I woke up this morning at just gone 10, I looked at the clock, noted the time and rolled back over. Then the date registered. I thought for a second, what day was it we were going? Tuesday? Was that the 14th or 15th? Have I got another day or is this it? Today is the final day before we set off on our Coast to Coast trip, we being myself and Jonny, who is best described as old school mate and drinking buddy.

I got out of bed and got dressed, no messing around. I need to make sure I have everything for tomorrow, and if not I’ve got until tonight to get it. So into the loft I go and get down my trusty rucksack that has seen me through bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh awards as well as several camping trips with friends and the occasional music festival. Last time I went camping I made sure that I had put all of my equipment inside the bag so when I needed it again I would know where it was, the sensible thing to do. However, and you’ve guessed it, all of the equipment that I was hoping to just tick off has gone walk about. Great.

This means that my plan of just walking round to Tesco and getting some food has gone sailing out of the window. I knew there were a few things that would be missing but these were all little things which I thought I could do without, but now I don’t even have a roll mat. Things could get a bit serious. I thought I’d go to Tesco and get my food anyway, while there I got a text from Jonny. He had already planned to go into town and buy his last minute supplies today and so for him it was no extra panic. I replied to Jonny, saying that I’d meet him at the station.

Jonny and I went round town, looking in all of the cheaper shops to find the bits and bobs that we needed. I found a roll mat in a 99p shop, this could be an error but I’m willing to give it a bash. While in there we both decided some cutlery would be good, so we didn’t have to eat like animals with out bear hands. Jonny found a reasonably priced hydration bladder in Sports Direct and while we were in there I found a new hat which, Jonny reliably informs me, makes me look like a complete berk. A final quick check in Blacks to make sure there was nothing that we were forgetting and we went back home. A quick stop in Tesco to get the food and we parted ways.

Also on our way back from town we decided to pick up the train tickets. These had been bought in advance to save as much money as humanly possible. Our tickets cost us £20 each. I looked up today to see what it would normally cost and I am pleased to say we have saved more that £90 per  person, just getting there. Jonny told me he had used the service before and it is a doddle, all you do is put your card in the machine and it spits out tickets. What he didn’t tell me was you also need a booking number, which is in the email they send you confirming the payment. By the time I’d got the email up on my phone the machine had timed out and I had to start again. The second time I hit the wrong button because the machines touch screen is badly aligned. Third attempt, the email has two different reference numbers quoted, obviously I chose the wrong one and therefore had to start again. On the fourth try,  it finally spat out the tickets. Well thank god for that.

While on the subject if train tickets, can I also make it known that we are leaving from one local station, going all the way to London, walking across London because the tube isn’t open at that time in the morning, and then getting another train which is going to go through another station not 10 miles from our start point. When I queried about starting at this station I was told the fair would be three times more! For a shorter journey! I have no idea how that works but can I just say if you are planning a long journey by train it really does pay to try all the search options.

All I now had was the unenviable task of packing everything into my rucksack. It didn’t really take very long and despite the fact that it is full of tins the pack isn’t very heavy. I still have to add to this my share of the tent, which Jonny is bringing, and currently all my bottles and hydration bladders are empty but that shouldn’t be a problem.

On other blogs about walking the coast to coast it is usually this post where the writer talks about the contents of their pack, so here goes:

Most of the clothes I am taking are everyday run of the mill clothes, similar to what I wear every other day of the year. I have replaced my usual jeans with black cotton trousers, which were £7 a pair from Primark. I have bought two pairs with me. Lightweight jackets and fleeces which I already own will be protected from the rain, where necessary, by waterproof poncho’s and a crushable pair of waterproof trousers. This should keep me, and hopefully my pack, dryish.

I have, however, splashed out on a pair of Hi-gear men’s trekker gaiters. I will not be wearing these on the train because after buying them online and seeing what arrived in to post I am not sure that the strap which goes under the shoe will survive the concrete London streets. Only time will tell if they will survive at all, but at least they were quite cheap and even with the bottom strap gone, they should still provide some protection.

A new pair of walking boots. These were the Hi-Tec Scarfell walking boots. They have been bought some time now and I have been using them when ever I can to make sure they are well and truly broken in. I have been on several long walks in them so far in and around home, only one time did I get any blisters, but that was a truly long walk and they did get wet inside, from water coming over the top. These boots so far have kept their waterproof abilities in all but water being soaked by my socks in long grass. The gaiters should stop this problem.

Other little bits and bobs which I have splashed out on include a walking pole, a new hat (wide brimmed to protect both face and neck), a solar panelled mobile phone charger (which should keep me in contact with the outside world, ever when we are staying at hostels with no electricity) and a new hydration bladder.

Other things I’m taking include the Harvey strip maps of the entire route. This has been printed on PVC sheets so it is completely impervious to the rain. The entire route is on just two maps as well, this means that  I haven’t got to carry lots of ordinance survey maps. As well as all the essentials for just-in-case survival (first aid kit, whistle, compass etc.) I have also upgraded my mobile phone with a battery which has a much longer life. This means I can use the GPS function on it much more freely without the battery running down. Included on the phone I have the viewranger app, which I will hopefully be using to track the progress made each day, this app shows where, how fast, altitude, when and many other useful features which can be plotted on graphs. GPS essentials is another app which is better for real time tracking of data, with a head up screen showing all the current GPS data in an easy way. It also has an interface with the camera to help lead the way if you tell it where you are trying to get to. Grid Reference is probably the most simple app, and is likely to be the most useful in navigating. Using the GPS it converts the Long. and Lat. co-ordinates into a UK grid reference, which can be checked against a map. This will help tell us exactly where we are when we, inevitably, lose our way. A final app which I have got, which although not strictly relevant, to survival and map reading, is Mountain Navigator. Simply pointing the camera at the horizon should in theory tell you exactly what the mountain you are looking at is called. We shall see.

Tomorrow, the adventure begins…