The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Day 45 - Gayle to Keld

29 May
Distance: 13 miles

Last night's campsite was Bainbridge Ings, which lies just outside of both Gayle and Hawes. I'm not sure which place it is strictly in, but just so that I could claim to have spent a night in Gayle, I'm claiming it to be there. Now if Blackburn House in Gayle (and there was one) had been a B&B, well I think that we would have had to have stayed there!

We'd been at the campsite (good campsite - first one we've stayed at so far that's had a drying room) for four hours when our favourite PW walking group arrived. But hark - there was no sound of coughing. The other tents were there (across the other side of the field) but flapping-tent-coughing-bird was missing. We spent a peaceful night.

We woke this morning to a gloomy looking day once again, but by the time we got moving the sun was threatening to break through and we had a glimpse of the hills around us that had been missing in the mist yesterday.

By the time we got to the top of Great Shunner Fell (after no small amount of faffs on the way, and having witnessed a vast array of bird life), although quite hazy, we could still appreciate the 360 degrees views. And gosh, how green the surroundings suddenly became during our day without visibility yesterday.

It was as we stopped for 5 minutes at the shelter on the top of Great Shunner Fell that I felt something of an irritation on my left butt cheek. Mick was bemused as I suddenly mooned at him, asking if there was anything obviously causing it but he only reported a couple of red pin-pricks. Re-dressed, I sat back down - but wait - the irritation was still there and there was most definitely something causing it. I then pulled out a very large ant. Mick hooted at the fact that I really did have an ant in my pants, whereas I was less amused, particularly as it had bitten me quite comprehensively. I spent the next couple of hours suffering a prickly irritation not dissimilar to the nettle rash incident a few weeks ago.

Dropping down off the hill we stopped for an early lunch just before Thwaite, where we chatted briefly to a couple also walking the PW, who we saw a few times a couple of days ago (they were no doubt close by yesterday too, but obscured from our view by the cloud).

When we did get to Thwaite, had I a bottle of something fizzy in my bag then I would have broken it out. Had there been a pub then we would have popped in for a pint. However, as it was all we did to celebrate having reached the half-way point in our journey was to pat each other on the backs (it would have been a hug, but that's a bit tricky with a backpack on).

Then Mick and I went our separate ways.

Fear not. It was only a temporary parting. There are two obvious ways to get from Thwaite to Keld. One is direct and kind to poorly feet, such as Micks. The other way is to follow the Pennine Way up and around a hill.

Had I been the dutiful and sympathetic wife then I would have accompanied Mick along the direct route. What I actually did was to hand over the stove so that he could have a cup of tea waiting for me when I arrived.

I then set off down the road and had got a hundred yards or so when I realised that something was missing, and that it wasn't just Mick. Back I went to collect my Pacerpoles, then back down to the village I went.

Don't tell Mick, because I wouldn't want him to think that he'd missed out on anything, but the views from the hillside between Thwaite and Keld were absolutely awesome - helped of course by the blue sky which had materialised.

I spotted Mick and the tent as I approached Keld - it being the only tent in the field (bet we'll be joined by others later). He met me on the road and treated me to an ice-cream. It seems that contrary to the information in the Cicerone End to End guide, there is a little shop in Keld, so I needn't have carried all that heavy food all day!

1 comment:

  1. That steep stoney track after coming down Great Shuuner fell must have played merry hell with Mick's feet.

    When does he get his new booties?