Coast to Coast: what does that imply? We walked across Spain last year but that was from France to the west coast of Spain, not water to water, but a lot of fun! We did not even think we could walk for 33 days in a row and cover 800 kilometres, but we did it and are still smiling about our amazing adventure. This winter we planned our next adventure. In January, May seemed a long way away, but here we are with one week left until our departure. No, we are not going to walk from coast to coast across Canada. 9306 kilometres is far more than we ever want to tackle. We have settled for a much smaller amount: 309 kilometres across a small island: England. We are not hiking England at its broadest width, nor its smallest. We are going to follow in the footsteps of Alfred Wainwright who devised this path through England’s scenic north. We will pass through, and hopefully not pass out doing it, three national parks: the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors National Parks.
This weekend as we have had temperatures of 2C and 3C and have watched our daffodils bow down to the wind and snow, we keep hoping that it will be warm and dry in England. A little optimistic, you might say, but hope springs eternal! I just took a photo of my daffodils and magnolia. The sun was out briefly. Now as I type, there is a blizzard happening. I cannot see the bay.
Our Camino friends from Ireland, Jim and Marie, have just completed the 400 kilometre Pennine Way. At least we think they have completed it. They have not had the best of wireless connections; we have not heard from them in a while. The last week in April, when they started seemed to be rather white with blinding snow. Not encouraging! But we will be starting a month later and are looking forward to spending an evening with Jim and Marie on our second evening of hiking.
Brian and I will not have Margaret’s company this time. Margaret is going to do a guided hike of the Tour of Mont Blanc at the end of June. She will have the good company of three friends from Niagara. That hike is still on our bucket list, but not this year.
When we began booking this trip, we were both fit, having cross-country skied 240 kilometres in January. February was more spring-like than today; so, we hiked daily more than we skied. Last year we only pre-booked our first and last night of accommodations. This year, radiating confidence, we pre-booked all of our accommodations.
Then it was March and Brian’s left knee swelled into a balloon. He self-diagnosed a torn meniscus. This was finally confirmed two weeks ago by MRI. In the meantime after some relaxing and icing, Brian slowly began increasing his walking distances and his knee was improving, then his right knee blossomed, not in a good way. Although I have considered wheelbarrowing Brian across England, it was only a fleeting thought. Brian is a very determined fellow. Last week he had an injection in each knee to improve the synovial fluid and cushion his joints. We are hopeful that his knees will mend and not give out on him. We are seeing steady improvement.
If all else fails, it will be an amazing pub crawl across England. If we can’t hike, we hear that public transit in England is far better than in backwoods Ontario.
Lest you think these injuries have caused Brian to stop golfing, have no fear! Brian has been playing from the red tees instead of the whites, using nothing larger than a five iron. The result is that his golf balls go straighter and further and he is enjoying his best scores ever. Walking 18 holes on this course is almost ten kilometres. Last week, Brian played two rounds of 18 and one of nine. We can do this England thing!