I get up first, as is our routine on this adventure. I begin to pack things up before waking Lauren for breakfast. Most of the laundry I did in the sink last night is still damp. Nothing to do but pack it in plastic and hope we get to our next stop before it's too stinky. Lauren wakes but she's not her normal self. She's flushed and her eyes don't look right.
I know she's sick when her breakfast is delivered and she just looks at it for a few minutes. Then she looks at me and asks if it's okay if she goes back to bed. I feel her forehead and she's a little warm. I send her back upstairs, eat some toast, drink some coffee and then go up to check on her.
After some discussion and more forehead feeling, we decide that Lauren's just not up for a 12 mile walk, although it's our only downhill all day walk of the whole adventure. I call the Sherpa Van and they confirm that they'll have room in the van to take us and our bags to Grosmont.
It's settled then. We're taking the day off. Lauren is much relieved and curls up in bed. I, on the other hand, am restless and eager to burn off steam. I know she's not feeling well and I'd never expect her to walk 12 miles while she's sick but I flirt with the idea of sending her in the van while I walk. I give it serious thought and decide it's not the most responsible choice and my place is with Lauren.
I finish packing and expect the van to pick us up about 10:30am. About 10:15, we drag the bags down to the foyer and sit in the library to read until our pickup. The rain starts coming down in thick sheets. We're cozy on a sofa in a beautiful home. (Guess what? I still want to be out there walking.) After two hours, the innkeeper stops in to check on us and brings Lauren a pot of tea. It's chilly in this old mansion and she's wrapped up in two of her sweatshirts and one of mine.
The van finally arrives at 2pm and we pile in. The driver has obviously been exerting himself today plus he's been rained on quite a bit. He smells worse than sheep dung. The van's windows are all closed and his bouquet fills our nostrils. He drives like a mad man, whipping around sharp corners, driving in the middle of the road until the last possible second when he jerks the van to the shoulder to make room for oncoming traffic. His right foot does only one of two things. It either slams on the gas pedal or it slams on the break. He knows nothing in between. Within a few miles, I am so car sick that I hear myself moan. I look at Lauren, who normally doesn't suffer from motion sickness. She is WHITE. She tells the driver to pull over. He doesn't. I shout "You gotta pull over!".
She gets out and...well, she just isn't feeling very well. She's never been this shade of pale before and she's clammy and shaking. The driver's itching to go because he's behind schedule. I don't give a fiddler's fart about his schedule; my daughter is sick.
We finally make it to the Station Tavern and half fall out of the van. As we walk into the pub to check in, we see Mic Dundee and the 3 Aussies having lunch. We "pssstttt" and then "pssstttt" again. Michele lifts her head and breaks into a huge smile. Pretty soon we're caught up in their embraces and laughter and they realize Lauren's not well. We go upstairs to drop our bags and promise to come down and join them shortly.
I realize that Lauren hasn't eaten anything today and that's probably half of the reason she's feeling so crappy. We join our buddies for a pint and I order Lauren a bowl of soup with bread and butter. The rest of us share a pint and joke about Mic stepping in a bog upto his crotch. I'd have given a lot to see that! There are jokes about how the muck is restorative and regenerates skin to youthfulness. Since Mic stepped in up to his crotch, well.... you can imagine the conversation. Before long, we have half the pub in on our laughter. It feels good to be with friends again and Lauren is looking better with every nasty joke.
Mic and the Aussies have to go but we promise to meet in Robin Hood's Bay in two days time. Hugs all around, more pictures and they're gone again quicker than we'd like. Lauren and I decide to poke around town and hope to see (if not ride on) the Hogwart's Express (from the first Harry Potter) movie, an old steam engine. We do see and hear a couple of trains pull into and out of the station but not THE train. Looking around the rest of town takes about 30 minutes. We spend most of that time in a bookstore and about 5 minutes in the co-op. That's it. Now what?
We head back to our room. There's no internet so we pass the time reading and talking. Lauren's still not quite herself but she's better than this morning.
While packing up and planning for tomorrow's walk, I make an amazing discovery. Tomorrow's walk to Littlebeck is only 4 miles. What? That's not gonna work. If we were in a place like Richmond or Grasmere, we could spend half the day looking around town and shopping and then walk but there's nothing here. Even worse, the only thing in Littlebeck is the farm at which we're booked.
We have an early dinner and try to get to sleep early. Sleep won't come for me. I have fleas in my bed. Enough said about that. I spend the night trying to come up with a better plan for tomorrow.
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.