Euro Surf 'n' Turf

Coast-to-Coast Walk, England

    Photo: Corel

You start by standing on a bed of quivering mud, the Irish Sea lapping at your hiking boots as you perform the ritual "boot dipping" that walkers traditionally undertake before setting off on England's Coast-to-Coast Walk. In a country that is mad about walking, the Coast-to-Coast is the grand price: a 193-mile ramble that starts in St. Bees on the Irish Sea and goes clear across the Lake District and North Yorkshire to the North Sea at Robin Hood's Bay.

The route is a memorable melange of moss-covered stone walls, fields of Swaledale sheep, and impeccable villages and hamlets. As you cross hills and dales and swollen streams, you'll become a master of mud in all its guises. You'll pass stone farmhouses where Border collies yap a greeting and wander through cow pastures, all of which will of course justify drowning a pint or two of Old Peculier at the end of the day. Then tuck yourself in at one of the cozy inns or B&Bs along the way.
You can do it yourself or contact an outfitter like Coast-to-Coast Packhorse, who'll book the inns and tote your bags for 15 days for about $1,176 per person. But for those who don't have the time or the legs to handle the entire walk, The Wayfareres has put together a six-day, 85-mile version using van transfers in three strategic places. Purists may balk, but it still adds up to a lot of walking. For $2,290, the company provides all meals, van support, moleskin, and seven nights lodging that ranges from the ultra-comfortable to Fawlty Towers stand-ins. Don't be surprised if your boots let off steam while you dip them in the North Sea.

Contact Coast-to-Coast Packhorse at 011.44.17.683.71680 or www.cumbria.com/packhorse; The Wayfarers at 800.249.4620.

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