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A Coast to Coast Route Guide REVIEWS

West Riding Rambler No. 138, April 2014

Review: "A coast to coast route guide"

By Keith Wadd.

If I were going to walk the Coast to Coast (which, splendid walk as it is, I'm not contemplating at present), I would take two guides with me, and one of them would be Tony and Chris Grogan's latest book: "A Coast to Coast Route Guide".

I say this because it does the job. I do not think it would be possible to have a clearer guide to prevent me going astray. The guide achieves this by strip maps aligned in the general direction of travel. These maps are based on the OS Explorer maps with superfluous detail omitted and some features exaggerated for clarity.

The strip maps also include alternative routes, and Wainwright's original route where it diverges from the present route. There is commentary (including brief notes on features of interest) at the side of the strip maps and many enjoyable photographs.

So Tony and Chris's book would quite definately go in my map pocket. And the other book? Well, of course it would be Wainwright's original "A Coast to Coast Walk".

"A Coast to Coast Route Guide" by Tony and Chris Grogan was published in early 2014 by Skyware Press, cost £9.99 and available at bookshops and www.skyware.co.uk

See the West Riding Ramblers website

Yorkshire Dales Review
Spring 2014

BOOK REVIEW by Colin Speakman.


A Coast to Coast Route Guide by Tony & Chris Grogan £9.99, published by Skyware (ISBN 978 0 9559987 8 2) - www.skyware.co.uk

It is a brave man or woman who follows, literally, in the footsteps of the great Alfred Wainwright to write and in this case also publish, a guide to his most famous walk across England, the Coast to Coast, 190 miles from St Bees to Robin Hood's Bay.

In fact Chris and Tony Grogan are not the first to do so, and their excellent introductory essay on the route indicates there are no less than five existing versions by different authors, including a new version of the original Wainwright guide with its hand drawn maps. So this becomes the sixth. Like the Dales Way the route is a National Trail in all but name, and is Britain's most frequently walked long distance route. Also like the Dales Way, the route is now managed by a voluntary group, in this case the Wainwright Society and route improvements are made from time to time, surely something the master himself would have approved. In another break with tradition, common sense has prevailed, and in 2012 the route was waymarked for the first time since the publication of A Coast to Coast Walk in 1973.

Sensibly the Grogans do not try and imitate AW's exquisitely executed maps and drawings, but use a very clear OS map base with clear instructions on the map, sharply evocative photographs and interpretive details in the text alongside. The A5 size, standard for Skyware guides, is handy for rucksacks or hand use, and the glossy paper is at least water resistant, though a map cover is sensible in the UK climate.

Described as one of the world's great walks, the Coast to Coast path allows the walker to experience three of England's finest National Parks - the Lakes, North York Moors and of course Swaledale in the incomparable Dales, including a section through the lovely Orton Fells which, politicians willing, will soon form part of the extended Dales National Park. The guide also uses the new sections of field paths rather than roads between Richmond and Ingleby cross, though Wainwright purists can stay on the tarmac. With a penny change from a tenner and produced to the usual Skyware high standard, this route guide is exceptional value and the perfect introduction and practical guide for the route, even for those of us who cherish our battered copy of Wainwright.

See the Yorkshire Dales Society here.

Yorkshire Post - CountryWeek, Sat 22 March 2014

Following in famous footsteps

Roger Ratcliffe meets a couple from Bradford who have written the definitive guidebook to Wainwright's Coast to Coast.

When a hiking path is mentioned in the same company as the trek to Everest Base Camp in the Himalayas and the Inca Trail of Peru you know it must be something pretty special.

Yorkshire Post 22 mar 2014Country Walking magazine named the route from St Bees Head in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay on the Yorkshire coast the second-best walking experience on the planet – beaten only by one in New Zealand – but Chris Grogan didn’t need any official blessing to appreciate its excellence.

“There’s a romance about it for sure,” she says. “Doing the Coast to Coast for the first time back in the 1990s is still in my mind one of the top memories of my whole life. It was emotionally very powerful to walk from one side of my country to the other.”

She and her husband Tony have now completed the 190-odd mile path three times, most recently for the purposes of writing a new guide to the route. They are well-known in the walking world as the creators of the 90-mile Dales High Way which starts near their home in Saltaire, Bradford, and finishes at Appleby-in-Westmorland.

