We got an early start knowing that this day would be our first real taste of the Lake District. We could see our challenge off in the distance - Dent Hill. We knew we'd have to tackle it eventually and climb over it to the other side but until then, we enjoyed a leisurely stroll through fields of sheep and horses and the sun was shining. Another amazing day to enjoy an amazing adventure.
Then the map didn't match the terrain. Hey! What's going on here? We weren't lost...we were just unsure about where to go. Like magic, Mike, Amsty, baby Max and father-in-law appeared with a real map in hand. We discussed where to go and when we showed them our guide book, they were taken aback and made awful faces. They couldn't believe that the book we were carrying was our only map. They showed us their topographical map and we ooohhhed and aaahhhed at the detail and happily followed them. We made our way to the base of Dent Hill.
Please allow me to stop here and complain about the dumb ass who named Dent Hill. It is not a hill. It is a mountain. We are pushing for a change to all of the maps of the world to change "Dent Hill" to "Dent Mountain".
Mike and Amsty were careful never to get too far out of sight so that they could make sure we were on the right path. More than once, they stopped and waited for us to catch up and cheer us on. The climb from the base to the summit took us about 90 minutes and the view from the top was breathtaking. We had a 360 degree view of the world and what a view it was!!! We stood there, mouths hanging open, in awe of what we'd just accomplished when the temp began to plummet and the sky looked unfriendly. We gave Mike and Amsty our heartfelt thanks and pushed onward in order to make it to the farm before the skies opened.
Mike and Amsty broke out their stove, made a pot of tea, changed and fed baby Max, repacked all of their crap and still managed to catch us and leave us in their dust yet again. Lauren and I are convinced that they are both part billy goat. Nothing could slow them down.
It turns out that the descent of Dent Mountain proved harder than the ascent. We didn't see that coming. It was very, very steep and in no time my shins were on fire and my toes were so crushed into the toe box of my boots that I thought I'd never uncrinkle them again. Mike and Amsty hollered back to us that it would be easier on our feet and legs if we zig-zagged back and forth across the slope. Their advice was helpful and after 45 mins or so, we finally made it to the valley floor. When we looked back behind us, we couldn't believe that we had actually made it down that slope. Unfortunately, Mr. Camera was still on strike so you'll have to trust us on this. It was unbelievable!!
After a couple hours of a fairly flat walking along Nannycatch Beck (a little stream) among the sheep, we began a slow climb out of the valley yet again. Just out of the valley, we found Low Cock How Farm, where we spent a very nice night. It's not actually in Ennerdale Bridge - it's about a mile and half shy, which means that we would have to make up that distance the next day. Since we arrived so early in the day, we had the chance to look around the farm, meet some horses and make friends with a few dogs. It's a working farm with all of the smells one would expect...thankfully we were pretty tired.
It was this night that we met two charming British men also doing the walk. They were doing it in only 12 days and had done various parts of the walk on several occasions. They were professional walkers and sort of kept to themselves. They weren't rude by any means but...they knew they were out of our league. We also met "the old guy" who had set out that morning from St Bee's on his own. Turns out, he's 80 years old and is doing the walk all alone. I was pretty impressed to say the least. We sat by the fire and watched a football game with him (soccer). He drank about 10 cups of tea in 3 hours.
So, our evening was consumed sitting by the fire eating pizza that we had delivered. (That in itself was unbelievable.) The old guy didn't have anything to eat so Lauren shared her pizza with him. We had a nice night and tried very hard to ignore the sun as it came through our sky light at 11pm. We finally drifted off and had dreams of mountains and pizza.
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.