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Ashley Heeley's Coast to Coast Diary

My Coast to Coast Diary

Most of the diary (apart from the introduction and training bits, was completed at the end of each day on my blackberry and sent to a number of people whether they liked it or not. I have spruced it up a bit but it is mainly as it was done at the time. Normally, late at night and after a couple of beers so please excuse some of it. Most of the people mentioned have seen the diary and are OK to be mentioned. Any Coast to Coast walk is a personal journey and this is mine. I hope anyone who reads it enjoys it and helps in any small way those who may be planning to go and those who have done the journey will recognise many of the aspects mentioned.

Me and Dale paddling in the Irish Sea which was suprisingly warm. Some say it's the Gulf Stream but I think Selafield is close by!!!


The idea of completing Wainwright’s Coast to Coast has been talked about many times over many years between myself and 2 friends (Dale and Bruce) when we meet up for our occasional weekends away walking and putting the world to right (plus compiling endless lists on topics like Top 5 TV news presenters you would spend time with on a desert island). There was always something stopping us, like work, time off, money, family priorities etc but when we met up in the summer of 2005 we decided that 2006 would be the year and we would try and clear the necessary hurdles. Whether it was a mid-life thing or what I don’t know but we were determined to do what we could. I managed to get permission from the family on the proviso that a family holiday was not sacrificed (quite reasonable I thought), my employer was very supportive and said I could take the time off and the bonus was just about enough (or so I thought) to pay for it. Dale also managed to clear the obstacles but unfortunately Bruce couldn’t get the time off work so couldn’t join us. He did manage to join us for the stage from Patterdale to Shap and help make it a memorable day.

 Our target - the C2C sign at the Bay Hotel in Robin Hood's Bay

We thought that we would try and raise money for some charities to provide an extra incentive when the going got tough and use the opportunity of doing something worthwhile as well as for personal reasons. I chose Cancer Research UK and The Stroke Association for personal and family reasons. Dale chose his work charity (as they got him a nice website). I spent the intervening months bullying people to sponsor me. All being well I should raise about £1500 so if I do I will be dead chuffed. Not sure about Dale but if we can raise about £3000 between us I think we’ve done OK.

We decided to use the Sherpa Van service to transport our luggage as we were of a certain age and we didn’t fancy lugging all our gear. We’ll leave that to the young and keen. Also, the booking of accommodation is easier using the site and it proved to be an excellent service all round. We looked at a number of schedules and given our respective unfitness we decided on a 14 day trip with the lakes being broken up into bite sized chunks. We decided to break the first stage into 2 to make the getting to St. Bees easier (Dale lives just south of Oxford and would have to travel late after work on the Friday) and to ‘break us in’ to the walk. So we would get a lift from my wife Janine to St. Bees and set off early pm to Moor Row and then complete the trip to Ennerdale Bridge the next day. In light of events that would unfold this proved to be a very wise decision. With the itinerary booked in November 2005 we just had to sit back and wait for the off. Well, perhaps not as it was obvious to anyone who knew us that we were in a pretty sorry state fitness wise. Both of us of have office jobs, where we spend most of our time sat on our backsides and time available to ‘keep fit’ was very limited. Add to that our love of good beer, wine and food and I’m sure you get the picture. What Dale lacks in fitness he makes up with stubborn determination. I usually just take my time then fall over. So that brings us on to training.

Sponsorship Update

I would like to thank everyone who has sponsored me for completing the walk and managing to raise £1710 to be split between Cancer Research UK and The Stroke Association. The walk was done in memory of: Adrian Pugh, Carole Barker, Nigel Chester, John Tolley, Peter Price, and James William Price, friends and relative's who died from these illnesses.

I would like to thank in particular the Directors and employees of Barrett Steel Ltd, Cytec Industries UK Ltd, all my family and friends and the friends of friends who have been very generous.

Dale also managed to raise £1200 for his chosen charity.

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