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]

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Tuesday - to Baldersdale

Tuesday 21 June (0740-1750)
Distance: 22 miles
Weather: rain for first 3.5 hours, then decreasing brief showers
Number of "ooohs"* in last 24 hours: 4

In the last 24 hours we have walked past High Cup Nick, Cauldron Snout, High Force and Low Force, not to mention having passed by and through any number of glorious hay meadows in tip-top condition, full of wild flowers. The bird life was plentiful too, with lapwings, curlews, oystercatchers, in particular, making themselves vocally apparent. As for the grouse, there were far more fledglings seen than adults; it must be the time of year for it.

It was a bit of a mar on all of this loveliness that it rained on us continuously for the first few hours of the day. I don't think the weather actually changed even then; it was just that we walked out of the rain. Every time we had a view back to where we'd been this morning, it was raining back there.

Mick was begging for lunch by half past noon, but I managed to fob him off with a banana and the promise that upon reaching Middleton we would divert for a cup of tea and a cooked lunch. And, so we did. Our departure was timed nicely to coincide with the next shower.

More people were seen over the next four miles than we'd seen all day (save for in the immediate vicinity of High Force). Cheery greetings were exchanged, but no-one (including us, I suppose) seemed to want to stop to chat. Maybe it was the sogginess of the terrain that did it; if we'd stopped we might have sunk!

Arriving at Clove Lodge it looked for a while like we were going to have to walk on to camp on the moor (as we did in 2008), as we failed for quite a while to rouse anyone from within the house. Mick wasn't happy at the prospect, his feet feeling the 22 miles we'd already covered. More by chance than anything, we did finally find someone at home. Even better, having shown us where to pitch and where the facilities were she uttered those magic words: "Would you like a cup of tea?". With the tea came cake and biscuits. I became an immediate fan of this place!

(* An "oooh" can be any natural feature that causes on-lookers to go "oooh" upon catching sight of it)

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  1. "Mick was begging for lunch...I managed to fob him off with a banana"
    Poor lamb, he's fading away!

  2. Mick: I shall send you trousers!

  3. Sounds as though you're learning the tea cadging skills. I think it is a mixture of appearing tired, but not too tired, and putting across the awesome scale of your walking project, whilst remaining modest.

    I am now wrestling with over 800 photos after taming the jungle of a garden, and a mountain of post which I found on my return.

    Was that your first visit to High Cup Nick? It's quite impressive I think.

  4. Louise - By making him wait a little longer for his lunch he did get an All Day Breakfast rather than some oatcakes and fish, plus a big mug of tea. It wasn't (just) an exercise in cruelty on my part!

    Alan - Ahhhh, perhaps I should have mentioned that I was wearing Mick's trousers on this trip (yes, really!). It's becoming a bit of a tradition. Last year on the Pennine Way I wore his t-shirt, this year it was his trousers...

    Conrad - You might have something there on the tea-cadging. Before being offered the cup of tea the owner did ask where we'd walked from that day. When we said High Cup Nick, at 22 miles, she exclaimed that we were mad. The offer of a cup of tea came soon afterwards.
    It wasn't our first visit to High Cup Nick. We passed it in dreadful weather during our LEJOG.