DAY SEVEN -KIRKBY STEPHEN TO KELD – 13 MILES
Thursday 14th June 2012
Well, you will remember that I went to bed last night somewhat concerned about the exploded blister on my right little toe. On examination in the morning it looked like the side of my toe had been blown away, which in a way I suppose it had. I cleaned it and carefully bound it up with a Compeed blister plaster.
At breakfast, as well as Pam and Dave, there was New Zealand couple and a American lady, all doing the C2C. After breakfast I headed to the Chemist. They confirmed that the way I was treating the blister was the best way. I bought some more antiseptic wipes and some more Compeed plasters, as my supply was getting a bit low. I have been using them preventively.
All of this set me back quite a bit, and when I set off after 9 am, I think all the C2Cers were long on the path, certainly I didnt see anyone until well into the afternoon. Because of the blister, I knew that I would have to take things a lot slower. Normally, I walk at a fair pace, but to protect my feet (the tendency with a blister is to favour it, which means ending up pressing more on other parts of the foot) I would need to go much slower. So I was glad that I didnt meet anyone early on, and I could just make a pace that was comfortable for me. I think that it will have to be like this until the blister heals up somewhat – but that is fine, I am more than used to walking on my own; that’s the way I normally walk in the Lake District.
As I left the town, I crossed this lovely bridge.
I then headed up past a large working quarry. Once I was up above it, there were some lovely views back over the Cumbrian countryside.
It was much windier today, and therefore considerably colder than the last few days.
I was now coming into the moors.
The cloud was hanging over the higher moors, which limited the view of what was to come.
At least I knew that, so far, I was on the right track!
I continued to climb and it wasn’t too long before I was in cloud. Then suddenly through the clouds there they were – the Nine Standards. Nobody seems to be absolutely sure why they were built. Some say that they were boundary markers, others say that they may have been decoys to worry the army of Bonny Prince Charlie.
This was real peat bog country and great care was needed in places not to get a boot full of muddy water. I had one or two moments where I nearly came a cropper, but managed to escape the disaster of wet socks. I was wearing gaiters, and I guessed that must have helped. To be honest, it wasn’t as boggy as I had expected. I guess all the dry weather this year has helped.
There are three different routes across this part of moors, the Red, the Blue and the Green. These are seasonal, and walkers are asked to follow the appropriate route for the season. This is to try and control the erosion caused by so much walker traffic. I, of course, was following the Red route.
It was very confusing up here on the moors. I am convinced that without the GPS I would have got lost. I usually have a very good sense of direction, but up here everything looked so much the same. I knew I needed to head south, and I was heading south, but I felt somehow I had turned around. If I hadn't had the GPS I would have doubted myself and probably gone wrong.
Gradually, I came down out of the cloud and the day began to brighten up. You can see my next destination up ahead – the cairn sticking up in the middle distance.
And here it is close up.
You can see that the weather was clearing up nicely.
It was around here that I was passed by a couple of Australians. They seemed to have been following the Green route, which joined up with my red route. We exchanged pleasantries, as they passed, but I let them pass quickly, I needed to keep going at my pace, not anyone elses.
A little later I found a sheltered spot to stop for lunch. I was happily munching on my Mars bar, when a woman came around the wall from where I had just come from. I was surprised to see her, but not as surprised as she was to see me. At the top of her voice she shouted back to her friends (not yet in sight) “I came around the corner to have a wee, and there is a man sitting here having his lunch!” Soon her friends arrived too. They stopped to speak to me, and I soon realised that we had met them towards the end of yesterday’s walk into Kirkby Stephen. They had told us that they were doing the C2C in stages over a period of weeks. Yesterday, there were four of them, today there were only three. I didn’t ask what had happened to the fourth member. They too were heading to Keld, but intended to stop at the nearby farm for refreshments.
The farm in question was Ravenseat. It was a beautiful, but isolated place.
This lovely bridge marked the entrance to the farm. The three ladies I met earlier were there enjoying their refreshments. I pressed on, and though I still had to keep to my slower pace, I was determined not to be overtaken by three “senior” women. Male pride or what!
From the escarpment that followed, there was a lovely view down to Whitsundale Beck below.
My first view of the beautiful Swaledale Valley, that is going to be such a feature of the next few days walking.
A lovely little bridge over the the river Swale.
Wain Wath Force. Again, the lack of water was very evident. It seems that even Yorkshire is suffering from the drought.
A view across Swaledale.
And finally the lovely little hamlet of Keld. The HALFWAY POINT in my walk across England! Up until now all the rivers I have passed have flowed in a generally western direction, from now on they will be flowing east.
I am staying at the Keld Lodge, which is a really lovely place. All the places I have stayed have been very good, but there is something special about this place. It has, of course, a beautiful view, but also a really friendly ambience. It is also the only place with a licence to sell alcohol, so it was a gathering place for most people staying in Keld and, therefore had a lovely atmosphere. It also has a lovely restaurant, and as I write this I have enjoyed a lovely meal and am now finishing off a lovely pint of cider.
When I arrived in the bar I met a couple who were staying at the same B&B as me in Shap. They were called Perry and Angie, a really lovely couple, and we had a good chat. You may remember that that was the day I also encountered Dutch Mat for the the third time. Perry told me that Matt had nearly missed his bus to Penrith. He had had to chase after it, and it had stopped in the middle of the road and caused a major traffic incident, holding up the traffic.
As you can perhaps tell, my mood has lifted since last night. I know that I will now have to be extra careful about my blister, and go slower than perhaps I normally would, but today has proved that that shouldn’t be a problem. If I take things at my own pace I should be OK. The only downer is that rain is forecast for tomorrow, so it looks like the waterproofs will be out for the first time since Day Two.