The idea of doing a walk around the coastline of Britain wasn’t an instant one. I didn’t decide one day to go the nearest beach and go “Right this is it. I will now walk the entire coastline of Britain just for the sh*ts and giggles!”. No, rather it has been an idea that has been developing over a number of years, possibly from every time I’ve visited the coast and taking a little walk along the beach. Living in the Teesside area (I know how unfortunate!) I have pretty easy access to the coast, living only about 6 or 7 miles from it as the crow flies. I have spent many a day on the Costa del Teesside visiting the local coastal towns of Redcar, Saltburn and Seaton Carew and also further afield at Whitby in North Yorkshire too.
Back in the summer of 2013 I took a walk from Saltburn to Skinningrove on the Teesside coast (see Coastwalk #1) and having really enjoyed it, I decided to keep doing the North East coastline in no particular order. Usually depending on time, mood and practicality I would do one part of the coastline on one walk and then on another walk do another part of the coast. I would use public transport to travel to where I needed to be, complete a stretch of the coast, and then come back home, all in the space of one day.
However, whilst walking part of the Northumberland coast in 2015 I found it took longer to travel to and from the walk then it took to do the actual walk itself (plus because I was walking too fast to try and get the return bus on time I found my fat thighs were chafing and I ended up walking like John Wayne – not a pretty sight!). From then on, I have started to stay overnight in places along the coast so that I can walk further, enjoy the walk, and not worry about excessive chafing and trying to catch the last bus home.
I think with staying overnight in places and walking further and further along the coast, it has sort of come to my mind to see how far I can get round the coastline of the UK. I may go all the way, I may give up in a couple of years, but I will try and see where it leads me to (probably the madhouse).
I should point out that I won’t do the coastwalk in one go as I work full-time and have to earn money to pay for B&Bs and the like (unless I win the lottery, in which case I will do the coastwalk in one go and stay at 5 star hotels while I’m at it). I should also point out that I probably won’t walk the coastline in one direction all the time. Depending on time and practicality I may do one stretch of the coast one time and then complete another stretch of the coast in completely the opposite direction another time.
I have also made a few rules to keep some consistency whilst doing the walk:-
1. I will walk as close to the coast as I can, as long as it’s safe and practical to do so and I’m not trespassing on anyone’s land (mainly because I don’t want to get shot by any angry landowners).
2. There will be no gaps in the journey – I will walk every step of the way (except when I get a ferry because I can’t be bothered to walk to the next crossing point). I have already broken this rule twice – getting a bus to do the journey if it was too dangerous to walk along roads.
3. I will cross any rivers I come across by the nearest safe crossing point, be it bridge, ferry or ford (but definitely no swimming across).
4. If I can reach an island by foot from the mainland I will do so (as long as time permits)
5. There may be other rules I make up as the Coastwalk continues which will probably contradict the four rules above.
So that’s a bit of an introduction to the Coastwalk. As of October 2019 I have completed 62 walks, having walked approximately 735 miles of the British coastline from Portmahomack in the Highlands to Bridlington in East Yorkshire. I will document every step of the walk in this blog, so I hope you enjoy reading it (or even if you just look at the pictures that would be great!)