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Deborah and Gwen's
Coast to Coast Diary
DAY 4 – Helm Crag beckoned but will have to wait for another day
Thursday 20th July
Stonethwaite to Grasmere – 8 miles
Woke at 6 a.m. to a very strange sound – RAIN! A very welcome change but it proved to be short lived and without much of a cooling effect.
We ate a delicious breakfast – grapefruit, apricots and prunes followed by a very tasty cooked breakfast and then toast and homemade preserves. We chatted to Tracy, a young woman from Seattle, doing the C2C on her own as two of her companions had backed out. Somehow we got a lesson in the Washington State and Federal tax systems – it’s amazing what you learn on a 192 mile walk.
We left Knotts View with our packed lunches and happy hearts. Mum was feeling much more optimistic now. She was wearing a pair of my ‘smartwool’ walking socks and Anne had assured her that things would improve or maybe it was just the damp start to the day.
It continued to drizzle as we walked up the left side of the valley but it brought no complaints from either of us. As we began the slow plod up towards Greenup Edge the rain eased and Mum put her waterproof back in the sack. We met a small group of bedraggled youngsters completing their Gold Duke of Edinburgh award. They had started their day at 2.30 a.m. trying to avoid the heat of the previous days; 10 minutes later we met their accompanying adult who was still cursing their choice of start time. Apparently he had to keep the group in sight but without being seen himself.
Half way up the climb we were overtaken by Henny and Albert and then caught by Tracy. She relayed to us her amusing experiences in the valley. As she left Knotts View she was met by a herd of sheep in the lane, the farmer thought she was in charge of a group of kids who were messing about, scattering the sheep in all directions throughout the tiny village. Tracy gave a convincing impression of the irate farmer banging his stick on the ground and shouting “WHEN A MAN IS MOVING HIS SHEEP, YOU GET OUT OF THE WAY”. I hope this is not the only impression she gets of the Lakeland farmers.
After passing Eagle crag we reached an unexpected corrie only to see Lining Crag looming above us with no alternative but to ascend it. Slowly but surely we climbed up to Greenup Edge and used the GPS for the first time to locate the head of Far Easedale as it was a touch misty and the path was not very clear.
We ate lunch at the head of the valley and phoned home to discover that Mum’s sister, Aunty Judy, had gone into hospital to have a pacemaker fitted. Our lofty position seemed to highlight the contrast – one sister walking 192 miles, the other having a heart related operation.
I fancied taking the route over Helm Crag but Mum didn’t want to chance her luck and anyway we needed to reach Grasmere in time to purchase some new socks – my smartwool socks were proving to be a great success, Mum’s feet were much more comfortable. Helm Crag will just have to wait for another day.
The route down was gentle but it got very hot again near the bottom as the sun finally emerged from the overcast sky. We treated ourselves to an ice cream as we neared Grasmere then did our sock shopping and bought groceries for tea tonight. It felt strange to be amongst tourists pottering about between art galleries and tea rooms and dodging the tour buses parked along side the road.
With a bottle of wine and provisions for dinner in the pack the 1 ½ mile plod to Broadrayne Farm was a bit further than we wanted but the extra mileage was well worth it. We got superb views of tomorrow’s route and the independent hostel at the farm was fantastic. We were met by Bev and his delightful 3 year old daughter Anya.
Mums rucksack was waiting for us as usual but it had a strange carrier bag tied onto it. On investigating, we discovered it contained a plug-in electric fan. Had some kind person sent us a gift? Still puzzled we phoned Sherpa Van who explained that it must have fallen off someone else’s luggage and delivered to us my mistake. We were told to leave it with our pack the following morning and the owner would surely claim it. This we did but later heard that no one ever claimed the fan and it still resides in the Sherpa Van lost property cupboard in Richmond.
Bev and Anya showed us to our room which was a 6 bed dorm. We had the room and its own en-suite facilities to ourselves. We made use of the washing machine (£2) and cooked supper in the well equipped kitchen. Corn on the cob, Salmon & new potatoes, then strawberries and cherries for desert all washed down with ¾ of a bottle of Pinot Grigio. The hostel is an eco-friendly converted barn and provides everything you could possibly need. It was one of the nicest hostels I have stayed in; I’ve certainly logged it in my memory for future use.
We had another early night, despite our relatively short day tomorrow.
Thought for the day:
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