The West Coast walk is also 100 miles of fine country walking. It is set out to be completed in 7 days, but because there are more places to stay it can be extended to as many as 12 days. This walk takes in a lot of the most popular natural features in the Yorkshire Dales, but heads out into some really wonderful wild places as well. The crowning glory is the brilliant light that always seems to shine out of the wide open sea and sand of Morecambe Bay.
Most popular itinerary
Day 1 – From Grassington across Boss Moor to the The Weets above the Craven Fault beyond which is Goredale Scar – well worth a visit. Then Malham for lunch and a steady walk up Malham Cove followed by a traverse of land all the way to Settle. 15 miles
Day 2 – An gentle morning through Feizor to Clapham for lunch, followed by an ascent of Ingleborough and the long down hill path into the village of Ingleton. 15 miles.
Day 3 – Although Ingleborough on Day 2 is the highest climb, Gragareth on this day, is the steepest. Up Ingleton Glen or the alternative side road, along Kingsdale to Yordas Cave, then to the top of Gragareth and a choice of routes – round the high ridge, with very little extra effort, to Great Coum, from where the path drops down into the top end of Barbondale and the impressive fells of Old Westmorland. This is a ‘two pack lunch’ day and ends in Kirkby Lonsdale. 16 miles (or plus 1 mile for the Great Coum route).
Day 4 – And so to the sea….. But a bit of gentle walking first. Over Farleton Fell and the edge of Hutton Roof to Burton-in-Kendal for lunch. Then, after crossing the M6, enter the fine open woodland which provides a haven and sanctuary for many birds. There is a reserve at Leighton Moss and the wildlife must spill out into these woods. The coastal village of Silverdale is just ahead.
Day 5 – This is a different day for long distance walkers because it includes a short train ride over the sands from Burnside to Grange-over-Sands for lunch. On the other side of the hill behind Grange is the amazing village of Cartmel with its priory and racecourse. Only 7.5 miles (walking) but for those who want more it is easy enough to continue to Haverthwaite.
Day 6 – Up the hill behind Cartmel and suddenly there is an expansive view across the Leven estuary, which on a clear day, will show the unmistakeable silhouette of the Castle on Piel Island. There is a good ridge walk before coming down to sea level, at which altitude the remaining miles are walked to Ulverston. 14 miles
Day 7 – The whole day is walked with the sea and sand on the left. It will be a bright day, even in rain or dull weather – Morecambe Bay is really all about the light of the sky. At Roa Island (which is no longer an island but joined by a modern road), there is an open boat out to Piel Island where the pub has undergone a major three year refurbishment. Piel Island is a jewel in the sparkling sea of Morecambe Bay. This charming little fifty acre island has a King, a Castle and a Pub, all steeped in history. 11 miles or 16.5 to Barrow.
Day 8 – If an extra day is possible it is worth staying for the night and then walking across from Piel Island over the estuary sands onto Walney Island (this is the way all the beer and supplies get to the pub on Piel Island, by truck!), and from there round into Barrow-in-Furness. 9 miles to Barrow.
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