Not quite Shire to Mordor but 190 miles covered, waterfalls scaled, rough terrain, bad weather but £2,000 and the best fish and chips to end see 2 friends complete the epic Wainwright Coast to Coast trail with great success.
Local resident Steven Brady and his friend Graham Konstandelos tackled the challenging Wainwright Coast to Coast, one of the UK’s popular long-distance trails. From the Irish Sea at St. Bees Head, it winds its way across Northern England, 190 miles or so, to the North Sea shoreline at Robin Hood’s Bay. On the way it passes through three National Parks: The Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors.
The trail as of 12th August became a national trail. Natural England will work alongside partners to improve the popular route, with £5.6 million committed to upgrade the 197-mile path. This includes funding set aside to develop a community engagement programme, and maximise economic and health benefits for local people and businesses.
The friends who like to challenge one another decided to take on this route in their pursuit of raising money for PACT (the Parents Association of Children with Tumours and Leukaemia) a charity close to Graham. Graham had leukaemia at aged 4 and PACT massively helped him and his family during that time.
Steven told us “All silly things start in a pub, we just finished rowing the Thames and we were thinking what are we going to do next year. My friend mentioned a Coast to coast, and without thinking I just said yeah.
“We did this to raise money for PACT who support families with children who suffer from cancer, they have 2 open houses that they run in the Yorkshire area. Children with cancer can have their parents stay close to them at the hospital, it can be a very lonely place for adults and even more so as a child.
“There are hospitals but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be staying close; without this charity you could be doing 150-mile round trip every day to go and see your child in hospital. The friend of mine I did this with suffered from Leukaemia when he was 4 and they helped out him and his family a great deal”.
The duo has a just giving page and have to this date raised just under £2,000 which is a mammoth effort that will go to PACT to continue the good work they do. The route wasn’t as straight forward as Steven expected he added “I thought we’d be walking through the countryside like walking to Mordor and stop off at pubs on the way have a sandwich and a pint and onto the next part of the walk. Nice jolly picturesque walk through the countryside.
“That wasn’t the case. It was best part of 200 miles across the Lake District, Yorkshire dales and North York Moors some days doing up to 30 miles and up to 770 metres. So, we’ve been up and down hills along some big distances, marathon distances with 20kg on your back through rough terrain and rain it’s not a fun thing to do as well as climbing up waterfalls”.
On preparing for the challenge Steven said “I do a lot of walking generally; I have 2 dogs and do various countryside pursuits that I do a lot of walking for. I started to put cast iron pots and pans in a bag and added that to my walks a month before hand. I will admit I was under prepared for the hills, it was harder than I thought but we did it and mostly with a smile on our face”.
The pair finished the trail last week and Steven added “Lots of joy and elation after completion. The idea is you pick up a stone on the beach at St Bees then you throw it in the sea at Robin Hoods Bay. So, when we came into Robin Hoods Bay on the last day, we were tired it was raining we’d been walking best part of 6-7 hours and we were ready to have a pint. Sitting there with a huge sense of achievement at the local pub there after having the best fish and chips, we knew we’d done good”.
Steven and Graham are looking to continue further fundraising for PACT next year with a few challenges in mind Steven told us “There is chat, walking the Pyrenees, which is about 800 miles, that’s a serious trek up to 3000 metres so will need to do some proper preparation this time round I think”.
You can continue to support Steven & Graham by donating on their just giving page.