Since being devised by the Lakeland guidebook author Alfred Wainwright in 1973, the precise line of the C2C, as it has become known, had been altered in numerous places. The Grogans’ new book is the first one to describe the final course.

It runs across three National Parks – the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors – and is divided into 12 daily sections. The longest is a 23-mile stretch across the flat Vale of Mowbray from the town of Richmond to Ingleby Cross on the edge of the North York Moors, while the shortest is a lovely 11-mile moorland traverse of Swaledale from the timeless hamlet of Keld to the picturesque village green at Reeth.

With an estimated 7,000 people now completing it every year, the C2C is thought to be the most popular long-distance walk in the UK, eclipsing even the mighty Pennine Way.

Alfred Wainwright, in fact, came up with the idea for the Coast to Coast route after he had returned from the Pennine Way because he wanted his next major walk to be more enjoyable. After doing the 270-mile hike from Edale in the Peak District to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders he had complained of floundering in peat bogs, stumbling in soggy heather and squelching in muddy fields. Four years later, when he published his A Coast to Coast Walk guide, he remarked: “I finished the Pennine Way with relief, the Coast to Coast with regret.”

Almost immediately his book ran into problems with some farmers and landowners along the course of C2C.

In several places he had ignored the inconvenient truth that there was no legal right of way.

For Tony and Chris Grogan, producing their guide to Wainwright’s walk meant working closely with rights of way officers in the National Parks and local councils.

Says Tony: “Probably because Wainwright’s home stamping ground was the Lake District, where you can walk anywhere above the intake walls, he kind of took that mentality to places in the Pennines and Yorkshire Dales where it just wasn’t the case. But, strangely enough, when the Right to Roam law came into effect in 2000 some parts of his original route finally became legal, so maybe he was ahead of his time.”

Wainwright died in 1991 at the age of 84, but in 2010 his publishers produced a revised edition of his book to reflect route changes. Since then amendments have been made to the route described there, and these are included in the Grogans’ book. However, for Wainwright purists his original route is shown on their maps, where it is accessible.

When the Grogans first completed the C2C almost 20 years ago they carried big packs of camping gear and got rained on every single day. But the weather soon became insignificant, Chris says, while another factor was the camaraderie which developed with others doing the walk.

They all managed to meet up for the grand finale at Robin Hood’s Bay and a drink in the Bay Hotel, right on the finishing line.

Chris concedes that their own Dales High Way walk, like every other long-distance path in the UK, has an arbitrary starting and finishing point, while the C2C is unique because it is defined by the geography of England.

“When you reach the Yorkshire coast you just can’t walk any further. When they set out from St. Bee’s many people like to dip their feet in the Irish Sea, and when they reach Robin Hood’s Bay they get their boots off for a paddle. Standing there with your feet in the water gives you a wonderful sense of achievement.”

Route guide available now

A Coast to Coast Route Guide by Tony & Chris Grogan is published by Skyware, price £9.99. Available from bookshops and online at www.skyware.co.uk

For up-to-date information about any temporary route diversions, accommodation, baggage carriers, public transport etc, visit www.coastto.co.uk

See the Yorkshire Post here.

Footsteps - The Wainwright Society Magazine, Spring 2014

Book Review by David Johnson, editor

A Coast to Coast Route Guide

by Tony & Chris Grogan

The authors of this well-produced book are Society members. It includes an informative introduction to and history of Wainwright's Coast to Coast Walk, the route being divided into twelve sections. Each is helpfully detailed by commentary, photographs and linear maps with useful annotations to assist the walker in following or varying the route.

It is a practical guide for those contemplating this walk, but would make a fine memento for anyone who has completed it.

ISBN: 978-0-9559987-8-2. Published by Skyware Ltd. £9.99

See the Wainwright Society website here.

WALK - magazine of the Ramblers, 27 Feb 2014

A Coast to Coast Route Guide

Price: £9.99
Author: Tony and Chris Grogan
ISBN number: 978 0 95599878 2

A slim, pocket-size guide to Wainwright's Coast to Coast walk which depicts the popular route via a series of large-scale colour strip maps, all very clearly set out and easy to follow. It incorporates all the recent route modifications on the classic walk from St Bees Head to Robin Hood's Bay, plus there are colour photos and supporting text (including a history of the walk) to help you find your way.

