The top questions answered about Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk. Camping tips and tricks explained for the 192-mile hike across England.
Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk, Camping Q&As
1) How fit do I need to be to camp on the C2C?
Can you walk between 10 to 20 miles a day with a whopping pack on your back, typically weighing between 12-16 kilos for 14 days straight?
Yes? Read on.
No? Go to questions 12 or 17.
2) How good do my navigational skills need to be?
Strong, unless you can pair up with someone else whose map reading is better. The Lake District is the trickiest part, it’s mountainous, it’s unmarked after Ennerdale Bridge and it’s prone to having mist coming in on you with no warning. Yey! It’s much easier once you’re out of the Lakes as there are no looming hills to encounter, but mist can roll in any time on the moors (however, the tracks are much easier to follow).
You might also want to use the OS Maps app, check out my review here.
Not up to the Coast to Coast walk, camping along the route yet?
Go to question 13.
3) What are the camping facilities like on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk?
They vary from muddy fields with no facilities other than a loo and drinking water to being upgraded from a pitch for your tent to a super-duper caravan for £1.50 extra per person at Orchard Caravan and Camping Park in Reeth. Midges aren’t an additional extra, they come as standard in Keld and anywhere they can find water. Three cheers for midge head nets and deet!
Not British? You might want to read my humorous guide to hiking just like a local.
4) Can I stock up on camping supplies on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk?
You won’t be able to buy camping supplies (gas, head torches etc) until you reach Grasmere, on day three in the Cotswold Outdoor Outlet shop. So it’s best to bring everything you need. You can stock up later in Kirkby Stephen and Richmond, Yorkshire, on the Coast to Coast walk. Camping shops are in each of these three towns.
5) Is there a shop on the Coast to Coast walk in every overnight destination?
No, not everywhere. There is no shop in:
- Ennerdale Bridge (you can buy things in the very basic store in Cleator during the day);
- Keld (but there’s a pub where you can eat);
- Blakely (Red Lion Inn) or anywhere on the route that day – stock up in the service station just before Ingleby Arncliffe the day before and eat at the Red Lion Inn – it serves fabulous roast dinners!
6) How long does it take to complete the Coast to Coast walk, camping?
I met guys who completed this in 10 and 11 days. That would be a test for the absolute fittest! I did it in 14 days, could have condensed it into 13 but there was no real need to, I had the time.
7) Can I wild camp on the Coast to Coast walk?
It’s not legal in England, but the whole point of lugging a tent with you is so you can pitch anywhere, and of course, low accommodation costs. Just make sure if you choose to wild camp to leave the place as you found it and pitch away from prying eyes.
*Wild camping tips: Walk on the Wild Side.*
8) Is camping on the Coast to Coast walk safe for solo women?
If you can read a map / use a compass and are built like an ox to carry your gear, then yes, this route is perfectly safe for single women. All the locals I met were extremely friendly and polite and other walkers will look out for you if they see you by yourself. Just be careful of injury. Best thing to do is to be on the trail by 8am to 8.30am each day, that way you’re bound to meet other walkers if you feel that you need the company.
9) When’s best to go on the Coast to Coast walk, camping the whole way?
May through to September. Even the first week of October would work if you get an Indian summer.
10) What are the best guide books / maps to take?
The hands down winner is the Coast to Coast Walk A-Z Adventurer. It is a water resistant booklet of Ordnance Survey maps, 1:25,000 scale, of the entire route. Wainwright’s A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition is also a good companion but don’t rely on the latter alone – use maps!
11) Is it safe to do the high routes with an enormous backpack?
Yes and no. The high route I’d avoid would be Helvellyn; with a big pack on, you’re simply asking to fall off Striding Edge. The rest of the high routes are down to your fitness levels. Day two has amazing views in clear weather (photo above) but it was a long day doing the route via High Stile. Would I do it again? Yes, I’d just try and coax someone else to carry my bag!
12) What other options are there other than camping on the C2C?
You can be super organised and pre-book all your accommodation in advance (most people seem to do this months in advance). You then have two options:
- Carry all your gear yourself each day.
- Get a company like Sherpa Van or Packhorse to move your luggage for you between accommodation points, but you’ll still be doing the walk unguided.
13) What camping food should I pack on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast?
I recommend having 2-3 days’ worth of food as you won’t come to shops every day. I never buy those stupidly overpriced camping meals at £5 a packet. Instead go for porridge or maltloaf for brekkie, cereal bars and nuts to snack on, wraps with salami and brie for lunch and super noodles or couscous at night. Carry two litres of water and top up as you go. And when you reach a pub, devour the food there!
14) What kit would you recommend?
15) Can you recommend a tent for camping on the Coast to Coast?
I finished a solo 3,500-mile hike through Britain in May 2018 and have a review of my three-season tent (MSR Hubba NX) here. Check the comments below for cheaper options.
16) And boots?
I used the Scarpa Delta GTX (review here) for my mammoth hike through Britain, although I did the C2C in Mammuts.
17) I’ve changed my mind. Can I do the Coast to Coast walk from the comfort of an armchair?
You most certainly can! Check out Julia Bradbury’s Coast to Coast DVD.
Photo taken in Shetland on my mammoth hike through Britain.