A Coast to Coast Walk

A Coast to Coast Walk was published in March 1973 and was dedicated to:



Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk, now half a century old, is undoubtedly one of the finest trails in the UK. Half a century later, the 192-mile walk from St Bees on the Cumbria West Coast to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Yorkshire Coast still draws walkers worldwide.

Cumbria Magazine March 1973
Cumbria magazine March 1973

Wainwright’s displeasure with the Pennine Way encouraged him to create the Coast to Coast Walk. He didn’t hold back when describing his horrendous experiences on the UK’s first National Trail. He also had issues with the route itself. Wainwright believes the walk should have begun further south in Dovedale and finished at Hadrian’s Wall to qualify as a genuine Pennine Way. When he decided to create his own long-distance walk, these thoughts were etched in his mind.

Wainwright and Betty were married on 10th March 1970 and spent their honeymoon at the Viking Hotel, York. Wainwright took advantage of this location and began fieldwork in the North York Moors. As nearly perfect as the Coast to Coast Walk, it isn’t all great walking. The Vale of Mowbray is notable for being the dullest section, but there is no way around it. Of course, this opinion is subjective; some find the flat walking through fertile farmland a welcome break from the hills.

The project gained traction in 1971 and was completed by the summer of 1972. Wainwright’s creation was well received, and it was coming for the Pennine Way’s crown.

Friend and author Mark Jones reminded Betty of her honeymoon in her complimentary copy of The Complete Snickleways of York

Unlike the Pennine Way, Wainwright’s route was unofficial by design. He wanted the readers to be creative, which comes across strongly in the guidebook. Walkers were encouraged to discover new routes off the beaten track, away from the crowds.


A First Edition is identified by:

  1. Red case with gold blocking
  2. £1.05 price on the dust jacket
  3. No impression number
This page alone does not identify a First Edition
A Coast to Coast Walk
A Coast to Coast Walk – First Edition with a red case and gold blocking
A Coast to Coast Walk
Signed First Edition

The round-cornered guides had now been phased out, increasing production and saving money for the Westmorland Gazette. The vibrant red case colour, used for the first few impressions, is one of the loveliest colours in the series. Walks in Limestone Country used the same case colour.

In the same decade, the Gazette moved away from Letterpress printing and invested in Offset litho technology. After nearly thirty years, the original A Coast to Coast Walk printing negatives went missing. Fortunately, they reappeared two decades later. More on this story later.

A sample of the original A Coast to Coast Walk printing negatives
A Coast to Coast Walk
Multiple dust jacket prices
A Coast to Coast Walk
All dust jackets printed from the mid-1980s were laminated

Many of the dust jacket negatives were recycled and used for many years. The prices were removed or covered. Presented here are the surviving negatives from the Gazette years.

A Coast to Coast Walk Dust Jacket Negative
Westmorland Gazette dust jacket negative from the 1970s
Westmorland Gazette dust jacket positive from the 1980s
Westmorland Gazette dust jacket negative from the 1980s
Westmorland Gazette dust jacket positive from the 1980s
Westmorland Gazette dust jacket positive from the 1980s

The Pennine Way Companion, Walks in Limestone Country and Walks on the Howgill Fells are the only other guides with the same £1.05 price. The A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells series retailed at 90p, and in 1974 increased to £1.40.

The first five impressions of the A Coast to Coast Walk feature the same red clothbound case. The Fifth impression was 50g lighter than the others due to the lower GSM paper. The cost-cutting had begun.

A Coast to Coast Walk
The first five impressions of A Coast to Coast Walk

Case material shortages in the 1970s affected the A Coast to Coast Walk within a year of publication. Materials were so short that they ran out during the binding stage, and several impressions used different case colours. Two examples are the seventh and ninth impressions from 1975, which use various cases.

A Coast to Coast Walk
Two seventh impressions…
A Coast to Coast Walk
…with different coloured cases
A Coast to Coast Walk
Two ninth impressions…
A Coast to Coast Walk
…with different coloured cases

The eighteenth and nineteenth impressions were the final blue guides from 1979, featuring gold blocking on the front. From 1980, all Pictorial Guides adopted the same plain green case for nearly ten years.

