The Swift Walk
This swift walk across England is based on Wainwright’s original Coast to Coast itinerary. The demanding 303km hike takes in some tough high sections of the Lakeland fells, undulating dales and long flat moorland stretches.
If you’re looking to challenge your endurance or you’re limited for time, this adventure will maximise your enjoyment while minimising the days required to finish this inspiring journey.
The Coast to Coast Path includes stunning but demanding high routes across the Lake District fells, pleasant undulating hills in the Yorkshire Dales and long flat days through the beautifully barren North York Moors. With the advantage of enjoying pack-free walking, fit well-prepared hikers should find this iconic walk achievable while still being able to appreciate the spectacular and unique characteristics of remote rural England.
Get Ready For
- Complete Wainwright’s entire Coast to Coast path in 14-walking days
- Experience the iconic landscapes of England’s highest fells and moors
- Relish in the simple immeasurable pleasure of walking outdoors in nature
- Marvel at mysterious cairns, ancient stone circles and historic markers
- Enjoy a rest day wandering historic Richmond’s winding cobbled streets
- Overnight at the iconic 16th-century Lion Inn on the remote North York Moors
The Swift Walk
ARRIVE ST BEES
Arrive in St Bees and enjoy a stroll to the seaside to contemplate your upcoming adventure and choose the pebble you’ll carry with you to Robin Hood’s Bay.
WALK ST BEES TO ENNERDALE BRIDGE (22.5KM)
The Coast to Coast Path begins with a spectacular cliff-top walk from the stunning red sandstone of St Bees Head, past pretty Fleswick Bay and St Bees Lighthouse before finally turning inland towards Robin Hood’s Bay.
Follow quiet country lanes and fields past the villages of Sandwith, Moor Row and Cleator and your first challenging climb to Dent Fell. If the weather is clear you can savour the wonderful 360 degree views back over the coastline to the Isle of Man and Scottish coastline. Begin your descent downhill to the wonderfully named Nannycatch Beck and Ennerdale Bridge along with breathtaking glimpses of the incredible Lake District.
If you have time sit, relax and sample locally made ice-cream at ‘The Gather’ – the delightful community owned and run cafe, shop and creative space.
WALK ENNERDALE BRIDGE TO ROSTHWAITE (24KM)
Sometimes it’s hard to describe beauty – you just have to see it with your own eyes. Walking through the stunning Lake District is one of those times. You’ll also understand why Alfred Wainwright dedicated every single night for 13 years to writing his chronicle of guidebooks. As you walk with your guide along the beautiful shores of Ennerdale Water, notice the National Trust rehabilitation project ‘Wild Ennerdale’ dedicated to returning the area to its natural wilderness. Your guide will discuss various route paths but we recommend the route over Haystacks to Innominate Tarn, Wainwright’s favourite fell and final resting place. This is also a great place for your guide to discuss some basic navigation and information on how to keep safe on the fells, something we take seriously because sign-posting along the trail is quite poor.
WALK ROSTHWAITE TO PATTERDALE (28KM)
A tough day begins with an easy walk beside Stonethwaite Beck, which keeps you company until you begin your first soggy scramble up Greenup Gill. From the top there are stunning views back over Borrowdale and down towards Easdale valley where you have a choice of paths.
The easier and recommended path, especially for inclement weather, descends into the valley and follows the line of Easdale Gill with spectacular craggy mountain scenery all the way to Grasmere. After you leave Grasmere you’ll climb to Tongue Gill waterfall, which is perfect for picnicking and photo opportunities. After another short climb you’ll reach the head of Grisedale Tarn where you have the choice of three possible routes.
If the weather is fine the ridge walk along St Sunday Crag is highly recommended; some say it has the best views of the entire Coast to Coast. The most challenging route is to the summit of Helvellyn and Striding Edge – so called because of its precipitous drop. This option is not a RAW Travel recommended route. The official Coast to Coast Path, and best poor weather option is to continue down the Grisedale valley path into Patterdale and the shores of the beautiful Ullswater Lake.
WALK PATTERDALE TO SHAP (25KM)
Today the trail leaves the Lake District with a steady climb from Patterdale. There are lovely views back over Ullswater and the beautiful Lakeland mountains. You’ll pass pretty Angle Tarn as you climb steadily upwards towards Kidsty Pike, the highest point of the Coast to Coast at 780m. From here, begin your steep descent to the still shores of Haweswater, all the while looking for endangered shy red squirrels.
Pass the tiny village of Burnbanks where, just over the stile, there usually sits an ‘honesty box’ with chocolates and drinks for thirsty Coast to Coasters. The trail flattens and criss-crosses pretty becks and fields as it moves past the 12th-century Shap Abbey and the River Lowther before entering the village where you can pick up stores from the small supermarket.
