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]

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Day 7 - Keld to Reeth

23 Sept
Distance: about 12.5 or 13 miles
Number of dead rabbits: very many

The vague plan had been that, weather permitting, we would spend two nights in Keld. Today we would take a circular walk, incorporating the short section of the Pennine Way which Mick missed earlier in the year when his poorly feet caused him to take the road from Thwaite.

That plan changed when I looked at the map (something I'd omitted to do until now; Mick plotted this route) and saw that we could follow the missed bit of the Pennine Way, drop down into Muker, double back on ourselves for a short distance then cross the river to pick up the C2C route, thus killing two birds with one stone.

As it was for the views that I had wanted Mick to see this bit of the PW, it was pleasing to wake up to a fine morning (and I was right that it was a bit parky last night!).

It turned out that the position of the morning sun is not the best for appreciating the views of the valley at their finest. Even so, the climb and the detour was still worthwhile.

Dropping back down into Muker it was then just a simple walk along the valley to Reeth.

The first part was a most pleasant walk, with fine views of the lush valley sides with its dry stone walls and multitude of stone built barns (almost one per field). The last part of the day was equally pleasant, however, we agreed that the middle held less appeal and became a bit tedious.

Even the tedious middle part didn't change my opinion that this is one of the finest places in England and definitely warrants a visit. It did, however, make me wish that I'd studied the map a bit more to see whether we could cut up to a higher route.

As for the dead rabbits, it appears that there's something of an outbreak of myxamatosis locally. Many of those that we saw still alive were clearly afflicted and not long for this world.

After much carcass-dodging, we made it to Reeth early and headed straight for the campsite where we found one sign forbidding us from pitching without booking in and another sign telling us that the warden was out, but not one with any instruction as to what to do if the warden is out.

We pitched anyway and then made a bee-line for the village. We'd not had lunch and the guidebook raves about the bakery. We found it quickly enough but for the second time today we were disappointed. In the case of the cafe in Gunnerside we arrived there to find that it doesn't open on a Tuesday. In the case of the bakery it was inexplicably closed. Still, we've been well fed in one of the other tea-rooms and I'm about ready for a kip now - even though it's only 3.30 in the afternoon!

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