See the Ramblers website here.

The Westmorland Gazette, Sat 25 Jan 2014

BOOK REVIEW: A Coast to Coast Route Guide

By Faye Greenwell, Reporter

 A COAST TO COAST ROUTE GUIDE, by Tony and Chris Grogan, £9.99, ISBN 978-0-955998782

Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk is without doubt one of the most popular and most-often trekked long distance trails in Britain.

From the Irish Sea at St Bees Head, it winds its way to the shoreline at Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire, taking in a good swathe of the Lake District National Park en route.

This book describing the route is packed full of thorough and comprehensive detail – from a brief history of the Coast to Coast Walk to thoroughly usable map guides.

The strip maps are aligned in the general direction of travel and the route was surveyed on the ground prior to publication.

The full colour large-scale strip maps of the entire route and stunning images throughout the guide will make the practical task of finding your way across England easy.

The handy book also comes equipped with a weather resistant wallet - just in case you get caught out in the rain.

See the Westmorland Gazette here.

Bradford Telegraph & Argus, 25 January 2014


BOOK OF THE WEEK by Jim Greenhalf

A Coast To Coast Route Guide
By Chris and Tony Grogan
Skyware, £9.99

One day I will walk across Northern England from St Bees Head on the Irish Sea coast to Robin Hood’s Bay, approximately 190 miles westwards on the North Sea coast.

Telegraph & Argus reviewWell, that’s what I like to think. Sometimes. But if ever I decide that the time has come to walk from the place where the sun sets to the place where it rises, I will reach for the latest splendidly illustrated publication from Chris and Tony Grogan’s Saltaire-based Skyware company.

A Coast To Coast Route Guide follows in the footsteps of Alfred Wainwright, setting out for the intrepid hiker a dozen scenic routes from the Lake District to the North Yorkshire Moors, the longest being 23.2 miles from Reeth to Richmond. The shortest is 10.7 miles from Keld to Reeth.

“Since Wainwright’s Coast To Coast Walk was first published in 1973, there have been a number of changes to the route” say the Grogans.

“Despite Wainwright’s intention to ‘use only rights of way and areas of open access’, his route in places followed tracks across private land that were not rights of way. This became a particular problem in the section between Shap and Kirkby Stephen.

“The authorities were later able to negotiate permissive status with land owners on some tracks which allowed their continued use. In other places this was not possible.

“Elsewhere, Wainwright’s route problems were of an entirely different nature. Many of the rights of way across the Vale of Mowbray were neglected and inaccessible. Wainwright found himself ‘beaten back to the tarmac by barbed wire, dykes, too-friendly bovines and other obstacles’.

“He was forced to revert to quiet country roads for more than eight miles. Today things are much improved, and the modern route now follows easily along grassy footpaths for most of this section, just as Wainwright originally intended.”

The Wainwright Society, founded in 2002, has been talking to all the local authorities with a view to waymarking the route that threads them once and for all. This is the route mapped out by Chris and Tony Grogan.

They actually do more than that, as users of their previous guides will know. Each coloured relief map contains little red bordered boxes offering advice: “Nip under the arches to see Old Beggar’s Bridge”.

There are warnings too: “Don’t bear right too early to avoid hitting a dangerous scree slope.”

It’s as close to walking with Satnavs as you’re likely to get.

Alfred Wainwright died at the age of 84. His ashes were scattered at Innominate Tarn, on Haystacks. In Memoirs Of A Fellwalker, Wainwright said: “All I ask for, at the end, is a last long resting place by the side of Innominate Tarn, on Haystacks, where the water gently laps the gravelly shore and the heather blooms and Pillar and Gable keep unfailing watch. A quiet place, a lonely place.

“I shall go to it, for the last time, and be carried – someone who knew me in life will take me and empty me out of a little box and leave me there alone. And if you, dear reader, should get a bit of grit in your boot as you are crossing Haystacks in the years to come, please treat it with respect. It might be me.”

See the Bradford Telegraph & Argus website here.