Margaret fed us until we were bursting at the seams. We exchanged emails and hugs and more hugs. I was honored when she said that she felt like we were "old friends that would meet again". She was such a kind-hearted lady. I do hope she is right.
We set off out of her back garden, down a lane that went under the railroad. We followed the map but found ourselves facing a fence that was all tied up with barbed wire, which is a sign that the resident farmer doesn't want walkers going across his fields. (I'm late to explain that England has "public footpaths" that criss-cross all over the country, even through private farms and fields. The Countryside & Rights of Way Act of 2000, or "Right to Roam" as dubbed by walkers, came into effect in 2005. It allows greater public access to areas of countryside but with this access comes responsibility. Walking through a farmer's fields of crops or cattle is a privilege and Lauren and I do our best to make sure to leave every step of land the way we found it.) Rather than piss off a farmer, we looked for another way and a neighboring sheep farmer gave us permission to wander through her fields to an old quarry road until we could again meet up with the Coast to Coast.
Are Americans this accommodating?
The day went on quite nicely. The sun joined us again and the going was not difficult. The terrain was certainly changing with every mile. I've never seen miles and miles of green fields void of trees. We talked to a couple other walkers but as always, they soon left us in their dust and all alone. At some point, I sensed the presence of another person and noticed a lone walker approaching from a few miles behind. I told Lauren and we began to pretend that the walker was a zombie. I made some disgusting remark about pooping on the trail as a zombie repellent but then we began to joke that the walker might be a turd-eating zombie. (This is how we pass the time. If it bothers you, don't read any further.)
We eventually stopped to eat our packed lunches from Margaret. (She is such a generous soul. She had tucked a Coast to Coast pin inside the package of Lauren's sandwich!) The zombie approached ever closer so we gathered our things and set off a bit faster. There was no one else in sight....just my baby girl and me and the turd-eating zombie. He grew ever closer until we could hear him behind us. We were walking as fast as we could when the guide book tucked in my belt fell and I had to go back to get it. The zombie was looming over head as I stood, ready to stab him with a walking stick.
It was only Owen. To our knowledge, he does not eat poop nor is he a zombie but we don't know him very well so time will tell. I'm keeping an eye on him, just in case.
He walked with us into Orton. We visited the Chocolate Factory (Lauren and I don't really like chocolate and didn't buy anything but Owen spent many, many pounds on truffles that were gone before I could get my pack back on) and then we went next door to the King's Head Pub. I headed straight for the lou and when I came out, Lauren was animated and jumping up and down. Guess who had come from Shap to make sure we'd made it??? Yep. Margaret.
She and Les (her husband whom we'd not yet met) had driven over to "drop off luggage" but we didn't buy that story. She came to make sure we were safe. Les told me that she hadn't stopped talking about us since we arrived and he needed to meet us just to shut her up! We talked awhile and promised to be safe and keep in touch. Margaret was so pleased to see that Lauren was proudly wearing the pin she'd been given. More hugs goodbye and they were gone.
We had a pint or two and then said goodbye to Owen (again) and wandered off to our B&B, which wasn't really our B&B but we didn't know that at the time. After some confusion and pulling out of confirmation emails from my pack, we discovered that we were actually booked in a place 3 miles out of town! The innkeepers were so happy that the mistake wasn't theirs, they gladly drove us to the right place where we were happy to find we had an ENORMOUS tub in which to soak. Our new innkeepers were happy to have us and after we each had a long, hot bath, we were again off to Dream Land.
17 Day Itinerary
Our walk begins in St. Bee's on the West Coast of Great Britain at the Irish Sea. Almost 200 miles later, we will find ourselves at the North Sea in Robin Hood's Bay.
Day 1 - Moor Row, 9 miles The Jasmine House
Day 2 - Ennerdale, 8 miles Low Cock How Farm
Day 3 - Seatoller, 14 miles Seatoller Farm
Day 4 - Grasmere, 10.5 miles Town Head Farm
Day 5 - Patterdale, 7.5 miles Grisdale Lodge
Day 6 - Shap, 16 miles Brookfield House
Day 7 - Orton, 8 miles The Westons
Day 8 - Kirby Stephen, 13.5 miles The Black Bull
Day 9 - Keld, 14 miles Keld Lodge
Day 10 - Richmond, 14 miles The Old Brewery
Day 11 - Danby-Wiske, 14 miles Old School House
Day 12 - Osmotherly, 12 miles 32 South End
Day 13 - Clay Bank Top, 11 miles The Maltkiln House
Day 14 - Blakley Ridge, 8.5 miles The Sevenford House
Day 15 - Grosmont, 14 miles The Station Inn
Day 16 - Robin Hood's Bay, 16 miles The Raven House
Of course, these distances don't account for getting lost and doubling back a few times, avoiding an aggressive herd of heifers or navigating the moors.... or wandering off in search of a pint.