A Coast to Coast Walk
The final guides with gold blocking on the front from 1979
A Coast to Coast Walk
Case examples from the 1970s

The impression numbers were discontinued by late 1985, and the last guides to feature them retailed at £4.65. The price then increased to £5.50, and all impression numbers disappeared. A Coast to Coast Walk reached the thirty-fourth impression and marginally outsold The Outlying Fells of Lakeland, published in 1974.

A Coast to Coast Walk signed in 1987
A Coast to Coast Walk
Case examples from the 1980s

A new BBC TV series in late September 1989 featured Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk. An extra 10,000 copies of the A Coast to Coast Walk were printed in anticipation of increased book sales. However, these sold out within a month of the series airing, and another 3,000 were printed to keep up with demand.

After the new TV series aired, Wainwright returned to St Bees during the late summer of 1989 to begin work on a follow-up book to his popular A Coast to Coast Walk. See Wainwright Memories for more details.

Wainwright on the Coast to Coast Walk
Wainwright at St Bees Head near the start of his Coast to Coast Walk (photo courtesy of BBC Newcastle)
Wainwright begins work on another Coast to Coast Walk book

Multiple revisions were made to Wainwright’s A Coast to Coast Walk between 1973 and 1990. Many of these changes were made due to the walk going through private land. One such change was the route beyond Beacon Hill, near Orton. After years of abuse by walkers, the farmers eventually withdrew access permission. People were camping and damaging walls and leaving litter. The farmers had had enough. Wainwright warned readers in 1976, but it fell on deaf ears, and in 1981 the route was diverted through Orton, adding two miles to the walk.

Presented here is a list of the changes made by Wainwright, apart from one by Chris Jesty, during the Gazette years.

Page 7:
In 1974, Wainwright diverted the walker away from a private lane.

Page 47:
In 1974, Wainwright edited two incorrect village names on the map. Howtown was changed to Hartsop.

Page 75:
In 1974, Wainwright warned walkers away from a path on private land.

Page 117:
In 1975, Wainwright reported that refreshments could now be found at Danby Wiske.

Page 63:
In 1976, Wainwright reported that the route from Beacon Hill onwards was private ground and respected the farmers’ land after receiving complaints of damage to walls.

Page 58:
In 1981, Wainwright extended the Shap to Kirkby Stephen section from 20 miles to 22.

Pages 62/3:
In 1981, Wainwright received more complaints from farmers about walkers camping, damaging walls, etc. Permission to follow the path beyond Beacon Hill has now been withdrawn. Wainwright made significant changes to the route, which now diverts through Orton.

Page 65:
In 1981, Wainwright made more changes as the new route through Orton added two miles.

Page 115:
In 1981, Wainwright added Orchard Farm to the map.

Page 125:
In 1985, Wainwright made his final amendment, adding a Youth Hostel near Osmotherley.

A Coast to Coast Walk
Due to Wainwright’s failing eyesight, this was his final handwritten correction from 1985

This increase in popularity resulted in another notable revision to the route in January 1990. Andrew Nichol, the General Printing and Book Publishing Manager at the Westmorland Gazette, received a rather scathing letter. The British Rail Property Board complained about the Coast to Coast Walk going over a level crossing at Stanley Pond, where there was no right of way. British Rail had gone into great detail with their complaint and threatened legal action if the route was not altered. It was unnecessary, and Andrew remembers thinking that a simple phone call explaining the issue would have sufficed.

Andrew checked the route in person to confirm the danger at the level crossing. He then explained the situation to Wainwright and the changes required in the guidebook. The only problem was that Wainwright’s eyesight wasn’t good. Andrew suggested local author and cartographer Chris Jesty could help because his handwriting was almost identical to Wainwright’s. Wainwright agreed and gave the correct wording to Andrew, who then wrote to Chris.

The following passages were taken directly from Chris’s 1990 diary:

Saturday, 10th February‘I received a letter from the Westmorland Gazette asking me to do a small amount of revision to the Coast to Coast Walk. Every time I get one job finished, another one comes along. I worked out a new text that would be roughly the same length as the old text and just managed to get it off in time for the 12.15 post.’

