day 4 - kirby stephen to reeth, 23 miles 3000ft
unfortunately i was unable to repeat the previous nights epic sleep and found myself lying in bed wide awake at 0330am..it wasn't even light yet!
fast forward a few hours, another fine breakfast and we started to make our way out of town. i passed this place (below), which was quite apt. my thoughts went back home for a moment. we'd all spoken and/or texted each day and it was great to get a clockwork call from will each day from his new, and his first ever, phone at 4.15pm when he returned from school
its a sign!
i was really looking forward to todays trip across an area i was totally unfamiliar with.. another navigational test
and it was going to be a hot one too..already it was warm and rising
the route started with a long 4m slog up to nine standards rigg
to pass the time of day richard sprang the a-z of pop stars/groups challenge on me, which we completed (well almost) several times, occasionally enlisting the help of fellow coast to coasters, that we passed heading up the hill, when needed..especially on the letters v,x, and z
nine standards rigg
keld was only some 8 miles beyond nine standards and id had it in my mind to tick it off quite quickly. silly idea..i hadn't factored in the bogs that lay in the way. even though it was drier and more passable than usual, they still stuttered progress and occasionally created much hilarity trying to cross the wider ones..one slip, one little mistake, one footfall short and you were toast..or muddy marsh monster more like. luckily with the springlike prejectory of a gazelle (not) we were able to avoid any dunking of shame but it was a close call now and again.
by the time we reached keld, the sun was high and hot, and it was time for lunch. we found the farm cafe where i started with hot soup (hot soup in that blazing heat, hot soup!) and finished with an ice lolly..i haven't had an ice lolly in years..an orange maid one in fact..brilliant it was too :). it felt like being at the pictures all over again
over lunch i glanced at the route ahead. unknowningly, we would see few others this afternoon. most people opt for the road that hugs the valley floor..its way way easier..but even with hindsight we would still do the proper route everytime..it was challenging, rewarding and totally different to another other part of the crossing
half way there!
moor above swinnergill
this section saw us walking in parts and running other bits. map reading was very tricky and my judgement was questioned, quite rightly given the previous day, more than once. but this time i got it spot on..i was kinda chuffed with that ;-)
men made of steel must have worked and lived here. a desolate, bleak and industrious landscape that we imagined would be unforgiving in harshness of the dark winter months. how they did it was beyond me..did they live here alone? with their wives? their children? as my parents used to say..we dont know we're born
blakethwaite smelt mills
eventually we made it to the moon-like scape of the spoil heaps..a track and look that went on a few miles and made for good running, before heading back onto the moor to descend into reeth
like the bull the night before, the buck took on the appearance of a place that had seen better days. it had a new and very friendly landlady and whilst the decor would do with freshening up, the beer and food were excellent again
the buck at reeth
another platter of fish and chips washed down by a few blonde witches
we were past the halfway mark and feeling good, and charlie was on superb form
a few of these were had
tomorrow was to be our longest distance, around 35m, so the 'we're past the halfway point' party was curtailed prematurely before any serious damage was done