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Deborah and Gwen's
Coast to Coast Diary
DAY 6 – an alternative route and a bit too much sun
Saturday 22nd July
Patterdale to Shap – 16 miles
Today would be our longest day so far and we were keen to be away reasonably early. The restrictions of communal breakfasting meant that it was 8.30 before we were able to leave – oh well, never mind. It was the usual long slow plod up to Angle Tarn but in much fresher weather and the retrospective views just got better and better. We met up with lots of fellow coast to coast walkers today. The Dutch couple, Henny and Albert, caught us up after making a long detour down into Martindale by mistake. They blamed it all on not deciphering the English guidebook but to compensate they did come into close contact with a herd of red deer that we only viewed from the distant ridge. We also met Steve and Sean, two chaps from a rotary club somewhere near Mansfield. We were to meet Steve and Sean many more times before reaching Robin Hoods Bay and got very intimate on the ‘foot front’ but more of that later.
After climbing past The Knott we turned sharp left onto the famous High Street. Soon after this point most walkers on the Wainwright route turn east to Kidsty Pike then drop to the shore side path along Haweswater reservoir. Mum had been told by one of her rambling friends that the reservoir path was very rough and a better option in good weather would be to stay high and continue north along the rest of High Street. By now there was barely a cloud in the sky so we chose the high level route, hoping that it might at least provide a bit of a breeze. We ate lunch at an altitude of 802 metres, sitting on the summit of High Raise, the highest point of our crossing. We continued along High Street, listed as a Roman Road on the OS map, for a further 3 miles. We did indeed get our cooling breeze but unfortunately forgot to top up the sun tan lotion and consequently got a little sunburnt.
Our OS map showed a bridleway descending to the north east just before Loadpot Hill. There was little evidence of it on the ground so the GPS came in useful once more, if only to give us confidence that the sheep track we were following was in fact the desired route. The track eventually led us back to civilisation just above the village of Bampton. The public footpaths through the surrounding farmland led us past a cottage where two ‘mature’ ladies were enjoying tea in the garden. One made a quip about ‘the poor old dear lagging behind’ Mum was quick to indignantly reply that ‘this poor old dear was walking the coast to coast’ The two ladies were suitably impressed and we all had a laugh. As we approached Bampton we met Stella from the village store out looking for her coast to coast guests, once she realised that we were not them she urged us to hurry if we wanted to get drinks at the store as her husband was about to cash up. We scurried into the shop at 5.05 and bought a carton of orange juice and 2 litres of lemonade from the fridge – instant Britvic 55’s.
We bathed our feet in the River Lowther at Bampton Grange then continued along the river through farmland to Shap Abbey. On the way we encountered a field of cows, then a bull, then a field of cows with very young calves and finally a cow in the process of giving birth. We watched from behind a hedge for a while but then gave her some privacy and walked on.
We were booked into Brookfield guesthouse right at the far end of Shap. As it was now 6.45 we gave Margaret a quick call to say we were still on our way and we finally arrived at 7.30 feeling tired, hot, sunburnt and decidedly grubby.
Margaret was very attentive and seemed a bit fussy to begin with but all was forgiven when she welcomed us into her beautiful house and offered to wash and dry all our dirty clothes. We had a super quick, cool shower, by choice and headed back down the road to the Greyhound pub for dinner. Just as we were leaving Brookfield who should turn up but Steve and Sean, both very foot-sore and Sean suffering from heat stroke. We left them in Margaret’s capable hands. Dinner at the Greyhound was excellent, we met up with Henny and Albert and also two young Dutch lads who were also doing the walk, one on his second crossing. Steve appeared a little later but without Sean explaining that he was not well enough to eat. Back at Brookfield, Margaret had lent Sean a foot spa with some of her special salts and I helped him dress the worst of his blisters with Compeed plasters. I think most of his blisters had gone beyond even the miracles of Compeed but he was determined to keep going. I still shudder remembering of the great swathes of skin hanging from his feet and I’m so grateful that our own feet held up so well. I stayed to chat to Steve and Sean for a while then retired for a very warm night – a consequence of too much sun today – oops!
Thought for the day:
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