Walking the Coast is a national obsession, from the Wales Coastal Path to the planned England Coastal Path, we’re attracted to it like seagulls to a three year old’s 99 with red sauce. But coastal walking’s not all beaches and cafes. In fact, we think coastal walking is much tougher than most people think and here’s why.
1 It’s just coastal walking. So the first thing you do is double the distance you’ll walk, as it’s only coastal waking. So 20km becomes 40km for the day. By the 30th km or so, you’ll be fully aware why that wasn’t your best idea.
2 Coastal Walking’s flat You’ll ascend more during a long coastal walk than a hill walk! And as you’ve also bitten off more than you can chew, there’s even more ascent to be climbed.
2b Don’t get too attached to any altitude you gain. You’ll be losing it again around the corner.
3 Sand. We don’t want to come over all curmudgeonly on this one, but try setting off on the remaining 25km of the day with sandpaper for buttocks, and you’ll start to see where we’re coming from with this one.
4 Gates. You’ll get a full body workout with a gate every few minutes.
5 Deadly Animals. On coastal walks you’ll have to deal with the UK’s most deadly animal at regular intervals. Cattle! Make yourself look big when walking through and try not to startle them. Thankfully, only one of these decided to stampede towards us!
6 Temptation. The coast has facilities in abundance, and resisting the temptation to stop at each one can be tough. Of course, when you really are thirsty, then you’ll find that the nearest watering hole is a good few hours off.
7 It’s just too damn Scenic! Now you’ve already got too far to walk, and probably having to up the pace to get finished. That isn’t helped by the truly amazing scenes around each corner that you have to photograph! That’s if you’ve extricated yourself from the pub.
8 Frustrating. You’ll be passing over secluded coves you can’t explore as they are too steep, and you’re trying to cover 40km in a day
9 It’s a form of torture. That headland, on the horizon, that’s getting no nearer? That’s the target for the day, and it’s taunting you. Never mind, you’ll get there in eight hours.
10 It’s the longest walk in the UK! John Merrill’s Book – Turn Right at Lands End, about his round the coast walk in the 70s was probably the first book about walking that I read, or at least so it seems. I recall very little of the book, other than an obsession into how many chocolate bars he ate and the mileage he got from his boots. And of course, the simple beauty of walking from A to A the long way as is the way with islands. Waking around the coast of Anglesey may be a decent week’s walking, but to walk the entire coastline of the world’s 9th largest island is something else entirely.