Day 5: Sun Oct 17 Patterdale to Shap

Next morning for breakfast, I finagled a huge and tasty Cumberland sausage with my eggs and saved half of it, a la Mary, for lunch with a baguette from the shop across the road. Regretfully, I didn’t carry a camera on this trip, so I bought several postcards, one of the White Lion Inn.

From Patterdale, the path went straight up 2000 ft. past Angle Tarn to Kidsty Pike with wonderful views of Ulswater to the north and valley views to the south. Higher up, I’m in the clouds again, cold and wet, High Street not to be seen. At the cairn on top of Kidsty, I couldn’t see a thing - even my glasses fogged up as the trail disappeared. I met two other lost souls looking at their map, walking east to west. We used my compass to find the path again. I pointed them where I came and they pointed the way for me. The descent to Haweswater was so steep I felt like using a rope, lowering myself rock to rock. Then around the lake and over pasture and stile to Shap. It was very hard to follow Wainwright’s directions in his book., I’ll have to talk to him about that! The Hermitage B&B was a blessing and Jeanne a godsend washing all my clothes. I settled right in to this 300 year old beamed ceiling house with the huge bedrooms and sunken bathrooms. It was a perfect place to soak my weary muscles and sore toes. Dinner was at an uninteresting pub but the chicken korma with rice and Thwaites ale was exceptionally good.

Day 6: Mon Oct 18 Shap to Kirkby Stephen

The walk to Kirkby Stephen was a too long 20 miles, so I took the 9:30 bus to Orton, 8 miles away, to pick up the path there. Sun passing through the low hanging clouds in the valley, highlighting rooftops covered in light mist, was truly magical. Nice day over hill and dale and my first Yorkshire moors. Nice day, except for being chased through a pasture by a herd of bulls!! The pasture had over a dozen of the huge beasts and, after crossing the stile into their territory, they quickly started bearing down on me! I turned sharply and loudly yelled NO! They stopped and I continued walking. But shortly I heard the clump, clump, clump of their hooves, so I repeated the NO and they stopped again. This went on at least 10 times and was getting quite scary. They were converging on me from the side and the rear until I finally made the stile at the far end of the pasture and heaved a sigh of relief. Perhaps they only thought I was there to feed them.

Across the heather moors I lost the path, consulted compass and contour lines and altitudes in Wainwright, struck off to my right, climbed over a wall, headed for a likely stile and low and behold, there was the path. Later, I couldn’t find the way again. Two other walkers came up and were at a loss also. I then found a solution and they happily followed. We were definitely out of the Lakeland area, transiting into the Yorkshire Dales. Lots of ups and downs but not the ruggedness of previous days. I’m learning to follow the map better but it’s actually harder to negotiate the farms and ranches. Then, civilization - it seems so strange!

Kirby is the first real town since Whitehaven and has a bank, nice shops, and a wide choice of B&B’s. The Old Croft House is a 250 year old jewel and very professionally run, greeting me with tea and scones while the King’s Arm Pub served a welcome moussaka with Sheep’s Head Ale. Host Chris called ahead for a room in Keld, but all B&B’s were closed for the season. She finally found a room for me at the Kearton Country Hotel in Thwaite, two miles from Keld. As usual, I ended the night writing and reading.

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