‘Revising the Wainwright books was what I set out to do in 1980, so now both my ambitions have been fulfilled, though on a smaller scale than I had envisaged.’

Tuesday, 13th February‘Finished revising two pages of the Coast to Coast Walk and sent them to the Westmorland Gazette. They took 11½ hours.’


The new route diverts south a little to avoid the level crossing. The subtle changes and Chris’s writing blend nicely with Wainwright’s. The book required a complete reprint, which would take time, so a two-page erratum was printed and placed in all copies of existing stock.

A Coast to Coast Walk
The amendment from 1990
The Westmorland Gazette’s final Titus Wilson order

Several months after Wainwright’s death in January 1991, the publishing rights were transferred to Michael Joseph. The new launch date for the guidebooks under the new publisher was April 1992. Chris Jesty handwrote the new prelims, and Michael Joseph worked with Titus Wilson on the new dust jacket designs.

New designs for the A Coast to Coast Walk dust jacket
A Coast to Coast Walk Prelims were produced for Michael Joseph by Chris Jesty

The spring 1992 launch was a huge success. However, things weren’t all roses. It seems Michael Joseph inherited a lot of baggage. Within six months, complaints about the Coast to Coast Walk would land on the new publishers’ doorstep:

Saturday 17th October 1992
By Peter Dunn

Alfred Wainwright, a curmudgeonly loner whose walking guides to the brooding fells of northern England made him world-famous, became an unwitting accomplice to an offence that must have appalled him – the despoliation of the countryside he loved.

This is the great paradox of the stonemason’s son and town hall ledger clerk who died last year, aged 84: his 12 handwritten pictorial guides, full of irascible humour that endeared him to generations of hikers, have sold one and a half million copies since he published the first one in 1955. Like Peter Mayle’s books on Provence, they have consigned an endearing and irresistible dream of simple country life to the supermarkets of mass tourism.

The damage is widespread and proliferating fast. Seven of the most popular Wainwrights cover the Lakeland fells, where he worked as borough treasurer in Kendal town hall for many years; two others, covering the Pennine Way and coast-to-coast walk (which Wainwright invented), have become bibles to generations of followers stumbling through hell and high water in their guru’s grumbling footsteps, often far from a right of way.

As a younger man, it never occurred to him that he was lighting a slow fuse under a time bomb. He wrote the books for his own pleasure as memoranda to browse through when he retired to his house with its breathtaking panoramic views near Kendal. ‘I wrote . . . not for material gain,’ he said in his first one, a guide to the eastern fells, ‘not for the benefit of my contemporaries, though if it brings them also to the hills, I shall be well pleased. Certainly not for posterity, about which I can work up no enthusiasm at all.’

The guides were written in his ledger clerk’s hand because he never trusted the printers, even at the little Westmorland Gazette publishing house, to get it right. Written with infinite care – a single page could take a day to complete – they conveyed a sense of almost medieval simplicity, a purple homage to ‘the lonely ridge, the dancing beck, the silent forest’.

In reality, the pressure of legions of heavy boots trampling wildlife, gouging highways through soft peat moorland, and vandalising ancient monuments, has inflicted a different kind of legacy across some of the wildest areas of rural England. Landowners across whose acres Wainwright’s routes sometimes trespass are beginning to count the cost and ask who should pay for it.

The acquisition a year ago of Wainwright’s copyright by the London publisher Michael Joseph and its nationwide promotion of the guru’s works have increased the commercial and physical pressures as the guidebook trade competes for the attention of thousands of ramblers.

The attention of both publishers and conservationists is focusing on the guru’s most popular walk, the coast-to-coast, a 192-mile slog from St Bees in Cumbria across the lakes, dales and moors to Robin Hood’s Bay on the Yorkshire coast. Here, across Wainwright’s ‘eternal hills’, a publishing war is coming briskly to the boil (see below), and questions are being raised about the sanctity of the guru’s works of art.

A year after acquiring Wainwright’s 12 pictorial guides from the Westmorland Gazette and relaunching them, the London company has run into serious problems with north country conservationists and landowners.

