Coast to Coast 2006

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Pennine Way 2008

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Deborah and Gwen's Coast to Coast Diary
Day 9
DAY 9 – a day of hay barns, walls and squeeze stiles
Tuesday 25th July
Keld to Reeth – 11 miles

Breakfast at 8.00 was a communal affair, all 7 of us seated around the table in the same positions as last night, as per Doreen’s instructions. Mum and I tucked into fresh fruit salad and the fluffiest scrambled eggs imaginable whilst others enjoyed a very hearty cooked breakfast. Homemade bread and preserves and plenty of tea – Yum!
We collected our lunches and prepared to leave, we were the last to go but found it difficult to get away. Doreen talked so amusingly about the trials and joys of living in Keld and of her many conversations with her MP, William Hague. We had read somewhere that it could be said that ‘Doreen had him in her back pocket….’ well she and Ernest did seem to get things done around this part of Swaledale. Eventually the Blister Boys turned up and we left together, chucking all the way down into the village.

From Keld the ‘official’ Wainwright route swings high onto the moorland, visiting the remains of the lead mining industry. Because of the heat we chose the low level route along the river Swale, although it did involve a little climb at the start towards the ruins of Crackpot Hall. As the day progressed it did get very hot but it was pleasant to be beside the river with the intermittent shade from a few trees. By mid-morning we felt the need for a paddle. I persuaded Mum to venture out into deeper water on the large flat rocks in the river bed but they were very slippery and feeling unsteady on her feet she made a hasty retreat to the bank. I spotted an area of still water and found it to be deep enough for a quick swim. Whilst drying off we snacked on Doreen’s fruit cake and Wensleydale cheese. As we paddled the Blister Boys and the Dutch lads strode by without noticing us.

Most of today’s walk was over riverside farmland dotted with hay barns and hundreds of dry stone walls. Crossing these walls meant climbing over many squeeze or pinch stiles, most accompanied by a small wooden gate kept closed by a vicious spring. If you didn’t get the timing quite right you would get quite a thwack on the back of your calf muscles. By the end of the day we had perfected our technique, albeit with weary legs.

We stopped in the village of Gunnerside for a drink at the pub. We ordered a bowl of chips to share and sweet talked the landlord into letting us eat our sandwiches at the tables outside even though there was a large notice prohibiting such an act. The walk after lunch saw more fields, more stiles and more hay barns. Much of the grass had been cut and was rapidly turning into hay in the baking sun. The heat over the last few miles proved to be energy sapping and Mum was feeling really tired. We had lots of water stops and were both very glad to arrive in Reeth. Henny, Albert and the Dutch lads were already enjoying a drink outside the Kings Arms but there was no sign of The Blister Boys or Tracy – perhaps they had gone on to Richmond?

Green Croft, our B&B for tonight was just off The Green and we arrived hot and sticky, keen to dive into the shower. Heather welcomed us in – her home is amazing, quite different to any of our other overnight stops. Everywhere we looked we were surrounded by creativity – paint effects, stencilling, patchwork, homemade rugs, quilting etc. etc. The description sounds overpowering but it sort of holds together and works. Even the loo was highly decorated with decoupage. The whole house was a bit untidy and slightly dusty but it had such a homely feel about it – maybe that says more about my home than it does about Heathers. I did the washing and chatted to Heather’s husband, Les, as I hung it out to dry in the garden. Both Heather and Les had to go out for the evening and just left us to it. Doors and windows left open with 2 dogs left sleeping in the hallway. We showered and walked across The Green to The Kings Arms, fondly known as ‘the middle pub’. During the planning of our walk I had read on the walkers chat forum that a few C2Cers had found the pub food lacking. I had completely forgotten this fact but luckily their warnings were completely unfounded on this occasion. We both enjoyed an excellent meal with very good service. Crab soufflé with orange and avocado salad then Mum had the Dover Sole and I had the Wild Mushroom Risotto and we were much too full for a pudding.

As we strolled back across The Green we heard a brass band practicing in the village hall – it felt like an idyllic scene from a film.

Thought for the day:
– hope I can sleep tonight with so much visual stimulation going on in the bedroom
Mum – felt privileged to see so much of Heathers creative work, especially her famous hookie rugs



Mum saying farewell to Doreen Whitehead at Butt House

One of the many squeeze-stiles

The River Swale

Deb couldn't resist a swim

Swaledale and the village of Satron

Walking on the flood defences of the Swale


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