Coast to Coast Walk - St. Bees to Robin Hoods Bay
In Memory of Joan Browning - Raising Funds for St. Luke's Hospice

When I was at St. Bees Head I wrote a text about my Nan and St. Luke's Hospice. It was a bit sentimental and when I tried to send, it wouldn't send and I lost it completely. I could hear my Nan saying “I dont want any of that!” so I took the hint and began writing the updates in the way in which I have. When I reached Ness Point, I was very emotional too and was unable to send a text again. I sat there until a butterfly flew across my face and I knew it was time to move on. I know my Nan is very proud of what I've done, very grateful to St. Luke's and very thankful for all the kind donations so that she has somehow 'paid her way'. 

My journey had a beautiful ending... when I had my picture taken in Robin Hoods Bay (with the banner outside the pub and with the Coast to Coast sign) I got an impromptu cheer and a round of applause from everyone there. Some people even sponsored me! There’s much kindness in this world :-) x

Update: Sunday 11th August, 2013

Dear All, Have begun the walk and left St. Bees beach at about 5.30pm. Headed around the coastal peninsular, and reached St. Bees head shortly afterwards. As I looked out to sea the sunshine was glistening off of the water and the Isle of Man was silhouetted by beams of light (breaking through the distant clouds) on the horizon. It was an exquisite sight and that point felt like the true beginning of the walk. Have headed inland since and have walked around 7 miles this evening. Have made camp, had dinner and now bedded down for the night. In a nice wild spot, just off of the path and surrounded by long grass. Could see the mountains of the lakes laid out before me as I walked. Should be in the midst of them by early tomorrow! Lots of love, Lee x

Update: Monday 12th August, 2013
Dear All, Woke up this morning to grey skies and the sound of Elvis playing in my head. I think I know who the DJ is and at least my Nan (Joan) has chosen an Elvis song I actually like - Dont say dont. Has been playing in my head, as I walk, and I haven't got bored of it... yet! Reached the Lake District and assailed my first summit (Long Barrow) to behold a stunning view of the mountains ahead and the coastline behind. Continued on, through the up and lowlands, and had lunch in a gorgeous little glen, sitting on a wooden footbridge with my feet dangling in the ice cold mountain stream below - but not for long! Stopped for a cheeky beer (at Ennerdale Bridge) before going on to walk along the shoreline of Ennerdale Water. It was a magnificent sight and, halfway along, the path rose up and I sat there for over an hour just taking in the view. Am staying at a beautiful youth hostel I found tonight. Lots of love, Lee x

Update: Tuesday 13th August, 2013

Dear All, Left the hostel today to the accompaniment of a Japanese family walking along the path while playing a guitar (well!). That was a nice start and I continued along the valley. The sun was shining brightly and enhancing all of the shades of green, grey and brown colours of the Ennerdale Fell that surrounded me. I reached the end of the fell and started to climb up 'Grey Knotts' via a mountain stream come waterfall - both challenging and exciting! The views from the top were so beautifully majestic I can hardly put it into words. Continued on, down towards Stonethwaite, encountering wonderful woodlands and crystal clear rivers whose stone beds sparkled with multi-colour. Went on to climb Greenup Edge and am now camped under a half-moon by a stream near its summit. The scene is amazing and seems to resemble the top of a (green grassed) volcano. I feel very lucky to be here. Lots of love, Lee x

Update: Wednesday 14th August, 2013

Dear All, After packing up I immediately had a steep climb to the top of the cragg. The clouds began to envelope me and it was quite mysterious walking across the top. As I came down the other side the sun came out and the views along Easedale Gill were stunning - with a dramatic ridge of craggs up on one side of the valley and a small river dropping down the middle leading the way to fields in the distance. Got to Grasmere at lunchtime and holed up in a pub for the afternoon as the weather turned for the worse. Decided to leave (at about 6) and headed off, in the drizzle, up Griesdale passing a beautiful waterfall as the cloud and fog closed in to obscure it. At the top walked by a mountain lake (a tarn) lying calmly and serenely in the cool misty air. Walking down the air cleared revealing a beautiful valley of 'Teletubbyland' like glory! Made camp by a sheltered woodland. Lots of love, Lee x

Update: Thursday 15th August, 2013

Dear All, Had just finished breakfast when the drizzle started to fall again “Oh no, not as i'm just about to pack up!” I thought...and then a few seconds later a perfect rainbow appeared (right before me in the valley), about 200 yards long and 100 high. It lasted for about 30 seconds, before disappearing, and within seconds the rain did too. It was beautiful, thanks Nan :-). Continued and begun the longest and most challenging section of the walk to Shap. Climbed up to Angle Pike and had a wonderful lunch overlooking its tarn. Headed on to the Knott peak as the cloud, wind and rain set in. It was difficult to navigate, but I eventually made it through to Kirstyhowes as horizontal rain stung the side of my face! It was amazing! Made it down (and along Haweswater) to sadly say goodbye to the Lake District - totally soaked through! Found an old stone bus shelter and camped out there. Lots of love, Lee x

