Isle of Man to Whitby roughly along the coast to coast walk

I need to pick my destination airports more wisely. A small airfield outside of Whitby may have seemed like the ideal location to turn back and land at after flying over Robin Hood’s bay but these grass runways with no lights are difficult enough to spot during the day, impossible at night (I double checked on Google Earth to see what the runway should have looked like and it’s as difficult to pick out on that as it is in FS2020)

I also need to keep an eye on my fuel as when you’re circling around enjoying the view your range is obviously a lot less than indicated in the flight-planner. To be fair I would have made it if I knew where to land but it’s not the first time I’ve ran out of fuel.

Well, you live and learn.

Coast to Coast Walk
The coast to coast walk, map below is a popular cross-country walk devised by fellwalking pioneer Alfred Wainwright, it runs from St Bee’s to Robin Hood’s Bay and crosses three national parks; The Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, and North York Moors.

source:The Coast to Coast, May 2010. | A Nice Walk

I start my journey on the Isle of Man (Andreas airfield) since there are no airfields on the West Coast of Cumbria where the walk begins.

Most of the sea crossing looks like this.

As we approach the Cumbrian coast, St Bee’s Head appears through the gap in the clouds. Sadly the terrain resolution isn’t enough to render a sandstone cliff but we can hope for the future. St Bee’s village and beach are also visible to the south where the walk begins.

The town of Whitehaven at the northern end of St Bee’s head with its historic harbour visible just beneath the plane’s tail. This was the last part of the UK to be invaded by enemy soldiers, in a daring raid during the US War of Independence.

Flying onwards we reach Ennerdale Water, the westernmost of the Lake District’s lakes. The cloud begins to lift towards the upper end of the valley and the mountain known as Pillar is picked out in the evening light.

The walk continues towards Seathwaite over the point from which many of the Lake District’s glacial valleys fan out. Buttermere and Borrowdale respectively are popular viewpoints within a short walk of each other and conected by toad via Honister Pass which the walk includes.

At this point we encounter Helvellyn, which at 949m is the highest point we will cross. I have to steepen my rate of ascent in order to just clear the summit. The walk meanwhile avoids this fell, heading instead down the valley visible to the right of the top image, to the village of Grasmere. Well-trod footpaths can be seen crossing the mountain ridge while just to the left of the plane in the final image is the famous Striding Edge, a sharp and narrow (popular but perilous) ridge walk (looks a bit smoother here thanks to the terrain resolution).

East of Helvellyn we head towards the foot of Ullswater, the easternmost natural lake in the Lake District.

Turning southwards slightly, we pass over High Street. This unusually named mountain is so called because of the Roman Road the followed its summit ridge (running left to right near the top of the image). ‘Street’ was the English word for a Roman Road before it became the term for a local road in an urban area. Two-thousand years ago, all the valleys in this part of the country would have been heavily forested and so right up until the 1700s, travellers preferred to stick to high ground where the way ahead was clearer and they were safer from attack.

To our left, Haweswater Reservoir is the last lake we will encounter

Windermere, the largest lake in England is visible in the distance.

Leaving the mountains behind us, we fly over Lonsdale where we see the M6 Motorway and West Coast Main line running (north to south from the bottom of the central image) through a narrowing of the valley where the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national parks touch, and towards the main population centres of England. Immediately below the plane is Tebay services, a popular stopping off point for motorists. After that we rejoin the coast to coast as it heads eastwards up the River Lune and into the Yorkshire Dales.

The landscape now is rather different. No craggy hills or lakes, but instead green valleys with farmland along them snake between windswept moors. The Mallerstang valley lies at the head of the River Eden and carries the Carlisle to Settle famous scenic railway as we leave Cumbria and enter Yorkshire.

Once in Yorkshire we begin to follow the River Swale through Swaledale, one of the national park’s major dales, flying high above any walkers following the same route.

Two towns appear below us as the Swale emerges from its moorland corridor into the broad plain that makes up much of Yorkshire.The historic market town of Richmond on the left is a key stopping-off point for walkers to rest and refuel, while on the right and in the lower image we fly over Catterick Garrison, which, as it’s name suggests, is a huge army base.

It isn’t just the army who have made North Yorkshire their home. The runway at RAF Leeming stands out against the dark evening light.

Crossing the A19 near the village of Crathorne, the east coast comes into view to the north, at Teeside, a conurbation comprising the towns of Middlesbrough and Stockton

Out over the Cleveland Hills, we enter our third and final National Park, the North York Moors, a relatively smaller region of coastal hills and dales.

Below us, the town of Whitby, famous as the setting for Bram Stoker’s Dracula and in modern times as a holiday destination, fishing port and once-yearly hangout for goths and steampunks at Whitby Goth Festival.

Before we land, we’ll fly out over the North Sea to get a better look at Robin Hood’s Bay

It’s getting dark now but we can make out the official end-point of the coast to coast walk.

I’ll spare you the fifteen minutes I spent flying around looking for somewhere to land while my fuel levels dropped closer and closer to zero, but somewhere down there, visible out my left window just above the engine as I came down low for a closer look, is the runway I was supposed to land at. Just in case you’re thinking ‘how hard can it be to spot a runway from the air at a distance of about 100m?’ this is what it looked like on Bing Maps when I looked for it later on.


Some of those grass strips are really hard to spot. Find some large flat white stones, and line the sides of the runway. That would be a handy global mod, if such a thing were possible.

Nice set of shots!

To add my tuppen’orth Tebay Services, although a motorway (freeway) stopping point, has simply the best and most delicious fresh farm products including my favourite, spicy beef jerky. Chewing one of those can last nearly all the way to Bradford!

And while you’re in Whitby, the best fish and chip shop in England is The Magpie in the harbour area. In case you’re interested the best fish and chip shop in Scotland is in Troon Harbour and is called the Wee Hurrie.

Ah nostalgia…