Day 10 - May 6... Ambleside to Shap .... 20 miles

Another excellent hostel breakfast. I took an apple and rolled up cold meat and cheese slices for my lunch. I called my B&B in Shap to let Margaret know I'm on schedule and to expect me about 5 pm. Weather was still rainy, so I put the Duck’s Back on my pack, put up my hood and off I went through the woods to Troutbeck via Skelghyll. I had not a thought about weather conditions higher up today. My head is already in the clouds.

Through The Woods To Troutbeck

My route will take me up to High Street, over to Nan Bield Pass, down to Mardale Head and over the Old Corpse Road through Swindale to Shap. Meanwhile, it seems a long trod through Troutbeck village.

Overlooking Troutbeck

When I reached the Mortal Man Inn, I took a lane behind it to reach my path to Troutbeck Park and the fells. After Ing Bridge, Trout Beck turns northwest and I followed a smaller beck northeast until it splayed out in the rise onto High Street. At its upper reaches, I passed through a gate onto the fells. A sock, mounted on the gatepost, points the way. I was climbing straight into the clouds, still not concerned about visibility on High Street.

New Ing Bridge North Of Troutbeck

Gate To High Street - Sock On Post Points The Way

The rain was still falling, above me nothing but dense clouds. On Park Fell, I met a man and son coming off High Street bagging peaks. I climbed into even heavier fog, and on High Street I could hardly see. The wind had become quite strong. I passed iron posts noted on the OS map, so now I was sure of where I am, however, as I walked on into the dark mist I was not so sure. Further on, I thought I found where the path goes southeast toward Mardale Ill Bell and Nan Bield Pass but there is no way to know for certain. Mist was too heavy to see any landmarks. My compass was proving its worth. It's really all I had.

Two Iron Posts Marking Path On High Street

I stumbled on four fellows having lunch on the leeward side of a stone wall, out of the wind. I sat with them and ate my apple. They thought I should be going a different direction, but as they leave, another walker came by, going my way to the pass. We walked together and, yes, I was headed on the right path in the right direction. Dave had been here before and, as we dropped lower out of the heavy mist, he gradually began to recognize features along the path.

On Nan Bield Pass Looking South

Dave and I parted at Nan Bield Pass, he went south and I dropped down to Small Water and Mardale Head. What a difference in the weather! The skies started to clear as predicted on TV for the afternoon, the sun lit up the water and mountainsides, waterfalls are sparkling and glorious. It's a whole new day.

Overlooking Small Water, Haweswater Beyond

Outflow From Small Water

Reaching Haweswater, I go a short distance up the road and turn onto a path along a gully leading onto the Old Corpse Road. On the above photo, the gully is the dark line rising from the lake just north of the group of trees along the shore. The path leads over the moor as The Old Coach Road. What a lonely stretch of moor. I pass a couple arguing over which way to go, not lost, just indecisive. The path then drops sharply down into Swindale where a lane carries me to the beck crossing. There are no waymarks, so I'm relying on my map. Clouds are hanging tough, sun peeking through occasionally.

Lonely Old Corpse Road

Descending Into Swindale

Path Out Of Swindale Looking Back

After climbing out of Swindale, there is a boggy area so I diverted over to the lane at Tailbert Farm. Then it's tarmac to Keld and a short walk across the pasture into Shap. I didn’t arrive in Shap until after 6 pm, and got to Brookfield House at the south end of town at 6:30. I was worried that Margaret is worried that I am late. It's been a long hard 20 mile day full of challenges and adventures.

After leaving my boots outside, I’m ready for a pot of tea and Margaret’s incredible scones. She doesn’t disappoint, but apologized for being out of cakes and other goodies. Scones were so good and plentiful, they were certainly enough. And yes, she was worried about my arriving so late and quizzed me about my route and how I liked it. I said the Swindale route was fine except for a lack of any waymarks, so a good map was a necessity.

Brookfield House In Shap - Remnants Of Royal Wedding Flags

For some reason, I was not very hungry (must have been the three scones), so at the Greyhound I only had a bowl of soup and a pint of Black Sheep Bitters. Then a shower and my usual writing and reading. Margaret insisted on doing some washing for me, said it's no trouble, a little fairy will sprinkle some dust overnight and I’ll find clean clothes at my door in the morning. What a sweet lady!

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