Another long, 14 mile day. We have breakfast and are seated next to some Brits who are also eating breakfast and quite honestly, I find them sort of annoying. This is odd because I've liked EVERYONE we've met. The wife is very demanding about how her eggs should be cooked and her toast should be thus and such and I just want to shove my wheatabix up her nose. Shut up and enjoy already!
We pack up and as we're heading out the door, here comes Owen. He's been wearing the same thing since St Bee's and ummm, well.... he smells like a barn yard. Rather than speak the obvious, I stand upwind and let Lauren stand downwind to enjoy his bouquet of stink. We're going to walk together again, which makes Lauren so happy that she and Owen soon leave me behind. I really don't mind because they are in sight and this leaves me to day dream rather than navigate. Although I resent (more than a little) that this stranger has stolen my daughter's loyalty and he's deciding where we go, I enjoy being able to simply wander. I listen to the water trickle, the birds sing, the lambs call to their mammas and the cows moo. I pet every cow I can and there are hundreds and hundreds. It doesn't take long before I'm way behind because one milker or two likes me almost as much as I like her and she nuzzles her head in the crook of my arm and I pet her until I realize that I need to reach Robin Hood's Bay at some point this year. I kiss her nose and tell her I love her. (It's not a lie. I love all cows.) Then I scramble like mad trying to catch up with Sacajawea and her dwarf friend.
Did I mention that it began raining the minute we stepped out of the pub this am? We donned our rain gear and set off with smiles. It rained all day long. Only a couple pictures of this leg of the walk because Mr. Camera doesn't like the liquid sunshine. To make this lovely rain even more enjoyable, we are crossing the Pennines today! They are the backbone of the UK and we will cross the watershed. From today's summit at the Nine Standards Rigg, all rivers flow eastwards to drain into the North Sea.
We cross Frank's Bridge (he was a brewer) on the way out of town. The water is amber and Lauren thinks I could scoop it up and it would taste like beer. It's pretty early in the am so I'm not very tempted....yet. However, we follow this for quite a while.
We begin to climb and we continue to do so for what seems like forever. It's a nasty climb and again I wonder what in the hell I was thinking when I decided I could do this. Lauren is way ahead of me, talking and laughing and I feel like crap. 13 years olds are annoying and yet I am proud of her. She is so strong in ways I never knew before this adventure.
After climbing for about 2 hours, the path splits into 3. One is the low route and recommended when the weather is wet. Lauren wants to take the high road so that we can climb to the summit to see the Nine Standards Rigg (this means nine piles of stones). Is she sick?
We took the high road, which was steep and muddy and the wind was blowing like hell. We were so cold and felt ultra exposed to the elements. We finally made it to the summit and found the Nine Standards Rigg. It was impressive and Lauren commented that at any other time in my life, I would have spent hours ooohhhhing and ahhhhhing and taking a thousand pictures. We took two quick pictures and beat feet to descend to warmer temperatures.
The way down was a maze through peat bogs. What a mess! We had to make our way down several hundred feet of mountain by walking through and around bogs. More than once, we were in above our boots in greenish-brown yuck. The stink was unique. Don't think of stealing that. I'm making it into a T-shirt to sell at the bottom of the Nine Standards Rigg. It took forever to navigate around these stinky holes of mess that you don't realize are there until you step into one. I hate peat bogs.
After a couple of hours of soaking ourselves in peat, we hit tarmac and walked and walked and walked. After hours of passing abandoned stone farm houses, barns and outbuildings, we finally hit the booming town of Keld. It has a camp ground, a church and a pub. Guess where we stayed?!?! Of course - the pub!
We had a good meal and two glasses of wine followed by a hot shower. We crawled into bed knowing that we faced another 14 mile day in the morning. I love warm feather ticks and open pub windows that let in chilly night air. We snuggled under our covers and drifted off to a happy, tired sleep.
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.