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 23 June 2011

Thursday - to Gayle

Thursday 23 June (0805-1220)
Distance: 13 miles
Weather: decidedly wet for first 3.5 hours

"I wonder how far we'll get before we stop to put our overtrousers on?" Mick pondered as we set out this morning. After the three hours of solid rain which followed our arrival in Keld yesterday, it had rained on and off ever since.

The answer was that we made it a whole ten minutes along the Way, and the rain that hit us then stayed with us for the rest of the morning.

Soon after leaving Thwaite, as the Way started climbing up to Great Shunner Fell, we went up into the cloud and before long visibility was down to a few dozen yards. Without the ability to see what was to come, and with my watch hidden under gloves and overgloves, I lost track of how far we had gone, and so kept expecting each flattening out of the path to be the summit. Repeatedly the summit shelter didn't appear and up the path would go again.

Squelch and splash were the sounds of the morning as we waded our way up the submerged path, until eventually the shelter did appear out of the gloom. Despite the advertised 360 views (which were in evidence during our visit there in 2008) extending only to the immediate vicinity of the summit, we did pause there for second breakfast.

Five other walkers agreed that it was "A bit damp!" as we splashed our way down the submerged path towards Hardraw, but as one of them pointed out: "At least you've got the wind behind you". They were right, and it was a blessing we had already noted.

Had the rain not cleared by the time we got to Hawes then I think that we may have jumped straight on a bus to the nearest railway station ("Quitters!" I hear you cry). However, we were mostly dry by the time we entered the town, and over a fish & chip lunch we discovered that tomorrow's forecast is much better. So, we are now pitched at Gayle (in the sunshine!), looking forward to the final installment of this trip tomorrow.

(Sorry, no photo again today. My phone has been tucked safely away inside a plastic bag, inside a dry-bag, inside my pack. Not that the weather was conducive to taking photos anyway.)
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  1. Hawes! Oh good grief, that brings back memories. We stayed at a guest house in Bainbridge, just down the road, every summer holidays for seven years. We used to go to the bakers in Hawes for our picnic rolls and we used to get the most fantastic fudge from there too. Wow.
    word: dimpoman. What fab word!

  2. Did you get some Wensleydale, Gromit?

  3. Having finished our day so early we did go for a bit of a wander around Hawes - which is a rather attractive little place.

    Rather negligently, no Wensleydale was consumed during our visit. We were tempted by the deep fried Wensleydale in the chip shop and I was equally tempted to visit the Wensleydale Vistor Centre, but in the end both got shunned.