Between 1952 and 1966, Alfred Wainwright compiled a series of Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells. He was 45 when this project began, but in many ways his real work was just getting started. He would go on to co-create eight best-selling books of photographs and text highlighting the beauty of the area, and would have a hand in no fewer than three popular television series on BBC2.
Alfred Wainwright would also devise the Coast to Coast Way, at nearly two hundred miles long, this route begins in St Bees in Cumbria and traverses the country, ending in Yorkshire’s well-loved Robin Hood’s Bay. Wainwright only published the route in 1973, but in just over four decades it has become globally famous. One of the world’s best-loved walks, it’s even been named the second-best walk in the world following an expert poll in 2004.
Lovers of the route include not only the Wainwright Society but also everyone here at Coast to Coast Packhorse. In his original guide to the walk, Wainwright presented it split into twelve sections, each of which could be completed in one day. He described this as an ideal two-week walking holiday, including a couple of rest days. But even then, there were suggestions of other ways to enjoy the walk. As he noted, if the route were split into 10-12 mile sections per day, you would instead have a three-week holiday suitable for those who wanted to take it comparatively easy.