Dent, the first fell
One of the many beautiful, detailed drawings by A. Wainwright in the small guide book to the Coast to Coast walk.
Here the route from Cleator to the first real fell to be tackled ... Dent, for us dutch a staggering 377 m (1131 ft) high!.

St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge - 23 km (14¼ m)

The walk begins with an ascent and traverse of St. Bees Head, a 5 km long promontory with cliffs falling 100 m or 300 ft into the Irish Sea. On a clear day, the Lakeland Fells can be seen to the east and the Island of Man to the west. The route leads past Moor Row and Cleator to Dent, a for us Dutch staggering 377 m or 1131 ft high fell. The path descends steeply into Uldale, alongside Raven Crag, Flat Fell and the (artificial) Kinniside Stone Circle to Ennerdale Bridge.

Trying to get some coffee
The first fell on the route deserves some extra time. It is the summer of 1990,
on the left Thomas and me (Thomas) on the right trying to get some coffee.

Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite - 23.5 km (14½ m)

This section begins with a walk along the shores of Ennerdale Water, the most westerly of the Lakes, to Ennerdale Forest. A climb over Honister is dominated by the magnificent mountain scenery of Pillar and Great Gable (983 m or 2949 ft). The path leads downhill with a view of Buttermere and Crummock Water to Honister Quarry. An alternative route leading from Gillerthwaite over High Stile rejoins the main route at Honister Quarry. The climb involved in this detour being rewarded by the spectacular scenery, not an easy one with a backpack! The path descends via an old toll road to Burrowdale and Seatoller and follows the valley to Rosthwaite.

Rosthwaite to Grasmere - 15.5 km (9½ m)

From Rosthwaite the path leads to the secluded side valley of Stonethwaite, dominated by Eagle Crag and then climbs to the head of Far Easedale from where there is a choice of routes to Grasmere. The main path descends into Far Easedale and follows the road into Grasmere village. The alternative route follows the ridge on the north side of Easedale via Calf Crag and passing the strangely shaped rocks known as the Lion, the Lamb and the Howitzer. This diversion is only suitable in fine weather. The main route is re-joined on the road into Grasmere, home of the famous poet Worthsworth.

Looking back to Pillar and Ennerdale Water
above - Looking back to Pillar and Ennerdale Water.
below - Thomas standing on Greenup Edge wandering which route to take into Grasmere, Far Easedale lies ahead.

Up on Greenup Edge
Looking into Far Easedale
above - Looking into Far Easedale with Calf Crag on the left hand side.

Grasmere to Patterdale - 13 km (8 m)

Leaving Grasmere the route leads around Great Tongue where Helvellyn appears ahead and Grisdale Tarn below. At the outlet of the tarn three routes diverge and a choice has to be made. The main route passes between Helvellyn and St. Sunday Crag and descends into Patterdale. An alternative for the supremely fit is over Helvellyn, 1039 m (3118 ft), and includes a traverse of the notorious Striding Edge. The third route leads over St. Sunday Crag, less strenuous then Helvellyn but with magnificent views of Ullswater. The two alternatives are fair weather alternatives, walkers with backpacks are advised to stick to the main route. Walkers doing it the lazy way should take Striding Edge!

Striding Edge
Striding Edge seen from Helvellyn during a ramble in 1995.

Patterdale to Shap - 25.5 km (16 m)

From Patterdale the path rises steadily to Angle Tarn and High Street, the highest roman road in the country linking Ambleside and Brougham. The road is followed to Kidsty Pike, the highest point of the main walk and descends to Haweswater. The walk continues along the west side of Haweswater, not a pretty lake but a water reservoir. After passing the dam at the head of the lake the route diverts across country to Shap Abbey, dating back to 1191, and finally to Shap. Don’t miss the camp site in the garden of the pub. This is the ultimate way of camping!