Day 5 .... May 1.... Dockray To Appleby ....15 miles

Royal Hotel breakfast started at 8:30 so by then I was having cereal and ordering coffee. I passed on the English cooked breakfast and ordered scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. A beautiful presentation and perfectly cooked, so much I could hardly eat it all. Young girls running the place were slow, or overworked, so I didn’t get out the door until 9:15. I wanted to make it to Penrith by 3:50 pm for the train to Carlisle/Appleby, so I was anxious to get away.

I walked down to Aira Force, the main tourist attraction of the area other than Ullswater just a little further south. As I have each day, I ignored the outdated Cumberland Way paths and followed newly waymarked paths and my instinct. The force is all its cracked up to be, stream and falls over picturesque rock formations, a beautiful area. Only two other people roaming around.

Aira Force

Aira Beck With Aira Force In Background

The Cumberland path skirts around Gowbarrow Fell, well above Ullswater. At a crag, I took a higher path that leads to a secondary summit and cairn at 464 m. It was worth the climb. From here the whole Helvelyn range opens up to the south beyond Ullswater. I could see other walkers on the lower path but how would I get back down? On the map I saw where the path crosses a beck so I found the headwaters and followed the gully down on sheep trods till I was just above the path and could make my way to it.

Ullswater From Gowbarrow Fell

Gowbarrow Summit Cairn

After crossing through the wood of Swinburn, there are a lot of farm crossings and lane walking, neither of which I care for very much. At Dacre, I followed a local man’s advice and took a direct path to Stainton which is different than the Cumberland Way and had no tarmac walking.

Watermillock All Saints Church

Church At Dacre

I reached Stainton, 2 ½ miles from Penrith, at 2:45 pm so I decided I better take the bus to the train station since it might be a little tricky to walk it. Just as I made that decision, I found myself at the bus stop.

Even though it was Sunday, the bus was scheduled to be by in five minutes. No show! Canceled for bank holiday? I asked a homeowner if he knew anything about it. No he didn’t but he was going to the DIY store in Penrith next to the station and would be happy to drop me there. My savior! Lucky thing too because the train to Carlisle was canceled for rail work and the replacement bus was leaving at 3:20. The train from Carlisle to Appleby was on schedule so all worked out. Sometimes everything just falls into place.

Arrived in Appleby at 5:20 pm and called Cathryn but had to leave a message. Turns out she was at a conference in Wisconsin which is two hours difference from the time we had set up for the call. I walked to Bongate House but no one home. I read for ½ hour on the patio, then walked down to a shop at the bridge, angry about not being able to get in. I asked the shop keeper about other B&Bs, ready to try another one. He couldn’t believe that John had forgotten about me so he called and found that John had just gotten back. John was very apologetic but didn’t offer to pick me up. I was livid about it all. However, he was very agreeable when I met him and even offered to wash my dirty clothes. After five days, I needed it. Tea, shower and quickly down to the pub. I had a pint of Hawkshead Bitters and a plate of calves livers. Very good but took a long time to get the food since the place was packed with people. Back at the B&B, same routine of reading and writing before sleep time.

Today I finished the Cumberland Way, tomorrow I start the Westmorland Way, so now is a good time to check up on my wellness. With so much sun and wind, I have been slathering my face with sun cream. No problems at all with my joints and my muscles are holding up well. There are some problems with chaffing of my toes, especially on my left foot, so I have been wrapping the toes with plasters, some microfiber medical tape and two small Compeed patches. I used a large Compeed on the ball of my right foot for a blister trying to form.

No, no blister, stay away and don’t come back another day!

No rain so far so my rain jacket has mostly been in my pack except on the ridge out of Buttermere for the wind. My fleece vest has usually kept me warm enough in the mornings but I’m able to shed it afternoons. Overall, I feel very good.

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