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Report 800: England in Slow Motion: 190 Miles on the Coast-to-Coast Walk

By Kaydee from Tennessee, USA, Summer 2004

Trip Description: We've become a family who walks. Not just a family who walks around a big city instead of taking the subway. We've become a family who walks 10, 15, even 20 miles to get from a hotel in one place to the next. We've become a family who walks over mountains, across streams, who walks in pouring rain, fog and glorious sunshine. We've become a family who loves walking. This is the story of our ultimate walking trip, our walk across England from west to east on a route called the Coast-to-Coast walk.

Destinations: Countries - United Kingdom; Regions/Cities - Lakes District, North Country

Categories: Hostel; Hotels/B&Bs; Walking/Hiking; Independent Travel; 3-4 people; Adults and Young Children

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Page 1 of 22: Why We Walk

photo by George Hotel owner

A family who loves to walk (Day 7 on the C2C in Orton)

We've become a family who walks on our European vacations. Not just a family who walks around a big city instead of taking the subway or who strolls in a pretty park. We've become a family who walks for days in other countries, who walks ten, fifteen, even twenty miles to get from a hotel in one place to our night's lodging in the next place. We've become a family who walks over mountains and across streams, who walks in pouring rain, fog and glorious sunshine. We've become a family who truly loves walking.

This is the story of our ultimate walking trip-- our walk across England from west to east on a route called the Coast-to-Coast walk. Most of this report was actually written each night during the course of the walk. Although we had done a few short family hikes here in America, we first got interested in "real" walking during a trip to England in 1999. We spent a few days in the Cotswolds and our hotel had some information about nearby walking paths. We did two of the shorter walks and enjoyed the experience of manuveuring through kissing gates and being in the fields among the sheep. We found that hiking in England was much different than hiking in America. In England, we were walking near civilization, from village to village, right through people's farms and by their houses, past the pub. In America the hikes we did were usually out in the woods somewhere, in some kind of state or national park... more of a pure encounter with nature.

I realized that there is an extensive network of connected and well-marked walking paths all over England and also major trails that cover large distances. My husband Charley and I decided that this was an activity that potentially appealed to us, and we began to talk about an actual "walking holiday" (British term!) in the Cotswolds.

In 2002, when our daughter Kelly was eight, we returned to England and completed a 55-mile circular walk in the Northern Cotswolds. We found that we really enjoyed this different approach to travel and the opportunity to intensely and slowly experience a region. We also found that we enjoyed the physical challenges of this type of vacation. The following year we did a 50+ mile walk in the Alsace region of France, along the Vosges Mountains and the Route de Vin.

When we began to plan our fourteen month “Grand Tour of Europe,” Charley and I decided we wanted to include one or two long distance walks-- ideally longer walks we would not be able to do on a typical one or two-week vacation from work. We had read about the 190-mile Coast-to-Coast walk across England and decided this would be a great way to conclude the first part of our long trip, an 11-week stay in Great Britain. We didn’t tell Kelly for some time that she would be walking 190 miles across England!

We also planned to end our long trip with another long walk-- a 100 mile walk in the Swiss Alps. But that's another story!

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