Unlike the Pennine Way, the coast-to-coast is not a designated trail; unknown to most walkers, some 40 per cent of its western route involves trespassing across private land, including Lord Peel’s estate in the Yorkshire Dales. It is to Wainwright’s path through this area, roughly a 22-mile stretch from Shap to Nine Standards Rigg, near Kirkby Stephen, that Michael Joseph is being asked to make major changes to the drawings and handwritten text of Wainwright’s book. The intention is to divert walkers away from sensitive wildlife areas and important archaeological monuments.

The company has rejected pleas that Wainwright’s hallowed book is now so out of date that it should be scrapped as a guide. The alternative, now under negotiation, is to fill it with scraps of addenda – typeset warnings about trouble spots and diverted paths. It is refusing to make any other significant changes on the grounds that Wainwright’s original is a work of art. Conservationists fear that many walkers, disciples of Wainwright, will insist on following in the guru’s sacred footsteps.

Michael Joseph is also resisting pressure to use some of the profits from its Wainwright imprint to help pay for the restoration of damaged terrain and way-marking diversions across private land, which, unlike public rights of way, the county council highways departments do not have to maintain.

The question of liability for guides that, technically at least, encourage ramblers to trespass (one new guide in the northern Pennines has eight of its 14 walks crossing private land) has set alarm bells ringing throughout the highly competitive guidebook market.

Anthony Kilvington, a solicitor in Kirkby Stephen who has shooting rights on moorland damaged by coast-to-coast walkers approaching Nine Standards Rigg, puts it this way: ‘No landowning family would say they didn’t want the path today because that would be selfish, but the moor isn’t meant for that number of people, and I’ll be writing to Michael Joseph about it in general. My feeling is that once it’s been pointed out to them that part of the route is not a public right of way, they’re certainly putting themselves at risk from litigation. The moral issue certainly is that if there’s damage, they should put it right.’

Michael Joseph’s miseries are being followed with scant sympathy by rival publishers in the north. ‘I think personally they don’t see the problems because they’re a London publisher and not au fait with what goes on in the countryside,’ says Walt Unsworth, director of Cicerone, publishers of activity guides in Milnthorpe, Cumbria. ‘When they got the Wainwright books, they thought they were buying golden apples; instead, they’ve found in the tree a hornets’ nest.’

More than any other long-distance walk in Britain, the Coast to Coast Walk has become a victim of its own success. Promotion of the route in a series of television programmes in 1985 starring Wainwright has made it the most popular obstacle course in Britain. Wainwright himself recognised its special qualities. ‘The Pennine Way is masculine,’ he said. ‘If there happens to be something in your temperament that makes you like the ladies, the odds are that you will prefer the coast-to-coast.’

In two years, it has become big business for publishers and village traders across the north of England’s most marketable route. Even the physical pain has been removed. A pack shuttle service operated from Kirkby Stephen offers to carry rucksacks between overnight stops at 3 pounds a time. According to one estimate, the coast-to-coast, a creation of Wainwright’s solitary imagination, is now tramped by 20,000 hikers a year.

This kind of pressure, and its consequences, alerted Andrew Nicholson of the East Cumbria Countryside Project, which is backed by the Countryside Commission and specialises in shuttle diplomacy between landowners and the access lobby. It is Mr Nicholson, in a series of letters, who is asking Michael Joseph to alter critical sections of its coast-to-coast guide before a reprint is issued next year.

These include travelling east from Shap, Black Dub, a monument to Charles II on Crosby Ravensworth Fell that tempts walkers off the route onto a Site of Special Scientific Interest – a breeding ground for moorland birds, including the golden plover (his request for the Black Dub drawings to be removed has been rejected); Sunbiggin Tarn, a grade one SSSI, botanically very sensitive and now showing signs of damage and litter; Rayseat Pike long barrow, a neolithic cairn described by county archaeologists as a site of national importance and now vandalised by walkers who have erected a stone-built wind shelter; and the Severals Village Settlement, a complex of prehistoric villages. Paul Cairns, a chip-shop owner in Kirkby Stephen who owns land around Sunbiggin Tarn and used to breed ducks there, is particularly alarmed about increased pressure over his wild acres.

