Tuesday, 12 July 2011

A tale of two contrasting days

Yesterday was a glorious day, marred only by the service at breakfast at Hawes youth hostel. It was cool and overcast when I left and started the long ascent of Great Shunner Fell. What a wonderful walk it was - I enjoyed every minute. It was exactly what I needed to get me back on track after a day off. The sun came out and I had lunch at the excellently situated cross shaped shelter at the top. The descent into Thwaite was steady and I took advantage of a conveniently sited bench in the centre of the village to have a wee sit down and think to myself what a lucky girl I am. The tea shop beckoned but I resisted and set off up the hill for Keld. The going was slow on the rocky path around the hill but it was a lovely walk - all the time looking down on the river to my right.

Looking back towards Thwaite from the PW

The pretty village of Keld eventually came into view and I arrived at Keld Lodge at around half past three. Beer was drunk in the sunshine before I got round to checking in and later on lots of coast to coast walkers arrived. Keld lodge was very comfy and there was a great sense of camararderie because we were all there for the same reason. It's the only place I've ever been where conversation over breakfast about how many of your toenails have fallen of and which bits of your feet are festering most is not only acceptable, it's obligatory! I loved Keld Lodge and was sorry to say goodbye to it this morning.

Today was a different story.

The famous Tan Hill Inn - too early in the day to stop though!

Wet, boggy, unexciting uninspiring terrain and I missed a turning which added 2 miles to my day.

Bowes Moor is the bit after Tan Hill and it's a bit of an endurance test. There is no path to speak of because it's so wet and boggy. What you end up doing is vaguely aiming between two white posts and picking your way through. The bogs are knee deep and a careless step could mean getting seriously stuck. It was no fun at all and I (like Wainwright who called the bogs glutinous) was glad to see the back of them. The saving grace for today has been arriving at Clove Lodge. If you are doing the PW then Clove Lodge has to be one of the highlights. Don't miss it! Caroline is a wonderful hostess and to be faced with a pot of tea and a plate of cakes and biscuits on arrival was just what I needed. My room was fantastic with a big deep bath that I made the most of then it was down for drinks and dinner. There were three Dutch walkers staying as well as a father and son who I hade been passing on and off since Hawes and we all sat around one big round table. The meal and the chat was lovely - very civilised at the end of a not so civilised day. Even if you don't want B&B, there is a camping barn and space for tents so everyone is welcome whatever their budget.
It's time for bed now - an easy (hopefully) 14 miles tomorrow.
Janet Donnelly
Sent on the move

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