Day 5 - 12th August 2006
Shap to Kirkby Stephen (21
End of Day 5: August 12th,
4.45pm Room Two, Fletcher House, Kirkby Stephen.
I write these updates at the end of the
walking day. It’s usually the first thing I do after checking into
our B&B, before showering, getting changed or taking refreshments.
They are written, having achieved what we set out to do for the day,
with the benefit of hindsight and knowing that everything worked out
OK. If, however, they were written first thing in the morning,
before setting off, the mood of the updates might be different. A
compound of uncertainties would probably be reflected in some way.
Would the weather hold up? Would the path/trailfinding work out OK?
Are the bodies/knees/feet going to hold up, never mind the general
fatigue? Of course, these things aren’t mutually exclusive: fatigued
bodies make way-finding more difficult and poor weather – hot, wet,
windy, foggy – makes everything more challenging.
These morning feelings have certainly been with me the last three
days when we’ve been in the Lake District (and they have probably
been heightened because William is with me – it’s all very well
things going pear-shaped when you only have yourself to think of but
when others are part of the equation it’s another matter). However,
as we move eastwards they are greatly diminished. We are moving into
parts of the country that I understand and know better. I feel more
in control and can relax a little.
Today we’ve covered a lot of ground. In addition to the standard
mileage we did a detour (deliberate this time) down to Orton, a
sheep fair and farmers’ market making it a busy little village
today. Stocked up on juice and energy bars.
Most of the walking today has been across open moorland and
meadowland; remote and for the most part either flat/gently sloping
or undulating. Early on in the day William described it as: “Just
like…errr…baarring.” (students of English will know that the
language continues to evolve and parents of teenagers know that
attempts to evolve the language can be particularly rapid in years
13 and 14 of a person’s life; in this case “baarring” is a simple
evolution of the word “boring”). Well, I’m sorry William (and I know
you are missing the crags and fells of Lakeland) but baarring it
certainly is not. Behind us we’ve had the peaks of the Lake District
still visible, to my right for most of the day we’ve had the
Howgills and the Pennines have been growing in front of us
throughout the day. The landscape has a rugged beauty about it here,
with the heather on the moors in vivid purple bloom providing
welcome colour. I pointed out some of the history in the landscape
as we progressed: the Roman roads, the stone circles, the old sheep
folds and enclosures, the ancient settlement site called Severals
(although, if truth be told, there is not much to be discerned there
for the untutored eye), the disused railway and the viaduct at
Smardale. There is much to reflect on in this stage of the walk. I’m
afraid, at the end of our day though, William’s original assessment
In fact, he found the last third of the day challenging; a
combination I guess of the day’s mileage, insufficient interest for
him in the terrain and cumulative fatigue. Spirit has, I think,
dipped a little as the day has progressed. However, he has not
complained and refuelling and a good night’s rest should have him
ready for tomorrow.
He has opted to wear a knee support today. Only he knows if it
really is required. I suspect it might be a bit of a fashion
accessory; the bright, white strapping looking quite fetching along
with his new shorts. All I know for sure is that, after the first
half hour of walking, it spent most of the time slipped around his
ankle until we came across other walkers, at which point it was
quickly reapplied to the knee.
Anybody following these updates will know I’ve been passing comment
on the B&Bs we have been staying in. I have to commend Brookfield in
Shap where we stayed last night. Nothing was too much trouble for
Margaret, our host (and I put it that way rather than calling her –
say – proprietor); she did a washing for us (with the dry clothes
outside out room in the morning) at no extra charge, a bespoke
breakfast (in my case, porridge and fruit salad, which meant I could
avoid the full sluggish) and is quite charming. She genuinely sees
you as a guest rather than just a business opportunity. So if you
have to stay in Shap (and if you’re doing the C2C you’ll almost
certainly have to) I’ll wager that you’ll do no better than
Once again, the weather has been ideal.
Into our B&B for 4.30pm. Tomorrow we have a shorter mileage day but
with a fair amount of height gain required.