‘I’ve written to my MP, Michael Jopling, about it and David MacLean, the environment minister,’ he says. ‘When it comes to spring, you’ve got all those nesting birds, and for all, we use it for shooting. It’s crucial nesting birds get a bit of peace and quiet, and they’re not getting it. They’re all so colourfully dressed, these walkers. It frightens birds from miles away anyhow. The way they go about it, they seem to head for the most difficult place to cross. And we’re getting tins and bottles up there, which we didn’t use to have. These publishers print all these books. They’re the only ones that are making money out of it.’

Mr Nicholson says Michael Joseph’s reaction to his letters has been less than cooperative. ‘They’ve said they’ll take on board variations to the route by inserting typeset amendments, and that’s good,’ he says. ‘The bad news is they don’t want to make any changes to the book itself on the grounds that it’s a work of art.’ This brought a pretty hefty response from a whole range of individuals, including ourselves, the Country Landowners Association and the National Farmers’ Union. Michael Joseph told me they’d had a lot of flak about it. What worries me a lot is the purists who think his book is the Bible.’

‘We’ve suggested that one way out would be to print the original Wainwrights as hardbacks with fancy bindings, ideal for collectors. There could be a cheaper walking manual incorporating the changes that people could use with confidence. Michael Joseph said that would be too expensive and won’t do it.’

‘The argument about whether it’s commercially viable to produce two editions isn’t really a strong one if you’re faced with people in the countryside suffering real problems. I’ve also written to Michael Joseph twice requesting that they donate something towards repairs, but the response hasn’t been promising. They’ve stated that they can’t consider any funding.’

‘There’s a responsibility issue involved. Walkers are causing damage. In that light, it’s difficult to imagine any other consideration than that the author and publisher have a duty here. Repairs around Nine Standards will run into thousands rather than hundreds.’

Jenny Dereham, the editorial director of Michael Joseph, takes a firm line about preserving the original books. ‘That’s what Wainwright wanted, and that’s what the estate wants,’ she says. ‘All I know is that when it was intimated we were going to make changes, we had a huge postbag saying it was outrageous.’

‘On the other hand, we do see we have an obligation towards private landowners and conservationists. If we can retain the original but put in addenda saying ‘we think this is a better route’, then we’ll put that in. We’re still making decisions about it.’

‘We simply can’t at the moment reckon to accept Mr Nicholson’s request to double publish. We’re in a recession—end of comment. We’ve put an enormous amount of money into these books. I’m talking about the promotion we did in April to get them sold throughout the country.’

‘For the same reasons, we can’t consider contributions to maintenance or repair of the coast-to-coast path. In due course, maybe, one day when we’re actually showing a profit on these books, maybe, but not now.’

‘If the time comes when we’ve more typesetting than handwriting in the Coast to Coast, we’ll have to think again about what we can do.’

Mr Kilvington cannot understand the publisher’s obduracy. ‘It’s all very well for Michael Joseph to call it a work of art,’ he says. ‘The fact is that Wainwright if shown to be wrong, was very quick to redress the situation, and I know this from personal experience.’

‘From what you read about the man, he was basically a loner. Some of the places he discussed were very personal to him. I can’t believe he would have wished so many people to have shared it, to spoil the very thing that he thought so much of.’

‘If Michael Joseph won’t help, then what happens next will depend very much on the attitude of landowners. It will depend on whether any landowner wishes to take Michael Joseph on, and, presumably, that would be a big landowner, someone as big as Michael Joseph. When they say work of art, they’re talking about a possible loss of profits, aren’t they? They should be as big as Wainwright about it. The book’s just one man’s wanderings. It’s not an oil painting, for God’s sake.’


Michael Joseph’s new title page and prelims were added to the original negatives
Additional replaced prelims
A Coast to Coast Walk Dust Jacket Bromide
Michael Joseph’s dust jacket artwork from 1992
Michael Joseph’s dust jacket negative from 1992
Michael Joseph’s dust jacket negative from 1992

The launch books retailed at a reasonable £8.99. A few months later, the guidebook printing was transferred to Clays Ltd in Suffolk. It was very disappointing for Titus Wilson and a massive blow for Kendal. Under no circumstances were any of the original printing materials leaving Kendal. Titus Wilson retained the original negatives for the Wainwright books, and Michael Joseph were issued a duplicate set.