WALK SHAP TO KIRKBY STEPHEN (34KM)
Enjoy the changes of scenery as the path embraces wide open moorland with big skies, limestone escarpments, lush pastures and scattered farmhouses. The limestone plateau east of Shap has yielded many archaeological finds with some dating back 2000 to 9000 years. Early on, the path is relatively flat and easy going except for a few small boggy bits which can be easily skirted.
The quaint village of Orton has many historical buildings and Kennedy’s Fine Chocolate shop is always welcome if you have a sweet tooth or need a chocolatey refreshment. The path follows easier gradients with glimpses of a prehistoric past through wild moorlands to enter one of the least populated areas of England. These now lonely places were once busy with human life and hold the dramatic remains of Victorian rail engineering.
You’ll pass by Sunbiggin Tarn with its resident birdlife before dropping into the Lune Valley and Smardale Bridge where you should look out for the ‘pillow mounds’ – prehistoric sites whose purpose remains unclear. After walking up Smardale Fell you descend to the welcome sight of the lovely market town of Kirkby Stephen.
KIRKBY STEPHEN TO KELD (21KM)
An eventful day crossing the beautiful Pennine Hill mountain range from county Cumbria into Yorkshire. At the summit you pass the mysterious 800-year-old Nine Standards, which for many are a highlight of the walk. The origins of these enormous cairns remain unknown; however, they do mark the invisible divide that dictates whether water flows west into the Irish Sea or east into the North Sea. Three seasonal walking routes have been introduced to help protect the delicate moorland biodiversity from thousands of walking boots. Unfortunately ‘delicate biodiversity’ also means peat bog, lots of it. It’s almost impossible to avoid, so strap on your gaiters if you have them, keep to the paths as much as possible and soak up the gorgeous Swaledale scenery on your downhill trek to Keld.
WALK KELD TO REETH (18.5KM)
Keld has many waterfalls and old stone barns and is now a tiny hill village but in the mid 19th century it was the heart of a thriving lead mining industry. Today’s walk passes through the remains and legacy of those boom times. You’ll notice the area littered with mining ruins and in some parts, the ground has been stripped away completely to leave a scarred and desolate landscape.
There is a choice of routes and in poor weather the lower level walk via Swaledale is a pretty alternative to the high route via the mines. There is also a good village pub in Gunnerside on this lower route and a well worthwhile 10-minute detour for morning tea at Muker. The walk finishes in Reeth with an excellent variety of pubs and tea shops to enjoy plus a fine village green to sit out and enjoy.
WALK REETH TO RICHMOND (17KM)
Today you’ll understand why the Yorkshire Dales is such a much-loved walking destination. After leaving Reeth, the River Swale meanders reassuringly beside you providing company as you stride out on wide easy pathways to Marrick Priory. This once Benedictine nunnery, now an outdoor education centre, was in use from 1140 to 1160 and is considered one of the best preserved in the UK. From here the path follows the Nun’s Steps through gorgeous woodland and lush farmland to charming Marske where wildflowers seem to peek from every village garden.
On your way to Richmond also note the changing geology as you pass by some of the limestone cliffs for which the Yorkshire Dales is famous.
REST DAY RICHMOND
Discover Richmond’s winding streets, cobbled market place and Norman castle. Read a book, relax with a massage or shop for artisan gifts and local produce such as cheese, honey and fudge at ‘The Station’, the town’s former railway station. There’s also ‘The Noted Pie Shop’ in the market square, which comes highly recommended by the Coast to Coast team at RAW Travel and the British Pie Association – don’t miss it!
WALK RICHMOND TO INGLEBY CROSS (36KM)
The River Swale is your companion again as you leave Richmond for the flat agricultural fields of the Vale of Mowbray. There’s a pretty church at Bolton-on-Swale where you can buy refreshments.
Walk along quiet country lanes and fertile pastured fields to the lowest point of the trail at Danby Wiske where the Cleveland hills beckon in the distance. From tiny Danby Wiske enjoy a relaxing pace while absorbing the sights and sounds of rural England before treating yourself to coffee and cake at the Joiners Shop Cafe in the idyllic village of Ingleby Arncliffe.
WALK INGLEBY CROSS TO BLAKEY RIDGE (34KM)
You may find today’s section the toughest as the Coast to Coast Path climbs steadily through Arncliffe Wood to the stunning expanses of the North York Moors.
