Coast to Coast 2006

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      > Day 15
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Pennine Way 2008

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Deborah and Gwen's Coast to Coast Diary
Day 8
DAY 8 – the formidable Doreen Whitehead
Monday 24th July
Kirkby Stephen to Keld – 12 miles

Gillian served a good breakfast and stayed to chat for a while about returning to her town of birth to run Fletcher House. She seemed to have a sadness about her, she mentioned she had lost her parents in recent years which may explain her disposition.

We set off at 8.40 to the promise of another hot day. Kirkby Stephen was a convenient place to overnight and stock up on essentials but it is rather an uninspiring town with a lot of heavy traffic. We bought lunch provisions from the CoOp and left via Franks Bridge soon to reach the charming hamlet of Hartley. A 1½ mile stretch of road, uphill, past a huge quarry led us onto the moor again and the long pull up to the famous Nine Standards Rigg. The retrospective views over the Eden valley opened up as we climbed but the promised views of the Lakeland hills were obscured by the increasing heat haze. The nine cairns on the horizon seemed to move each time they came into view but at 11 a.m. we were finally there. On the way up we had been passed by a new C2Cer who boasted that he was doing a ‘double leg’ today, “all the way to Reeth” so he didn’t have time to stop to admire the view as we were doing. He was long gone when we reached the top and good luck to him! – can you detect my sarcasm? It wasn’t long before we were joined by Henny and Albert, Tracy, Steve and Sean and a lovely couple out on a day walk from Hartley. We hung around for an hour and I even dozed in the sunshine for a few minutes. Tracy set off before us after tales of her 26 mile trek yesterday – she had got very lost. We finally moved on at noon joining the rerouted permissive path signposted from the top. This alternative route, designed to reduce erosion, seemed to take us way too far to the south. It was so disconcerting to see my GPS continually indicating that we were off route that I eventually put it away and we just followed the marker posts. It took a long time to descend and we were very hot as there was very little air movement and absolutely no water to be found anywhere on the ground. We caught up with Tracy and together we walked the remaining mile to Ravenseat farm where be met up with Henny and Albert yet again. They all carried on whilst Mum and I paddled in the shallow ford and ate lunch under an insect infested tree. We made good use of the hosepipe in the farmyard to refill the bottles and generally cool off. Feeling refreshed we set off on the final leg, meeting up with Steve and Sean, for evermore to be known as ‘The Blister Boys’. As we approached Keld the temperature soared and we kept away from the road for as long as possible. We walked into the tiny village past the YHA where the two Dutch lads were sitting enjoying the view.
Arriving at Butt House was all and more than we anticipated. Doreen Whitehead, a larger than life character, met us at the door with a warm smile and strict instructions on where to remove our boots. “….and hang up your poles there please” she pointed to a neat row of pegs on the wall. “….I’ve banned walking poles from upstairs” she said pointing to a scratch on the new paintwork. Doreen is the sort of woman that you don’t argue with. We were shown to our room by Doreen’s husband, Ernest, and told to come straight back down for tea in the sitting room. A quick loo stop and we returned to join Henny and Albert for the most delicious tea, homemade scones, butter and jam and a large piece of chocolate cake each. Doreen soon reappeared with her notepad and took orders for dinner explaining that we were all to be assembled back in the sitting room by 7.30 p.m. She also instructed us on where we should sit around the large dining room table. Mum and I retired to have a bath; there was no shower in our room but oodles of hot water. Mum rested before dinner and I took a stroll around the village – I felt the need to borrow Mums watch so as not to be late back.

At 7.30 sharp we were all assembled in the sitting room, joined by 3 other guests who were walking the Pennine Way. Dinner was served by Ernest whilst Doreen scurried around in the kitchen. The food was all homemade and delicious; we even had the option of alcohol with our meal as Butt House is licensed. I tried a bottle of Black Sheep Ale which went very well with the beef casserole. Coffee was taken back in the sitting room and Doreen reappeared with her notepad once more whilst Ernest cleared the table. Breakfast orders were taken with great efficiency, strictly in room order with no butting in – that would really mess up Doreen’s system. Finally orders were taken for packed lunches and then we could relax. Doreen stayed to chat and we learned a bit more about the life of this amazing Dales woman and her husband Ernest.

Thought for the day:
– can’t believe we are half way already
Mum – everything I had heard about Keld is true – a memorable visit



Interesting seat at the start of Hartley Fell

Bridleway over Hartley Fell

Crossing Faraday Gill - Nine Standards on the horizon

Deb dozing at the cairns

Mum chatting to Tracy and the couple from Hartley

The waymarked seasonal route off Nine Standards Rigg

Cooling off in the ford at Ravenseat

Butt House Keld

Keld where the Coast to Coast crosses The Pennine Way

Looking down into Swaledale from Keld

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