A Coast to Coast Walk
A Coast to Coast Walk 1992 launch book printed in Kendal

The new publisher was pressured to revise the guides, especially A Coast to Coast Walk, but they refused, disappointing Chris Jesty. However, some route changes were unavoidable. Chris was authorised to proceed with these minor alterations, and in 1994 a new Revised Edition was published. There were some minor changes in 1995 and 1998. Michael Joseph produced five revised impressions, retailing between £9.99 and £12.99.

A Coast to Coast Walk

From left to right:
A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition, Michael Joseph 1994
A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition (with minor changes), Michael Joseph 1995
A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition (with minor changes), Michael Joseph 1998
A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition, Michael Joseph 1999
A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition, Michael Joseph 2001

Chris was never happy with the minor revisions; he hoped to revise the entire book. The additional work was also typeset and didn’t blend with Wainwright’s organic handwriting.

A Coast to Coast Walk
Michael Joseph transferred the copyright to Betty Wainwright in 2001
Michael Joseph’s final Titus Wilson order

Sales rapidly declined in 2001, and the suspected cause was the foot and mouth outbreak. Michael Joseph ceased publication of the guidebooks in January 2003. It was the first time Wainwright’s work had been out of print since 1955. Within a month, Frances Lincoln won the bid to republish them again. After ten years away, Wainwright’s works of art would return to their rightful home in Kendal.

The original negatives could not be found when Titus Wilson came to reprint A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition. An existing book was stripped and scanned in high resolution; then, positives were produced from the scans.

Printing positives produced by Titus Wilson for Frances Lincoln

David Rigg, the owner of Titus Wilson, made me the custodian of all the existing Wainwright printing materials in 2019. It took weeks for my wife and me to find everything. We also found the missing original A Coast to Coast Walk printing negatives. They’d been missing since they were last used in 1992 and were found in a location you wouldn’t even think of looking.

Frances Lincoln’s dust jacket positive from 2003
Frances Lincoln’s dust jacket positive from 2003

The launch date was April 2003, and the guides retailed at £11.99. Titus Wilson employed additional staff and built a new warehouse to hold the stock to keep up with demand. Titus Wilson were busy for the next two years, especially with the new 50th Anniversary Editions. However, in 2006, the books were again pulled from Titus Wilson due to rising printing costs. They tried everything to keep the books in Kendal, but it wasn’t to be. Frances Lincoln were a business, and profits came first.

A Coast to Coast Walk
The only two impressions printed at Titus Wilson, Kendal

The 50th Anniversary Editions printed in Kendal used a special ‘cream wove’ paper that matched the original First Edition guides. The paper was produced locally by James Cropper in Burneside. The remaining sheets were used for the second impression of A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition.

A Coast to Coast Walk Frances Lincoln Kendal Printed 2
The second impression utilised Cropper’s special ‘cream wove’ paper
A Coast to Coast Walk
The Traditional yellow pages at the front and back were discontinued in 2001
Frances Lincoln’s final Titus Wilson order

Between 2006 and 2010, another eight impressions were printed in various countries, such as Singapore, Thailand and China. There are physical differences between every impression, and they retailed for £12.99 and later increased to £13.99.

A Coast to Coast Walk

From left to right:
A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition, (Singapore) Frances Lincoln 2003
A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition, (Thailand) Frances Lincoln 2003
A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition, (Thailand) Frances Lincoln 2003
A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition, (Thailand) Frances Lincoln 2003
A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition, (Thailand) Frances Lincoln 2003
A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition, (China) Frances Lincoln 2003
A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition, (China) Frances Lincoln 2003
A Coast to Coast Walk – Revised Edition, (China) Frances Lincoln 2003

Unlike Michael Joseph, Frances Lincoln fully supported complete revisions, and in 2005, Chris Jesty finally got his wish to revise all twelve guidebooks, which consumed a decade of his life. A Coast to Coast Walk – Second Edition replaced the old Revised Edition and was published in 2010. Six impressions were printed and retailed between £13.99 and £14.99. Wainwright’s original narrative was now officially out of print.

