2 friends and the coast to coast walk

Patterdale to Shap by theshed
September 17, 2008, 8:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The day started the night before.  It usually does when you’re B&Bing.  Most of the landladies like to know what you want for breakfast before you go to bed.  Having seen the height that we were expected to climb first thing in the morning I opted for a lighter breakfast of a bacon sandwich.  Michelle was equally sensible and opted for a sausage sarnie since, having walked up Dent on a full stomach after lunch we didn’t want to walk up something twice the height on a stomach full of breakfast.  However my good intentions were dashed by yet another awesome B&B host when my bacon butty arrived and it was the size of two mattresses with a pig in the middle.  I’m not kidding you, there must have been 6 really thick rashers of bacon between two doorstep size pieces of bread.  My first reaction…”Oh my God!”  My second reaction…”Who am I kidding, this is awesome!”

The not so flat bitSo after our hefty breakfast we packed up and set off.  As you walk through Patterdale you get a good view of the first part of the climb, you can see it in the photo.  You take a gradual path up to the top of the first “summit”.  For those who don’t read the maps or for those with an optimistic outlook, that ridge you see in the photo isn’t the one that High Street runs along, it’s only about 1/3 of the way, if that.

As we walked up the first section we saw our first true casualties of the walk.  There were three girls paused at the bottom looking pretty knackered.  When we saw them I just hoped for their sake they had come a lot further than Patterdale.  One of them was hobbling quite badly but had a steely determination to get up the hill.  I really hope they made it.  We didn’t stop and chat to them but it’s not good to see people having a tough time when they should be enjoying it.

Angle Tarn 2Our pace was easy on the way up.  We realised we had quite a walk up to our highest point at Kidsty Pike and we thought that with the day only being 16 miles long we had plenty of time.  It also seemed like quite a lonely walk up to Kidsty.  For some reason, even though we knew a few people walking that day, we didn’t see many others after we saw the girls and a group of scouts nearby.  To be honest it was actually quite nice.  As you walk up to Kidsty you get some fantastic views and this time since the cloud cover was high enough that we could enjoy them having the peace and quiet to enjoy them was quite welcome.  As you get towards half way up the Kidsty climb you come across Angle Tarn.  When we got there the sun was just coming out again to peak across the water.  My word did it look inviting.  As you skirt round it you get a very strong urge to just go for a little dip.  Well I did anyway.  I just remember wondering how cool it would be to swim out, with a little dry bag, to one of the islands and sit and have some lunch.  Definitely one for another time.  But today we were planning on having lunch on top of Kidsty so on we pressed.

After Angle Tarn I got my competitive edge on.  We turned a corner to see a fair trail of people ahead of us.  There’s nothing like people being in front of me to get me to speed up.  I realised I’d taken it a little far when I found myself semi-jogging down a little hill.  After a slight detour to sit on top of a little ridge and have some ginger bread we set off again to catch people, I mean to get to the top!

The top came a lot quicker than I thought it would.  When we were near the top, after marvelling at some of the path construction and after I nearly squirted Michelle with peat bog from under a loose rock, I got a little jog on again.  As I said, we were going to have lunch on the top and despite our massive breakfasts I was getting hungry again.

Not so pensive on Kidsty

Top of Kidsty 1

When you sit on top of Kidsty it’s with mixed emotions. On the one hand you sit there with great relief that you’ve made it up to the highest point. You feel like you’ve reached a milestone. On the other hand as you look back over to the Lakes and then over to the smoking chimneys of Shap you realise you’re just about to leave something very special behind. At this point you have pretty much come to the end of the lake district. You’ve still got the walk alongside Haweswater to go but that’s all. There is a definite feeling of sadness as you set off down the other side. It doesn’t last long though as the scenery soon catches your attention again.

Once you’re at the bottom of Kidsty you turn left and start to head along the side of Haweswater.  At first the walking is good, undulating nicely along the bank side.  Then it seems like the end of the reservoir will never come.  Since this was the first properly hot day we’d had by this time I was already out of water.  I’d drank the 2 litres of my hydration pack and was starting to get very thirsty.  So I thought since I was in the wilderness I’d drink a little bit of the hill water.  It was fast flowing, looked clean and a quick scan up the hillside didn’t spot any dead sheep up there.  At first I took it fairly steady but by the end of the reservoir I’d probably drank another couple of litres from the streams feeding the reservoir.  It was gorgeous too.  Ice cold and tasting so crisp.  I don’t really know the done thing when it comes to drinking untreated water but I didn’t have any side effects so I’d go for it.  Maybe take some Imodium with you though.

Towards the end of the reservoir we were getting tired and it was good to get into a little group of houses and find a seat.  Here we caught up to Sue and her husband.  They’d set off a couple of hours ahead of us so we must have been making good pace.  We chilled out on the green and in the sun for a little while before I went and asked a lovely old lady at No. 1 for some water.  She had a very handy tap in her back garden.  Fuelled up we set off again briefly stopping to have a look at a little red squirrel.

Squirrel has had enough The rest of the walk seemed to whizz by and I can’t remember much.  We had packed our swimmers hoping for a dip in the reservoir but it was too well fenced off.  There were some great places to stop for some river swimming just after leaving Burnbanks but time was getting on and we wanted to get into Shap.  I must admit that this part of the walk was tough for me.  I don’t know why but I was knackered.  We hit Rosgill Bridge then Rayside and finally Shap Abbey.  The end was within grasp…or so we thought.  As we came into the top end of Shap Marjorie’s word rang in my head…”Shap is a very long village you know.”  We got into Shap bang on the 9 hours of walking mark.  We didn’t make it to our B&B for another 30 mins.  We were heading for Brookfield House right at the end of town and when we got there we turned round to see Kidsty Pike for the last time that day.  We’ll review the B&Bs later but we had a golden one that night.  If people are reading this and planning their walk then you have to stay at Brookfield House!

So that was our day of walking.  A long rambling post for a long rambling walk.  The night was finished off in The Greyhound where we sat and chatted with Wayne and Linley again, after they’d got in 2 hours after us!

Finally at Shap


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