Update: Friday 16th August, 2013

Dear All, It’s my birthday today and I woke up (on the bus shelter bench) to blue skies and beautiful sunshine. Found the Coast to Coast path and continued to follow it, though dry stone walled fields and across wide shallow rivers lined with small groves and dotted with trees, as the mountains of the lakes faded into the distance behind me. Arrived in Shap at lunchtime and decided to take a couple of days off and start again on Sunday. The birthday card I got from my Nan was very special and I was quite emotional as I opened it. It had a picture of a mountain by a lake and a gate to fields with dry stone walls, and had the words 'everywhere is in walking distance if you have the time'. I started this journey thinking that I was doing it in memory of my Nan and in aid of St. Lukes, but as I've walked I've realised that I'm actually doing it for my Nan for St. Lukes. That’s how it feels now. Lots of love, Lee x

Update: Sunday 18th August, 2013

Dear All, Set off from Shap at around 3.30pm and soon crossed the noisy M6, by a footbridge, to gain my last views of the Lake District. Headed into open country and a distinct change in terrain and scenery. Before me lay moorish rolling hills, covered in brown and lilac heather, with wide sunken valleys of green fields and indiscriminately doted trees. The sun shone down on the Dales and they were breathtaking to behold! I walked across the wind swept moors and found my way to Orton, whereupon I stopped in the Inn for a couple of beers. As the evening set in, I left the village via a lane - and had flashes of the scene from An American Werewolf in London! - as I left the lane to head into the countryside once more. Came to an ancient stone circle and made camp as the sun set behind the distant hills, casting shades of red, pink, yellow and orange across the horizon. Wonderful! Lots of love, Lee x

Update: Monday 19th August, 2013

Dear All, woke up by the stones with an amazing panoramic view of moorland hills on three of my horizons and a high crag immediately to my North. Enjoyed my last moments there and set off along the upland crags, while still taking in the glorious views of the moor covered hills around me. Missed a path and walked a few miles the wrong way, but bumped into a couple of ladies who were going to Kirkby Stephen and offered to take me there. Seeing as I’d run out of water (and had done the mileage anyhow!) I accepted, and after tea in the garden of one lady, was dropped off! Had a beer, replenished my water supply and headed for Keld crossing the picturesque River Eden at Franks Bridge. Began walking up Hartley Fell and saw nine stones at the peak of the hill. Followed the path for a few miles (magnificent views) and arrived at the top at 9.45pm! Made camp in a stonewalled wind shelter. Lots of love, Lee x

Update: Tuesday 20th August, 2013

Dear All, Finished breakfast, at the top of Nine Standards, as the cloud rolled in reducing visibility considerably and making it feel quite isolated. Found the trig point and then headed due South (for a bit!) and then due East (for a couple of miles across an open moor) looking for a stream with a path adjacent to it. Found the stream, but no path, and so followed the stony water course as it meandered along the small ravine it had created in the moor. Found the path and walked out of Whitsundale, stopping for a cream tea at Ravenseat Farm! Followed the beautiful path from there to Keld, along the River Swale, and passed the lovely Wain Wath Force (river waterfall like a weir). Had a beer in Keld and continued with sheep farms on either side of the valley, and woods and meadows hugging the twisting river bank. Enjoyed the evening sunshine and made camp by Gunnerside Bridge. Lots of love, Lee x

Update: Wednesday 21st August, 2013

Dear All, Woke to an overcast morning, by the lovely River Swale, and set off just as light drizzle set in. Walked through the picturesque village of Gunnersdale (with its stone built houses) and continued along the valley up to the wonderfully quaint and timeless Reeth, sitting on a plateau surrounded by the dales. Had lunch (in the sun) there then ventured on through absolutely perfect 'Heartbeat' country, passing through pastures and fields while viewing the beautifully lilac heather covered hill tops. Hiked through the lovely little villages of Marrick and Marske (so small that they have neither a pub or a shop!) to enter onto the exceptionally beautiful trail towards Richmond, going by the River Swale and up Whitcliff Scar which was covered with wonderfully deep green woodland with rock peaking out. Made camp under a splendid oak tree with magnificent views of the river valley below. Lots of love, Lee x

Update: Thursday 22nd August, 2013

Dear All, Awoke to beautiful sunshine, lighting up the valleys colours in all of its shades of wondrous green. My milk had gone sour and so decided to have a full breakfast in Richmond. Headed off and the path then went through woodland coming out to the same wondrous views of the Swale between its two scars. It was magical walking down into Richmond and upon encountering its market place I was enchanted by how much of its medieval charm it still retains. Had a lovely breakfast in the market hall cafe (and was even sponsored by its kind owner!) then headed off into the vale and its flat agricultural countryside of hedgerows and fields, filled with wheat, barley and cows! Made a lot of ground and reached the pub at Danbywiske at about 6.30pm. Had a few beers and seeing as they did camping too... camped there! Lots of love, Lee x