A Coast to Coast Walk

From left to right:
A Coast to Coast Walk – Second Edition, Frances Lincoln 2010
A Coast to Coast Walk – Second Edition, Frances Lincoln 2010
A Coast to Coast Walk – Second Edition (with minor revisions), Frances Lincoln 2011
A Coast to Coast Walk – Second Edition, Frances Lincoln 2011
A Coast to Coast Walk – Second Edition (with minor revisions), Frances Lincoln 2014
A Coast to Coast Walk – Second Edition, Frances Lincoln 2014
A Coast to Coast Walk ‘enlarged type’ (low gsm paper), Frances Lincoln 2009
A Coast to Coast Walk ‘enlarged type’ (high gsm paper), Frances Lincoln 2009

In 2017, the guide was renamed Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk – Walkers Edition, changed to a flexibound format, and featured minor route changes. Three flexibound impressions were printed until they were replaced by paperbacks in 2022.

A Coast to Coast Walk

From left to right:
Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk – Walkers Edition flexibound, Frances Lincoln 2017
Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk – Walkers Edition flexibound, Frances Lincoln 2017
Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk – Walkers Edition flexibound, Frances Lincoln 2017
Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk – Walkers Edition paperback, Frances Lincoln 2022

Wainwright’s original A Coast to Coast Walk was reprinted in 2017 and renamed the Readers Edition. It came with a warning that this route is outdated, and readers attempting the trail should refer to the new Walkers Edition. The Readers Editions were reproduced using scans from Wainwright’s original manuscript held at the Cumbria Archive Centre in Kendal.

Most of the revisions Wainwright made in the past were relatively simple. The corrections were written on scraps of paper and glued to the page. Some were more complex, so Wainwright produced new pages. In the Readers Edition, I noticed two revisions from 1974 on pages 7 and 75 remain. These corrections were glued over the original text and are probably too difficult to remove. The only way would be to scan the First Edition pages from an existing guide.

Most minor corrections made originally with scraps of paper were fixed for the Readers Edition, apart from Wainwright’s 1985 handwritten correction, which features on page 125. This should be amended before any future reprint.

From left to right:
A Coast to Coast Walk – Readers Edition hardback, Frances Lincoln 2017
A Coast to Coast Walk – Readers Edition hardback, Frances Lincoln 2017
A Coast to Coast Walk – Readers Edition paperback, Frances Lincoln 2021
A Coast to Coast Walk – Readers Edition paperback, Frances Lincoln 2022

A Coast to Coast Walk  Readers Edition comes in two case colours
Two different-sized paperbacks


My wife and I walked the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast Walk in 2013 and 2015, respectively. We thoroughly enjoyed both, but I can’t entirely agree with Wainwright’s opinions of the Pennine Way. We loved most things he criticised about the walk—especially the drawn-out featureless moorland sections, which were a joy. You felt like you were cut off from civilisation, which was refreshing for the mind and body. After completing the walk, adapting back to the real world took time.

We found the Coast to Coast Walk a very different experience. It was a great walk, and the scenery was far superior to that on the Pennine Way. However, we didn’t feel that same sense of solitude as we did on the Pennine Way. So, you have that dichotomy between both walks. Perhaps the Coast to Coast Walk has been a victim of its own success. Wainwright certainly didn’t anticipate it becoming as popular as it did. When he heard a group was walking it from America, he said to a friend, Haven’t they got their own walk?’ which raised a chuckle.

To summarise, the Coast to Coast Walk is a must for everyone who likes long-distance walking. It was a great idea by Wainwright and a testament to his genius. It has stood the test of time to become one of the most popular walks in the world.

“One should always have a definitive objective, in a walk as in life—it is so much more satisfying to reach a target by personal effort than to wander aimlessly. An objective is an ambition, and life without ambition is…..well, aimless wandering.” A. Wainwright.

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