Did my 2nd coast to coast finishing a week last Friday. Just a few thoughts for anyone planning their run this year..
A 10 day run was about the minimum I think I could do and still have time to stand and stare when the weather allowed ( it was truly awful in the lakes and on the Moors). Was tired at the end of most days carrying a 17 kg pack but usually recovered enough to be happy the following day. I did the 3 day Kirkby Stepehen - Richmond run in two days easily enough, stopping at Gunnerside. Last time the Reeth stop seemed a bit of a wasted night. 9 Standards Red route was not too boggy by the way.
I did the Steel Fell route from Stonethwaite to Patterdale...in the pouring rain. I did lower myself down the dizzying gradient by hanging onto the fence wire as an alternative to walking a couple of kilometres round the road to get to Raise Beck. With the benefit of hindsight this was a bit silly (not to mention risky in bad weather)..not clever at all.
The Shepherds Arms at Ennerdale was indeed open...a friendly welcome but mediocre and overpriced food.
I stayed at Greenbank Farm south of Patterdale where the charming landlady made me strip to my swimming trunks in the hall after arriving drenched from the aforementioned Steel Fell jaunt...Two lady guests were highly entertained by me thus clad carrying my rucksack to my room...and I was not charged extra for this priviledge! The point is however that the walk from here via Hayeswater Ghyll to join the C2C route half way round the Knott is a cracker and saves time even in the foul weather I encountered. The tracks were ok despite being turned into streams. Rather than face muddy fields on the pull into Shap I opted to follow the "concrete" road round to Keld ( the other one) and thence to New Ing Lodge...Dont..it is boring, hard on the feet and a long way round.
As previous posters have pointed out, the off road alternatives to Wainwrights route across the Vale of Mowbray were slow muddy going and often over grown. I did encounter several stiles in poor repair.
My Plan was to follow the old Lyke Wake Walk route across the Moors from Osmotherley to Ravenscar. The first half to Blakey Ridge was straightforward but hard work into the teeth of driving rain and mist. I stayed at the August Guest House at Rosedale ( great by the way) but foolishly tried to cut across the valley to get to it using paths shown on the OS rather than the Guest Houses own instructions. Again an error. The paths did not exist or were hidden in the mist... half an hour effectively lost after a ten hour walk; followed by a four mile recovery detour back to the straight and narrow is no fun. The Moors are more dangerous than the lakes in the mist...no checkpoints to navigate to and from just a sea of heather.
Chastened by this; I got to the point on the moor road from Rosedale to Egton Bridge where the Lyke Wake route crosses to the east. The soaking, trackless, sea of heather in the mist forced discretion rather than valour; so I hit the road to Whitby and a taxi home after the toe dipping.
The moral is I guess that adding a bit of variety as Wainwright suggests can work but sometimes backfires. I was pleased with a ten day run; but next time will drop the pack with Sherpa or take a leisurely 12 days.
Indidentally, the walk was very quiet this year. Lots of groups of aged Aussies but very few Brits.