Day 11 .... May 7 .... Shap to Sedburgh .... 16 miles

Margaret gave me a good sendoff from Brookfield. Wonder when I will be back. I went to Tebay by bus, then walked 4 ½ miles over to Bowderdale, near Newbiggin, to pick up the Dales High Way. I will be skipping the "last" day of the DHW from Newbiggin to Appleby as described in the south to north guide.

From Tebay, I followed a lane running just south of and parallel to the A685 and crossed several farm pastures. At Bowderdale, just before the bridge over the beck, I turned sharply south on a bridleway that doubled as the Dales High Way. I’ll follow the Dales High Way all the way to Ilkley.

Long Greenway From Bowderdale Onto West Fell

I passed a sheep ranch and stopped to talk with the rancher riding his big wheel buggy like a wild west cowboy. He was curious and wanted to talk about my walk. Through the last gate and I was up on the fells, following a greenway all the way over the Howgills. I was a gradual climb on a ridge to the summit of West Fell at 542 m, then another climb to Hazelgill Knott. I met two cyclist screaming down the Knott having a great time, interrupting my meditative state. Incredibly, I’ll meet them again tomorrow. Its deering-do out here with all the mud hags.

Grain Gill From Hazelgill Knott

Weather was overcast and started a slow rain, so I put on the Duck’s Back. I was on a high ridge that turns southwest, climbing more as I topped a couple more summits. I could look back and see my path all the way down to West Fell.

Looking Back On Long Ridge Approach To The Calf

I met a couple with their young son walking back and forth. They were searching for a path (found on the internet) to Cautley Spout, supposedly the highest waterfall in England. I tried to help find it with my maps but no luck. The spout is not far but is straight down the mountain and no discernible path to it. The mother was apparently worried but the father seemed capable so I left them and headed for the trig point on The Calf at 676 m.

Then a huge black cloud swooped in with harder rain and virtually no visibility. It was practically a total blackout. I worried about the threesome and hoped they had the sense to abandon their quixotic effort and follow me. There are several offshoots of the path but my compass kept me in the right direction until I passed the tarn and the main path was obvious beneath my feet.

A Hard-To-See Trig Point On The Calf

Finally I saw a phantom of a pyramid rising out of the dark fog as I almost bumped into it. I was able to take a photo and move on, still worried about the family left behind. As I walked further, the fog cleared a little but the wind became ferocious. Challenges were one after another. I had been checking my compass every few minutes to make sure I was going the right way. Mist cleared enough to see around me but the wind was too strong to enjoy it. Regardless, the hills are truly magnificent - Wainwright called them “a herd of sleeping elephants”. Its still quite a long, tiring walk to Sedburgh. I didn’t get there until 4 pm.

Sedburgh From On High

I was scheduled to call Cathryn today but the red telephone booth next to the museum didn’t work. I found a newer working one next to the information center and called my sweetie for another long chat.

I walked the kilometer to Holmcroft B&B - very nice, reminds me of Brookfield. A pot of tea, shower and off to the Dalesman for a pint of Black Sheep. Their menu didn’t grab me so I walked down to a relatively new restaurant called DUO. A friendly place, I got grilled cod and a glass of white wine from South Africa. Something different than my usual pub fare. Stopped at the co-op for chocolate chip cookies, went back to my room and devoured them. Like I said, something different tonight.

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