Day 5: Sun April 24 Sedburgh to Grayrigg

Nice breakfast this morning, even porridge, a welcome change of pace. I’m following the River Kent today with the sun at my back. Only ten miles to Grayrigg village and Punchbowl House, my lodging for the night. I climbed over an abandoned railroad embankment and explored a wonderful old iron railroad bridge circa 1800’s, a real work of art.

Iron Bridge over the River Dee

I missed a stile at the side of the road and walked a mile before deciding to bite the bullet and go back to find the turnoff. I found it easily. How on earth did I miss it? I think it was sooner than I expected. Cutting across fields to the River Lune, I missed the path again and logged two more extra miles before righting myself. Then I passed under another disused beautiful brick railroad viaduct (the Lune Viaduct). I could have stood there and gazed at it all afternoon.

The Lune Viaduct

The path bypassing a farmyard

There was a long walk along the Lune before crossing it on the 500 year old Crook of Lune Bridge and finding yet another old disused railroad viaduct (Low Gill Viaduct) rising up in front of me, an engineering masterpiece with tall grasses sprouting off the top and one of those interesting old stone bridges at its base.

Crook of Lune Bridge

Low Gill Viaduct

For me, the Dales Way is defined by the river walking and the historical railroad bridges and viaducts which still stand as monuments to a bygone era. I’ll be returning to Leeds on the Settle-Carlisle RR which was built around 1900. The railroad is an engineering marvel, being kept alive by local efforts, and will be a highlight for me.

I crossed the M6 motor way on a narrow farm road overpass, then several miles into Grayrigg, a tiny village about a mile off the Dales route. Punchbowl House, a stately manor house with quality furnishings and large rooms, greeted me with shortbread and tea. My host is originally from Switzerland and belongs to the local mountain rescue squad. “You didn’t get lost today, just temporarily misplaced.”

There is no pub in Grayrigg, so us roomers shared a taxi to the nearest town with a pub. The Rawlings, a couple from Scotland, both had Yorkshire pudding and I opted for chicken curry with rice and veggies and a couple of pints of Black Sheep ale.

I thought today would be an easy walk but, with the extra miles I tacked on from getting lost, I was very tired and my ankles were giving me a lot of pain. A sop to my tiredness was spending the night in the nicest and most comfortable room on the walk.

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