day 3 - bampton to kirby stephen - 25miles, 3000ft
standing on the fell at 4am i could see the weather was going to be much better than yesterday. moreso than that a huge wave of optimism was engulfing me. day two, the day i had considerd the weeks hardest route, was gone and i had arrived at day 3 unscathed and with legs that felt fresh and without any stiffness. all things being equal and barring any acts of god i felt we had the week in the bag..a premature idea maybe but with long distance stuff its all in the mind and i try to only ever entertain positive images and thoughts. it did make me wonder how richard was..this was no solo crossing!
his night, minus my usual mid morning rumblings, hadn't been as good as he'd expected. he too had been a little unrestful tossing and turning as he mulled over the previous day and thinking about what was to come. maybe i was closer to the finish in my mind than he was? physically he may have felt it a little more with a bit of a niggle here and there too.
the full english breakfast, which was plentiful enough to give a load to charlie, lived up to the standard of the inn.
each morning a pill ritual at breakfast was adhered to..cod liver oil, glucosamine etc..and today i suggested we add another to it as a prophylactic..that ultra runners saviour..ibuprofen
at breakfast we chatted with a canadian couple doing the trail. they asked if we were getting a taxi back to the trail...:-/...1 mile down the lanes!
we paid the bill, shook hands with the innkeeper, now our best mate, who had tried to insist he knew what was best for us roomwise, and headed outside to take some shots like a couple of withnail and i tourists
we want cake and fine wine
we, or should i say, faffed around for quite a while in the village. richard who hasn't seen withnail and i was probably at a loss as to why i was so giddy about a red telephone box and probably more perplexed at the never ending trail of famous lines from the film that i kept spurting out like someone with withnail and i tourettes. we cetainly weren't making time.
todays trip across to kirby should be a shorter day..less mileage, undulating terain, not big climbs. i'd also booked us all (including charlie) a sports massage at 6pm that night in kirby, in case things needed loosening up, so we did have a date to keep
it was close on 10am by the time we left bampton and headed over towards shap. what happened next can only be archived in the file of famous howlers, gaffs, own goals, call it what you will.
doing quite nicely..we were only 20 minutes into the day!..we headed over a field and came to a stile with the path continuing on the other side. i looked at the path, i looked at the map, i looked at the path, i looked at the map...then i declared with the greatest of confidence that the path ahead wasn't the one we needed. how i ever came to that conclusion is still beyond me..maybe my lack of sleep played a role but putting any possible get out of jail cards to one side it was the most simple schoolboy navigational error known to mankind!
there was no other path to take ! derr!
what followed was farcical..i was in my worst strop mood..effing and blinding..as we wondered round the massive field we were in, trying to find my imaginary path and route towards shap abbey (me leading, richard and charlie following in ever increasing dismay). we, thanks to christopher columbus here, went round and round and round. i was hearing nothing of the suggestions to take the rejected path to see where it would take us. (sorry once again to both of you, more for my strop than anything else)
eventually, actually 50 mins later!, i selected another route to shap crossing a whole series of fields diagnally, which i navigated with utter fluency ;-)
we met the canadians again in shap who were having a picnic stop..was that the time?! or were they just eating their way across england?
anyway, i took the strategic decision to switch to my footprint maps. fine aids they were to be too, with the route plotted and accompanying bitsize notes re any navigational hazards. small, concise, quick to follow and easy to hold on the run. my os maps would act as backup from hereonin (and to fast forward the rest of the trip, navving blunders were to be a thing of the past)
the route beyond shap was mostly runnable as we left the monolithic mountains of the lakes trailing in the distance. for all i love the lakes it was refreshing to be in completely different terrain..and each day that followed was totally different..that was one of the aspects that make the c2c so bloody fantastic
robin hoods grave
coming down the meadows into orton we bumped into two lads we had met a couple of times already. they were hiking with full backpacks, hoping to do it in just 5 days..they must have considered us to be a couple of utterly lightweights to be running it in seven. their faces told their story though. here we were all smiley faces, full of bounce as a result of our shorter less taxing days. they, however, looked so hacked off, knackered, and sweating like troopers. they hadn't stopped until 11pm the previous night and had been on the go since 5am this morning, not expecting to pitch down again for another 17 hours.
they were intending to land in robin hoods bay a day before us and staying there a few days. we never saw them again..i wonder if they made it or whether their courageous attempt came to an end before then?
descending into orton for lunch
a randy bull on the way in
the contrast between their attempt and our strategy was evident at our lunch break in orton. i was told that being served by a young girl called tanya on the green was VIP service never known before. i dont know what we did to deserve that but it was welcome all the same. thank you..we felt very posh in a penrith tea room sort of way.
lunch at the chocolate factory in orton
an hour or so later (you can tell we were really pushing it!) we bid our farewells and thanks
its all downhill richard
the rest of the day's route was across lots of isolated fairly bleak but no less spectacular moorland.
arriving in kirby in the nick of time there was no time for a shower so we presented ourselves at the physio's place stinking like three sewer rats..they should have charged us extra danger money. we were all suitably pummelled and charlie got one too, though it did look a little brutal at times if you ask me
another bull (not a randy one this time)
a great night was spent at the bull watching the footy, downing a few pints, and tackling my first night of fish and chips (the first of four). the bull doesnt look up to much but the food was tops.
once again we chatted with people we'd met somewhere along the trail previously. this time the lads whose route had totally baffled me..i didn't ask. kirby was as far as they were going.
we, however, weren't even half way there yet.