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

Wednesday - to Keld

Wednesday 22 June (0740-1335)
Distance: 14 miles
Weather: sunny intervals, a couple of short showers
Number of slugs that Mick carried all day: 1

Last night's camping won favour for hospitality and facilities. On the downside it turned out to be both a midge-fest and a slug-fest. There was something of a disturbance too, when shooting started at 11.45pm and continued until just before 1am. Why they (presumably neighbouring farmers) decided to go out shooting in the middle of the night in the pouring rain, I know not, but aside from the sound of their quad bikes, some of those shots were disturbingly close to us. I knew that we were perfectly safe where we were, but it didn't stop me jumping every time a particularly loud bang went off.

Even with the disturbance, we were still rested enough to spring out of our sleeping bags bright and early this morning, to do the face-slapping midge dance as we packed away. Our expectation based on the forecast was a day of heavy rain, so a sunny start was considered something of a bonus.

It didn't stay continuously sunny, but remained dry as we made our way over Cotherstone Moor to God's Bridge. There was water flowing under God's Bridge (which is a natural bridge) and plenty of it. I'll have to check my photos from 2008, but my recollection was that it was all but dry then.

Sleighthome Moor was also damper than I remember it being. The last mile, in particular, involved some impressive bog-wading. We emerged from the moor at Tan Hill Inn, both liberally covered in bog up to the knees.

With a view of all of the rain passing to the north of us, it felt like we were on borrowed time, so rather than stopping in at the Inn, on we pushed to Keld.

Keld became our night-stop when Mick vetoed my suggestion of pushing on to condense the rest of the distance down to Horton into 2 days. I concede that it was a good call; the rain started about five minutes after the tent was pitched and turned out to be quite persistent. Far more so than the edges of the two showers that hit us earlier on.

As for the slug (a big black one) that Mick carried all day, its hide-away was in his left Croc. I found it when I put my bare foot into said Croc. Mick said that my reaction was a bit melodramatic - but I challenge you to put your bare foot unexpectedly on top of a big black slug and not make any sort of an exclamation!

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  1. I unashamedly admit that I would have reacted the same way, and even more so if it had been a toad.

  2. Conrad - I would have been *really* impressed if Mick had unknowingly carried a toad in his backpack all day!