Monday May 8 Keld to Baldersdale YH

At breakfast I slipped myself a sausage and apple for lunch, then goodbyes all around and off across the river and up around north towards Tan Hill Inn. It’s a nice day, great views back to Keld and the upper Swale valley. Once onto the moors it was a level walk, but crossing many streams running down the hillside. Then up onto higher ground until over a crest, Tan Hill appeared as a lonely outpost, the highest inn in England. I stopped there for the loo as an excuse to look around and say hello. It was fabulous looking and friendly, but too early for me to have a pint. I wanted to stay there!

I headed eastward across Sleightholme Moor, very boggy and tiring making my way through the mud and water. Its an undulating landscape with only a faint trail, white poles to mark the way. After passing one, I could just see the next one in the distance. Finally, Sleightholme Farm, then a footbridge across the beck and up onto the cliff, a very picturesque area. I cut across high pastures to eventually descend to the River Greta and God’s Bridge, a natural limestone slab over the river, maybe 30 ft wide and 60 ft long. Very impressive!

I passed under the A66 motorway through a tunnel and sat on a rock to have lunch. A Scotsman came along, Oliver from Edinburgh, also going to Baldersdale YH. He asked if we could walk together, he had also left from Keld but was mostly camping. Nice young fellow, recently teaching physics in Africa, decided to “walk home”. I said I would slow him down, but he wanted to take it easy for a day or so to rest his feet.

We arrived at the hostel at 4:30 pm and saw Ruth, the JOG lady, waiting for it to open. She had stayed at Tan Hill Inn after taking transport to ease her foot problem with a half day’s rest. Dinner was all homemade, tomato/basil soup, lasagna, salad and a rhubarb pudding. Earlier, I had seen the Italian warden/cook lady carrying an armful of vegetables up from the garden, so I knew the food would be good. My feet are tired and my right leg shin is swollen and painful. Tomorrow, I’ll stop in Middleton-In-Teesdale for something to put on my shins, get a phone card and perhaps pop into a bakery.

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