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back to Book Reviews

Coast to Coast – the Wainwright Route
by Sandra Bardwell
ISBN 978-1-898481-34-8
Published by Rucksack Readers

Coast to Coast - the Wainwright RouteThe Coast to Coast walk is Britain’s best known long-distance walk and has been voted the second best long-distance walk in the world! Whilst Wainwright’s original guide will never be bettered, this new publication by Wainwright Society member Sandra Bardwell is, as Bill Mitchell cites in his introduction, ‘The type of publication that Wainwright himself would have appreciated … a credit to the author and publisher.’

The main features of this new guidebook are the fact that all the pages are waterproof (especially useful in the Lake District) and it contains 28 pages of full-colour maps on a scale of 1:50 000. In addition, there are 115 full-colour photographs and altitude profiles for each of the 15 sections of the walk. This division gives an average of twelve miles’ walking per day and enables the entire route to be walked in just over a fortnight which would mean that the walker could both start and finish on a Saturday. The first section to Ennerdale Bridge is short enough to be walked in an afternoon if travelling to St Bees on the morning of the first day. The book is divided into four sections: planning and preparation, background, daily stages and a reference section at the end, with sub-divisions in the first three of these. Of these planning and preparation is particularly useful.

The section is 14 pages long and topics covered include accommodation and facilities (which is set out in a very good table showing all the villages along the route with mileage from the previous place, eating facilities, shops, campsites, hotels/ hostels, toilets and cash machines), waymarking along the route, anticipated times for each section, elevation and pace, pre-journey preparation and fitness, travel planning and shuttle services, safety, the weather and, finally, a checklist of equipment required for the walk. There are also fascinating sections in the book on the geology, history and wildlife encountered en route.

It is nearly forty years ago since AW devised the Coast to Coast walk, since when there have been a considerable number of guide books riding on the success of his book, but I feel this new publication brings a modern approach to the route.

reviewed by John Burland - Member No. 2