Coast to Coast: Day 1, St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge

The Sun. That double-edged celestial force. In winter, it bathes Phoenix in warm, glorious light. In summer, it beats us down, soaking into the cement only to radiate back upwards after it retreats. The Sun: it can make or break your day, depending on where you are, and when you are.

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In St. Bees on a Thursday in May, the Sun shone in all it’s glorious splendor. Radiant, shadow throwing, Sun. Helios, worked some magic today. 17 miles of pure golden bliss.

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The Beach at St. Bees

The day began on the beach at St. Bees. I started with enthusiasm and vigor as I walked north along the first few miles of the trail. By far the most congested part of the trail, I talked to people from Ottawa, Oregon, and even a guy from England.

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As I turned East, the scenery quickly shifted to rolling farmland punctuated by the occasional bucolic village. The locals, true to English form, were out in cheerful force, celebrating the outstanding weather.

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About 8 miles in, I caught up with a couple from Atlanta, stopped for a warm meat pie and potato pie in rundown Cleator and started up the steep 340 meter Dent fell. The descent from the fell was the steepest trail I’ve ever encountered. If I didn’t have my trekking poles, I think I would have had to sit and scooch all the way down. It was Westley screaming “AS YOU WISH” steep.

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From Dent Fell

The bottom of the hill gave way to an otherworldly valley with a babbling brook soundtrack. Soon, I found myself bouncing into the small and charming village of Ennerdale Bridge. I stopped at the local CAMRA recognized pub for a quick pint and am now simmering in cask IPA-induced contentment at the bar in my wonderful hotel.

The next two days are my most ambitious. I could fret about it but tomorrow is hours away. I have a feeling tonight is going to be great. The beer garden beckons, the shadows grow, tonight I shall drink steady but talk very slow.

2 thoughts on “Coast to Coast: Day 1, St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge

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