If you’re walking in late summer you’ll be treated to a beautiful carpet of purple heather. Watch out for shy grouse who live among the moorland. There’s a long ascent to Live Moor and Carlton Bank but the scenery is so lovely you’ll barely notice. Break your journey at the delightful Lord Stones Café, a local landmark specialising in locally sourced produce. After a succession of hilly climbs take in the wonderful views back over the Pennines and before you to the North Sea.
Begin your steep descent to Kirby Bank before climbing again to the giant Wain Stones with views to Roseberry Topping. Emerge at last from the rollercoaster of hills to follow the former Rosedale ironstone railway through the heathland wilderness to High Blakey Moor and the much-awaited Lion Inn.
WALK BLAKEY RIDGE TO GROSMONT (22KM)
From high on Blakey Ridge take in the surrounds as you stroll down the Esk Valley past the medieval stone markers of Young Ralph and Fat Betty.
There are numerous myths and legends around Fat Betty including that the cross marks the place where two nuns from nearby Rosedale Abbey lost their lives on the misty moors. As you head towards Glaisdale Moor and the village of Egton Bridge and Grosmont, the wide unenclosed vista inspires you to stride out with an unbound sense of freedom and adventure.
WALK GROSMONT to ROBIN HOOD’S BAY (25KM)
One of the best last days of any walk! Before you begin your climb out of Grosmont look out for steam trains at the vibrant village station. You can catch glimpses of Whitby Abbey in the distance.
If your steps start getting slower as you move towards Robin Hood’s Bay, we completely understand – you won’t want this special walk to end. There’s so much to enjoy on your final walking day, including captivating moorlands and pretty Little Beck Woods.
Enjoy morning tea or lunch at the delightful Falling Foss Tea Gardens before, finally, meeting the North Sea and stunning cliff-top views as you walk the last few kilometres and head straight to Robin Hood’s Bay and Wainwright’s Bar to celebrate your achievement.
What you get
- One full day walking the Lake District fells with your own private mountain guide.
- Hassle-free hiking with exclusive use of RAW Travel’s specifically designed Coast to Coast navigational hiking App.
- 14 nights’ accommodation in character-filled warm country inns and B&Bs – hand-selected by our team.
- Fresh fruits, yoghurts, cereals or a big hearty English breakfast to support your day on the trail.
- Pack-free walking with daily luggage transfers to your accommodation (20kg per person).
- Local 24/7 UK support from RAW Travel staff.
- Comprehensive information pack with full Coast to Coast guidebook and map booklet.
- Pre-trip consultation with our specialist Coast to Coast team who all know and love the trail.
- Single supplement $700 extra
- Travel insurance
All you need to know about walking Wainwright’s iconic Coast to Coast path across Northern England. Inspiration, travel essentials, practical information, and more!
The iconic Coast to Coast walk in the UK passes through glorious English scenery in three of the country’s best National Parks; the Lake District National Park, Yorkshire Dales National Park and North York Moors National Park. En route you’ll walk through the best of northern England with countless small villages, majestic views and warm, welcoming pubs to break your journey. Ready to take a walk on the wild side?
Coast to Coast
Coast to Coast
Dales and Moors – Coast to Coast
- Walk quiet pathways of England’s most-loved national parks
- Discover the fascinating and mysterious Nine Standards Rigg
- Eat fresh local produce and sample regional ales and ciders
- Explore the almost 1000-year-old Richmond Castle
Coast to Coast
Lakeland Ramble – Coast to Coast
- Relax and enjoy cosy B&Bs and pubs along the route
- Wander through charming lakeland villages
- Absorb the remote wilderness of the Lake District
- Listen for cuckoos in the Borrowdale valley
Coast to Coast
The Guided Trip – Coast to Coast
- Fully guided and pack-free with our qualified mountain guide
- Ramble through Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- Be charmed by quintessential English villages and pubs
- Rolling hills, pastures and the world’s most charming sheep
Coast to Coast
The Self-Guided Trip – Coast to Coast
- Traverse northern England on Wainwright’s famous walk
- Discover dramatic lakeland panoramas
- Meander three of England’s most beautiful national parks
- Be charmed by quintessential English villages and pubs
Coast to Coast
The Slow Walk – Coast to Coast
- Take your time, enjoy life in the slow lane
- Reconnect with nature, yourself or your walking buddy
- Enjoy the warmth of your character-filled accommodation
- Be captivated by woodlands, meadows and mountain views
TRIP date selection
when would you like to travel?
Please select your preferred dates for on-demand trips or select a scheduled date for group departures. If you have booked a self-guided trip please understand that because your trip date is on demand and we must check availability of all properties on your chosen dates before it can be fully confirmed