#coasttocoastrun What I carried and plans for doing it again

I have been asked about the equipment I was carrying on my coast to coast run. Not exactly coast to coast if I only got as far as Grasmere, though I like the idea of continuing it sometime. Next time I want to get the pack smaller and lighter but it would not be easy if I still want to carry camping gear.

First day was good going, the second day I could feel it in my legs from the previous day and the third day I felt I had got into my stride, the pack was sitting right and my legs were not feeling tired. I was getting used to it. This is me on arrival in Grasmere.

So here are some details of what I carried:

Packs: Vaude Rock Ultralight Comfort 25. Weight 475g without back stiffener, 625g with. Verdict, good. In the picture it is covered with a waterproof cover from a different bag.

Lifeventure Base Runner waist pack.

Tent: Coleman Rigel X2 Ultra Lightweight 2. supposed to be a 2 person tent but that would not be the case if you want kit stored inside with you in the rain, as I had to. Small pack size. Weight 960g. Bamboo chopsticks for tent pegs.

Sleeping bag: Snugpak Softie Chrysalis Micro 2 season. Pack size 16cm x 16cm. Weight 1kg. I also carried a silk liner as it would have been a way of keeping the bag fresh for the whole journey.

Cooking: Titanium mug with a spirit stove inside it.

Clothing: Just running gear, a change of gear and plenty good running socks. Pertex (Ron Hill) over-trousers that performed very well in the rain over tights. The Aldi lightweight windproof running jacket was excellent, and so cheap too at less than £10. Highly recommended. I took no other waterproof. I highly recommend Aldi running socks too, excellent price and I get no blisters with them.

Trekking Poles: I took lightweight poles. Not sure if they are designed for running or trekking. I had tried them out during a previous week of running in the Lake district and had found they speeded up the ascents and enabled me to be quicker on the descents giving me more stability, acting like a handrail. Mine are Black Diamond Distance, though the Fizan Super Compact gets good reviews. I think I must look like a running pretending to be a skier.

Shoes: This is what might have let me down. I wore my old Gore-Tex Asics Trail Lahar. the advantage of Gore-Tex is that once your feet are drenched (and I went through some heavy downpours) they seem to stay warm. The disadvantage is that they are hard to dry out so I was running in wet shoes for the three days. I had recently bought some New Balance 110 Trail Running shoes at on offer at SportsDirect.com (475g for the pair).

I had thought my old Asics would get me over the boulder-strewn paths of the Lake District when I could then ditch them and switch to the NB pair – that I had in my pack. I should have done it the other way around and used the NB for the trails and switched to the Asics for flat or road sections.

I wish I had been wearing the NBs and here’s why: the sole of the Asics is very grippy and sticks out at the sides. It was this that caught on rocks and boulders as I was running. A narrower profile sole would have been safer and, in my opinion, would have spared me turning my ankle which ended my journey.

 

Will I do it again or continue from where I got to? Probably, but there are things I have learned.

The choice of footwear will be better next time and I would like a lighter pack.

Instead of taking camping gear just for the option of using it, I could get rid of all that and use accommodation on the route. The problem with that is that most of it is full having been booked in advance for this popular long distance walk. I met two couples that had come from the USA simply to do the Coast to Coast. If booking accommodation in advance there is no flexibility, the distance planned has to be done.

Distance: How far should a runner plan to do per day? Crossing the Lake District is hard going because of steep climbs and the rocky paths (some badly eroded) A walker may do 12 – 20 miles a day. If that distance is done at a run that is a half marathon every day. It seems to me that I did not have more miles in me than the walkers did, I could just do it quicker (St Bees to Ennerdale in 2 hours).

Luggage transport: There are companies that will carry all personal luggage delivering it to the next stop. Costs a lot of money. And then we are back to the problem of distances to be covered again. If distances are planned beforehand and accommodation is fixed, the full distance would have to be done. Fall behind one day and all subsequent accommodation bookings would be forfeit. Mm a puzzle.

 

 

#coasttocoastrun Day 3 Rosthwaite to Grasmere

The youth hostel had a late cancellation so I was able to have a bed in the hostel. Great! No packing up a wet tent or a night in a storm.

I set of 8:45 am in sunshine and the fine weather continued for the whole route.

The rise out of Borrowdale was a delight to do. I only packed a litre of water as I knew there would be many mountain streams to drink from on the way, and there were, cool and refreshing.

image

Sadly as had just got over the top and had navigated many stretches of bog, I was going along a path littered with boulders when I turned my ankle. It was the very sort of injury I had been trying to avoid all along, aware of the problems of running along that terrain. It was not a complete sprain but it hurt for the remainder off the run and I could not see how I could safety get over the next section to Patterdale running alone.

I arrived in Grasmere at lunch time. For a birthday treat for one of my daughters she had decided that she and my wife would drive over with a picnic to meet up with me before I ran off.

As I waited for my family to arrive, while I drank tea and ate a slice off apple pie at a cafe, I came to my decision. I decided to return home with them and complete it another time.

I have been asked about my kit so I will do a post about it soon.

#coasttocoastrun Day 2 Ennerdale to Rosthwaite

My tiny tent survived the wet night in Ennerdale. At least it was not raining as I packed up. As I had camped in pub grounds they let me drape my tent over some chairs to dry it out as I had my breakfast there. Excellent food at the Fox and Hounds, highly recommended.

The route along the south bank of Ennerdale Water was slow going. It was a long stretch of scrambling over rocks with many of the paths having turned to streams of water.

This is one view along Ennerdale water with the footpath rising on the right of the photo.

Then the long climb lay ahead.

image

You should be able to see in the photo how far I had climbed by then. It was not until I had got to the top that I could start running.

No room at Barrowdale youth hostel so I am camping in their grounds, and the forecast for tonight is HAIL storms.

#coasttocoastrun Day 1 Ennerdale

image

St Bees to Ennerdale in two hours. Arrived at 4:30 pm. Should I try and go further? I have decided to camp at the Fox and Hounds as they have offered dinner, breakfast and a shower. Too good to refuse.

image

There it is, home sweet home for tonight. And still no rain yet – how convenient.

The train journey to St Bees was through torrential rain lashing against the train windows. Yet when I arrived at St Bees it was sunshine. I had to replace my rain hat with a sun hat.

The climb out of St Bees was hard going as I found that carrying a backpack and waistpack made a huge difference. The final bit up Dent I had to walk, fueled by jelly babies. Once over the peak there is a LONG boggy stretch. To get through it is a matter of stepping from stone to stone very carefully. All around is water at least ankle deep. I don’t how I would have got through without my poles to keep balance.

This is great trail running though and I am already looking forward to tomorrow, after my big breakfast, climbing again over to Grasmere.

#coasttocoastrun day 1 York

image

8:42 am. Setting off to St Bees by train from York. I have to go from York to Newcastle, Newcastle to Carlisle, Carlisle to St Bees. So I won’t be able to start running until I arrive at 1:00, though I will need to find something to eat by then. It is raining and the forecast is torrential rain today, overnight and tomorrow. Whether to spend the night in my tiny tent is a decision for later. I am wondering how many miles I can cover on the first day. Certainly the first days will be slow as that is when I am climbing from sea level to the top of the Lake District.