Update: Friday 23rd August, 2013

Dear All, Woke in the pubs garden and headed off towards Ingleby Cross, down lanes and through fields of the same flat agricultural landscape which (after all previously) appeared to be quite mundane - and what a testament to this beautiful little country that lovely countryside can be viewed as mundane! After passing through Ingleby the path immediately went up hill, and through pine forest, affording beautiful views (of the English patchwork of fields and hedgerows) from the vale of which I had just traversed. Sat for a while then continued to encounter my first sight of the wonderful North York Moor, with its dark green and lilac covered heathland, before descending to the village of Swainby for supplies. A storm ensued upon the moors and the village shop keeper advised that there was a ruined castle that I could take shelter in. Found Whorltor Castle and made camp there. Lots of love, Lee x

Update: Saturday 24th August, 2013

Dear All, Arose from my sleep in the derelict shell of the castle keep grateful for the shelter it had given me from the strong winds and thankful that my tent had stood up to the intense rain of the nights thunder storm. Whortor Castle had been a bit of a haven for me, but apparently it is meant to be one of the most haunted castles in England and was even the subject for an episode of the programme 'Most Haunted'! There was certainly a presence there, but whatever it was it appeared to be happy with me being there to... I think my Nan must have had a word! Packed and went on to climb to the top of the fantastic North York Moor (once more) following its edge while descending and assailing its cairns. Beautiful heather reached for as far as the eye could see one way and a patchwork of fields the other. Eventually headed inward and followed the long path to the Lion Inn and camped. Lots of love, Lee x

Update: Sunday 25th August, 2013

Dear All, As I got up, the mist covered the moors and the wind blew its moisture across the Inns camping ground, not allowing the spectacular views that would usually be on offer. Headed off from Blakey Moor, and then across Danby Moor, as the sun began to break through (in patches). Gradually the mist disappeared to reveal the glory of the moor, with its high flat plains and green dales below with their tributary becks. Came down off the moor, at Glaisedale, to meet the River Esk and followed the path by it through the wonderful Arncliff Wood which was full of beautiful ferns and silver birch. Walked through the quaint riverside village at Egton Bridge, had a pint and continued onto Grosmont (where steam engines still run from the fantastic Victorian Railway Station!) to meet my Dad and gain a lift back to the delightful moors pub which is the Lion Inn. Camped there again. Lots of love, Lee x

Update: Monday 26th August, 2013

Dear All, Woke up to the most exceptional morning sunshine, with blue skies stretching across the North York moors. Had a lift to Grosmont, from my dad, and dropped off a lovely American lady (who sponsored me!) en-route. Climbed a steep lane to Black Brow and crossed the moor before entering the stunning Little Beck Wood, which followed a beck through a gorge that (with all of its indigenous ferns) felt almost prehistoric in its origin. The beautifully ancient woodland ambience continued and I was then greeted by the magnificent Foss Falls. Had a tea there and was sponsored by a kind family I sat with! Left the woods and crossed my last moor, with the sea and the ruins of Whitby Abbey on my horizon. Followed the lanes to the coastal path and was welcomed by the calmest deep blue sea, set below a perfect light blue sky. I sat by Ness Point and then walked into Robin Hoods Bay. Lots of love, Lee x

Coast to Coast Walk - Support Your Local Hospice

You cant always get what you want, You cant always get what you want, You cant always get what you want, But if you try sometimes, 

You just might find, You get what you need...

Picture this: I'm walking down the steep lane into Robin Hoods Bay, after hiking the 190 miles from St. Bees, and it's a beautiful August bank holiday Monday. The sky is blue, the clouds are sparse and the sun is shining. As I pass the picturesque stone houses and shops, lining the lane leading down to the sea, I can hear a song playing in the distance and the music is getting louder the closer I get to the end of my journey. Someone's singing a song. I reach the end of the lane and the scene is amazing. There are people all over the place. Every bench, wall and curb stone is occupied by people happily enjoying themselves sitting having an ice-cream, drinking beer or eating fish and chips, and there's this busker geezer banging out one of the coolest tunes ever written.

I pass, then walk down the slip-way towards the beach, take my backpack-off, followed by my shoes and socks, and just as I'm dipping my toes in one of the calmest deep blue seas I have ever seen, I hear the busker sing the line... "You cant always get what you want, you cant always get what you want, you cant always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find... you get what you need!"

Is there a better line ever written? Gandhi might have something to say about that... but I think Jagger did ok! Was it just a magical moment? Was it just a co-incidence? Or was it a message from my Nan? Whatever it was it was certainly the lesson I've found hardest to learn in life.

Lesson learnt... Thanks Nan. I love you x