Guided Coast to Coast Day 11


For most of the way today, the Coast to Coast joins the path of the Cleveland way. Consequently the path is well maintained and the sign posting is good. 

This is because the Cleveland Way is a national trail. This status comes with a pot of money to keep the thing in good order. 

The Coast to Coast is not a national trail and does not have any extra funding beyond each council or national park's normal spending on footpath maintenance. 

But the route is probably the most popular long distance walk in England with something like 10,000 walkers each year. So why doesn't it have national trail status?

The reason probably lies with Wainwright. 
"I am beginning to have second thoughts about "official" footpaths. I am not now at all sure they are wholly to be commended." He laments in his personal notes in the Coast to Coast guide. His objection was that official routes quickly become "a too popular parade" and "on some you don't need a map: just follow the trail of empty cans and orange peel."

Perhaps it is because of this stated distain for officialdom that the route avoids it's official status. Indeed, Wainwright was proud of sticking to existing footpaths and access land. Although unbeknownst to him he commited trespass many times. 

The route will remain without National Trail status for the foreseeable future. And maybe it's a good thing. To be truly following Wainwright's advice you should plan your own Coast to Coast route with maps crossing the UK wherever you fancy. 

"I want to encourage in others the ambition to devise with the aid of maps their own cross-country marathons and not be merely followers of other people's routes: there is no end to the possibilities for originality and initiative."

I offer guided walks and walking holidays in Northumberland, the Pennines, the Lake District, Scotland and further afield.

I'm always keen for outdoor adventures to help people learn the skills to explore! My particular focus is mountain skills such as navigating with a map and compass and wild camping for expeditions.

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