby of buggy fame from the first challenge is driving his mum and dad along at pace with the Snails (Escargatoire) on their tail. Once again and consistent with previous form Escargatoire are either posing in front of stately  homes  or spending their time on the coast, a worrying aspect since they are supposed to be crossing the Pennines. 

Moving at a steadier but regular pace are Tum and Jaw, the Dorset Dashers (last time’s first across the line) Sister Act 2 and the Cuckoo Team. They are nearing the end of the Lake District section and will probably being crossing the M6 today. Memories of Tum and Jaw’s last visit to Wainwrights Way have caused them to take this part of the route more cautiously. Walking in 2008 in an extremely powerful easterly gale and approaching the summit of one of the passes, Tum was in the process of advising Jaw a featherweight even with a backpack   to crawl over it for fear of being blown off her feet when a body of another hiker flew through the air and over the brow in the opposite and landed beside them.

The ‘Cool Gang’ at the back consists of the remaining seven teams who are taking their time to enjoy the beauty of the Lake District; two of them are nursing their ‘to-be -born’s  and others are posting  some more wonderful photographs of Wandsworth Common admirably contrasting  those of the Austrian Alps in startling autumnal sunshine! Banbury Cross has also risen early to catch Castle Acre in the early morning mist.

Everyone paused appropriately to reflect and remember at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day and Nigel, a Dorset Dasher, shared with us a great Yorkshire poem to remind us why. Penny, a Lethal Letham, posted a poignant photograph of red berries on a birch and Ed L O of the Recce troop walked to almost every memorial site from Westminster to Greenwich.

There has been considerable debate as to whether we observe the Sabbath. Tom Bagge has been busy collecting volumes of Jehovah Witnesses scriptures in order to research the topic. The Bishop has offered more authoritative guidance and in the interests of ensuring that we retain some solidity as a group the Steward is considering options. Watch this space!

Meantime Safe Walking and let’s hope the weather remains kind to us.

Update – 8 November

Here we go again. In the interests of sanity and general good health I have been persuaded to run another virtual challenge. Last time we went for Lands End to John O’Groats in teams of eight. This time in teams of two we take on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast from St Bees Head in Cumbria to Robin Hoods Bay on the North Yorkshire coast

Mustering on the start line in preparation for departure on Monday morning are the following ‘runners and riders’..

  • The Dorset Dashers captained by last time’s ‘first across the line’ Nigel Hadden Paton now teamed up with his wife Bumble
  • Winners on the fundraising side last time out Escargatoire (aka Snails) with Michael Gurney and Martin Forsyth
  • Walking now instead of biking The Animated Amblers with Lucy Petrie and her son Gus
  • Tom Bagge has teamed up with celebrated walker (Cyprus to UK) Edward Lloyd Owen (son of the Steward) who have yet to decide upon the name of their team

Welcoming the new recruits to the challenge we have

  • The Cuckoo team,: Richard and Sarah Jewson
  • ‘Good Morning Vicar’: Charlie and Caroline Barratt
  • Overyaction..from Burnham Overy Staithe thus the name: Justin and Emma Dowley
  • The Norfolk Hens; Penny Middleditch and various other chicks with whom she will be variously walking
  • The Wandsworth Wanderers.. John and Katie Suffield representing London and who tell me they have already started …one for the Steward?

Back to some old timers

  • Sister Act 2 ..Alice Van Cutsem and Polly Williamson ..the H-P sisters
  • Baz and Hex.. more H-Ps fresh from Broadway Harry and Bex (with child due in March!)
  • The Dilke Dynamos  with George and Tocky F-D (also with child due in March!)
  • Also representing London, Annis and Will Richmond participating with last time hero son Willoughby in his buggy as the Wombles of Wimbledon
  • And finally the home team Tum and Jaw

Possible late entrants

  • Erika Mott from Lermoos in Austria with an as yet to be chosen partner who will be climbing mountains rather than the little hills you encounter in Dorset
  • Bishop Jonny Meyrick whom I ambushed at today’s Remembrance Sunday service in Kings Lynn but has not had time to commit since he has been changing the wheel on his wife Rebecca’s motor, a task made no easier attired in a cassock and mitre!

See you all on the start line tomorrow morning, assuming John Suffield you have not already left (??).

Wishing them all well and safe walking….


Background – 3 November

Walking4Norfolk Lockdown Challenge Part 2

Since we can do nothing else and in order to keep us sane and motivated, find yourself a partner and walk!

We walked South to North Lands End to John O Groats in May. Now we are going to West to East

 ‘Coast to Coast’:   St Bees Head to Robin Hood Bay – the great Wainwright walk

180 miles (90 miles each)

Start Date: Monday 9th November

In return for a voluntary contribution to Walking4Norfolk’s funds for Carers. W4N will ‘fire the starting gun’ and map your progress against other teams on a daily basis and declare a winner.

You and your partner do not have to be co-located. All you have to do is to send in whatever aggregated total mileage you have done as a pair in the last 24 hours. Walking around the house does not count!

You may choose to do a regular 6 miles each a day which will get you to Robin Hood Bay in 15 days. You can do less and take longer. You might wait for fine days and do a series of longer walks.

Posting photographs, stories and songs all helps the atmosphere.

Raise sponsorship for your own charity if you wish but that is not obligatory

Contributions for signing up can be made on the Donate button top right as usual!

There is quite a bit of work involved and so larger 2 figure sums or even smaller 3 figure sums per entry would be very welcome but don’t let the size of contribution put you off. Participation is what counts.