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 further afield at Whitby too.
Back in the summer of 2013 I took a walk from Saltburn to Skinningrove (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 do it, 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 (If I happen to get my legs shot off by an angry landowner for trespassing, I will wheel myself the rest of the way…or get someone to carry me…it all depends if I can get any willing volunteers)
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 April 2017 I have walked 208 miles of the British coastline from Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland to Scarborough in North Yorkshire. I will document every step of the walk in this blog, so I hope you enjoy reading it.