Alfred Wainwright's classic Coast-to-Coast route is set to be consistently waymarked for the first time.
The Wainwright Society has announced that permission has been granted to waymark the walk, following discussions with all the local authorities that lie along the route.
Parts of the Coast-to-Coast have been waymarked already, they say, but a new waymarker featuring Wainwright's 'AW' signature will now appear on finger posts wherever the route crosses a public road. The Society hopes that the waymarking will be completed during 2013, the fortieth anniversary of the publication of Wainwright's original guidebook.
The iconic route runs for at least 309km/192 miles (estimates vary) between St Bees on the Cumbrian coast to Yorkshire's Robin Hood's Bay, passing through three English National Parks along the way - the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. Though it is not an official National Trail in the mould of the Pennine Way it still rates as one of the most popular long-distance walks in Britain, with an estimated 5000 – 7000 walkers completing the crossing from coast to coast annually.
Part of the Society's rationale for waymarking is to accord public recognition of the route on the ground. It is not intended that the waymarks should mark every step of the way, say the Society, as the 'essence of the walk is that people should guide themselves across the route using the guidebook, and, more importantly, a map and compass'.
The route crosses a number of remote mountain areas where the ability to navigate is essential. Earlier this month a family of Coast-to-Coasters caused a stir when they were rescued in the Lake District on two days in a row, having failed to carry a map and compass (see UKH news report here.)
A longer-term objective of the Society is to have the route marked on Ordnance Survey maps, and to that end there will be further discussions with the relevant authorities once the Coast to Coast Walk has been waymarked, they say.