13.5 miles loom in front of us but after having done a 16 mile day, we know its entirely doable. We decided to walk with Owen (he has a big boy map not a Little Golden Book map like ours) and Lauren seems to have bonded to him. I frequently call him an angry elf. He's actually more dwarfish.
The sun was with us again as our innkeepers dropped us off back in Orton and we were again off on our westward track. We walked along seemingly endless stone walled fields and my mind wanders and tried to imagine who built these amazing things. They have stood for hundreds of years without any kind of mortar or cement of any kind and they are things of beauty. I day dream as I walk and the miles tick away. Lauren sings like a bird.
We reach Tarn Moor and after a few more miles we find ourselves along Sunbiggin Tarn (a tarn is a lake), which is apparently a really important sanctuary for ground nesting birds. The stone fences continue and there is an actual path to follow so the map checking diminishes greatly. According to our guidebook, we walked right by the "Severals Village Settlement", which is said to be one of the most important prehistoric sites in Britain. We never saw a damn thing but again, I already told you that I was day dreaming and Lauren was singing.
We've learned that the Brits are nasty bastards when it comes to posting mileage markers for upcoming hamlets. For example, we found ourselves facing a wooden sign reading "Kirby Stephen, 2 miles". Oh, how nice. After more than an hour of walking and no civilization in sight, we happen upon a different sign reading "Kirby Stephen, 1 3/4 miles". Bullshit. After about 3 hours, we finally stumbled into the town, foot sore and suffering from a powerful thirst.
We are happy to find our home for the night at the Black Bull Hotel. How convenient, it's also a pub. We have a pint with Owen and then wander off in different directions to shower and change and do laundry in our bathroom sink. We enjoy a yummy dinner and some wine and tuck into bed early. (Funny how this walk has affected our schedule. Lauren the Night Owl now gets up by 7:45am at the latest and we are both asleep before 9:30pm.)
We walk 14 miles tomorrow and we are still aching from today. Sweet Dreams.
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.