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Pennine Way 2008

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Deborah and Gwen's Pennine Way Diary
Day 14

Day 14 - Walking in gale force winds over Cross Fell was too much for Mum
Sunday 25th May
Dufton to Garrigill    16.1 miles

Breakfast was a bit like dinner the night before, the ramblers being rude and uncaring, especially towards poor Margaret. Mum and I chose to have the continental breakfast, hoping to make a quick getaway, the breakfast was very good but we felt guilty about not sitting nearer to Margaret to give her some support at the other end of the table. Whilst settling our bill we had a chat with the warden, complimenting her on the decorum showed by her16 year old daughter. She admitted that most rambling groups she had experienced were similar but this one was particularly bad. The final straw came when I asked someone from the group to take our photo on the steps of the hostel, fully intending to include Margaret in the photo. One of the female ramblers was heard saying in a loud voice “you don’t want her in it do you” I was incensed and pulled Margaret more into the picture. It was a good job we were ready to leave as I was fuming inside. Anyone who has met me knows how much I hate confrontation so the fact I was ready to retaliate shows how upset I was. Since that day I have reflected many times on the incidents and realise that as individuals those ramblers were probably no more offensive than the average person but I still feel very strongly that as a group their behaviour was totally inappropriate.

The walk today began in bright sunshine but it was incredibly windy. Even before we left the village Mum had to stop to brace her self against the powerful gusts of wind. We ventured on, crossing Great Rundle Beck where the real climb began. Mum was feeling very weary and even after an early coffee stop she decided the day was not for her. We discussed our options and Mum insisted that she was just tired and didn’t relish the windy conditions but was happy for me to carry on. I accompanied her back to the track where she set off back to Dufton to find a taxi service to Garrigill. With the benefit of hindsight this was the first sign of a more serious problem but more of that later…

I set off, back up the hill, and the higher I got the more I realised that Mum had made the right decision. I stopped a couple of times on my way up to Knock Old Man, sheltering in the lee of a large cairn. It was a real battle into the head on wind, I made use of my poles just to stay upright and I had the weird sensation that something was across my face. After a while, I realised that it was the wind blowing my eyelids down and it was my eyelashes that I was feeling on my cheeks. My nose was running and the wind kept blowing my nostrils open every time I tried to sniff. I turned North, heading for the radar station looking like a giant golf ball on the skyline, here the wind got even stronger and crossing Little Dun Fell was almost impossible – it was like being in a wind tunnel and I kept having to drop to the ground to avoid the worst of the gusts. Despite the battle I found it quite exhilarating but realised that Mum would not have enjoyed being up here. Once on the top I met a few other walkers also battling the elements but all had smiles on their faces –or maybe they were grimaces! At the trig point on Great Dun Fell I asked a fellow walker to take my photo and I tried to phone Mum to let her know I was ok, as usual her phone was turned off so I sent her a text. I wasn’t sure if Mum had progressed to receiving texts yet but at least I had tried. I left the summit at 3pm, had a quick look around Greg’s Hut on the way down then made my way along the 7-mile track into Garrigill. Mum phoned to reassure me she was safely at the B&B but decided not to come and meet me as I was still along way out. 90 minutes later I entered the pretty village and heard Mum calling from an upstairs window. I had a good soak in the bath at Bridge View before heading over to the village pub for an excellent meal. Mum decided to retire to bed and I stayed to chat to three guys, two walkers and their support driver. They were walking the 1000 miles from Lands End to John-O-Groats and raising money for the Macmillan cancer charity. I promised to sponsor them on their website then headed back to Bridge View where Mum was already asleep

Thought for the day:
Deb Mum is definitely not feeling 100%. Her decision today proved wise considering the weather conditions

Mum   I was very disappointed not to complete the walk today and at this stage could not understand why. However, I was pleased that Deborah was able to achieve it



Mum and I with Margaret on the steps of Dufton YHA

Heading for Great Dun Fell

Sheltering below the radar station on Great Dun Fell

Trying to stay upright on the top of Cross Fell

Gregg's Hut

Bedroom accommodation at Greg's Hut

The long track down into Garrigill


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