+ Six days on Wainwright's Coast to Coast
+ Cross mountain passes in the Lake District
+ Guided walking with the option to carry on self-guided
Latest news September 2019
Please ask us about a trip. We are now taking bookings for our 2020 season. Thank you!
Walk the first week of the Coast to Coast path, completing the Lake District section. We walk a 6-day route as far as Kirkby Stephen on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.
After walking the coast from St Bees, we head inland to visit Honister, Borrowdale, Grasmere, Patterdale and more parts of the Lake District. Our last stage takes us out of the Lakes, crossing open moorland to Kirkby Stephen. Treat this as a self-contained trek at a hard level, or use it to start your Coast to Coast in a superb way: we would be delighted to book our self-guided Coast to Coast East as a continuation.
The walking is generally at the tougher end. The middle 4 days involve continuous climbs to Lakeland passes, then long descents on the far side. Underfoot, paths are often rough and rocky. Our first and last stages are more cross-country but involve varied terrain and longer distances still.
The group's accommodation is in a series of friendly guesthouses, B&Bs and inns. Every village is a new base for the evening. In our years of operating the Coast to Coast we have grown to know some sweet B&Bs and their owners.
CCWg Coast to Coast West (Guided)
5 May to 15 September 2019
Prices in GBP
|Scheduled guided trips|
|Private guided only||
|Private guided only|
|Private guided trips|
Here is our normal schedule of 6 stages:
Arrival day: Arrive in St Bees
Your trip starts on arriving in St Bees. Explore the village; stroll to the beach where the CTC starts. There are good pubs for a first dinner as a group.
Guesthouse in St Bees
Stage 1: St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge
Red3 grade, 24km with 570m ascent, 520m descent
Start the Coast to Coast on the beach! There is a highly scenic stretch along the cliffs. The route turns inland and threads a course along an old railway before climbing the small hill Dent (352m). With the Lake District ahead, complete this rolling stage into the village of Ennerdale Bridge.
Inn in Ennerdale Bridge
Stage 2: Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite
Red3 grade, 25km with 600m ascent, 605m descent
Walk the length of Ennerdale Water as a prelude to wild Ennerdale. The Black Sail hut (refreshments) is near the head of the valley. It's at this point that the CTC starts climbing, to reach Honister Pass. Paths are faint on the ground. Drop into Borrowdale, one of our favourite Lakeland valleys. We stay in the charming village of Rosthwaite.
Inn in Rosthwaite
Stage 3: Rosthwaite to Grasmere
Red3 grade, 12.5km with 585m ascent, 615m descent
The first of two short but steep stages links Borrowdale with the village of Grasmere. A steady climb brings the CTC to two grassy cols. Then it's a long rolling descent to Grasmere, farms and dry-stone walls appearing as we near the village. An option is the entertaining ridge walk to Helm Crag.
Guesthouse in Grasmere
Stage 4: Grasmere to Patterdale
Red3 grade, 13km with 590m ascent, 515m descent
Leaving Grasmere, climb steeply to Grisedale Hause where the large tarn of the same name sits in the col. Roll downhill towards Patterdale, another superb Lakeland valley descent. Options are given today to climb St Sunday Crag or Helvellyn on the way to Patterdale.
Guesthouse in Patterdale or Glenridding
Stage 5: Patterdale to Shap
Red3 grade, 26.5km with 920m ascent, 810m descent
Some of the highest walking of the CTC is over the High Street mountain range. The CTC's high-point of Kidsty Pike (792m) comes just before the long drop to Haweswater. We walk the length of this reservoir and beyond through fields to Shap.
Guesthouse in Shap
Stage 6: Shap to Kirkby Stephen
Red3 grade, 33km with 495m ascent, 585m descent
With the Lakes firmly behind you, enjoy this long, gentle stage across low moorland and through fields. On the way, detour to Orton for supplies. Arrive in bustling Kirkby Stephen, one of the largest villages on the route and boasting several pubs.
Guesthouse in Kirkby Stephen
Departure day: Depart from Kirkby Stephen
After a last breakfast take the train towards Leeds and then onto the main lines. Manchester, York or London are easily reached.
Our usual schedule of accommodation might not be available, especially if there is not much time between booking and your trip. We book accommodation as closely as possible to this itinerary and present a schedule for you to check before we proceed.
Let us deliver your bag to each stop on the Coast to Coast West. Each morning, the group leaves its bags with your host or at reception.
If you join us as a private group instead of joining our scheduled treks, then we can adjust your Coast to Coast West in various ways.
+ Faster treks like our 5-stage schedule, or...
+ Slower by making it 8 stages, breaking up the longer days
+ Stay in hostels at locations where these are available
+ Spend a rest day in Keswick which is off-route at Borrowdale
Please ask us to add a self-guided or guided Eastern continuation (Kirkby Stephen to Robin Hood's Bay) to complete your Coast to Coast. The guided CTC West makes a perfect introduction.
Of course, on a private trip you can come on the dates that suit you. Except for the composition of the group and the dates, everything else is the same as on our scheduled treks.
Our approach to the CTC West
Your route follows the Coast to Coast, as officially as the slightly relaxed nature of the route allows, as far as Kirkby Stephen. Set off from St Bees and reach the headland above cliffs before breaking away inland towards Ennerdale. Cross the centre of Lakeland, past the Black Sail hut into Borrowdale, then through Grasmere and across to Patterdale. Over the ridges of High Street reach Shap and some gentler ground. Pass Orton and later reach Kirkby Stephen in the valley.
The Coast to Coast involves a broad mix of England's walking terrain. Most miles are across relatively forgiving terrain such as field paths, tracks, rockier paths or country lanes. On the four Lakeland passes, terrain is rougher: either rockier or boggier. The path might not be visible on the ground for short stretches, meaning reliance on good navigation if the cloud is low.
How to get there
Your holiday starts in St Bees and ends in Kirkby Stephen. The train is best for both ends; St Bees is on the train line around the edge of Cumbria, terminating in Carlisle and Lancaster, while Kirkby Stephen is on the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle train line. If flying we suggest Manchester for both directions and to transfer by train.
Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We take care to give the most useful notes possible about all the travel options. We supply these both on booking and in your info pack, and we offer personalised tips at any point. The aim is that our trekkers arrange their travel by the simplest and most scenic means as suits their plan.
Key information Summer 2019
Trip name: Coast to Coast West
Dates Summer 2019
Scheduled trips 2019
Private trips 2019
Please join us any time in our season from
5 May to 15 September 2019
Scheduled trips: Starting 2 May 2020
Season: 3 May to 18 September 2020
Research Summer 2019
The Black Sail Hut (Photo gallery)
Alpine Exploratory's service
Find out more
Ready to book?
Our booking form to get things started: