2 friends and the coast to coast walk

Shap to Kirkby Stephen by gleavem
September 23, 2008, 7:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Day 5 was the longest so far at ~21 miles and so we started with an early breakfast courtesy of the wonderful Margaret.  She’s talked us into a full English the night before and we weren’t disappointed; hers was the best fried bread I’ve ever had!  What a character Margaret is; insisting that a big lad like Sid would of course want a big breakfast (she couldn’t believe we didn’t want extra toast after porridge and the full English!), yet bringing little me smaller cutlery!  After repacking our day packs to fit in Margaret’s enormous packed lunches, we reluctantly left behind the delights of Brookfield House a little after 8am and followed Margaret’s shortish-cut back onto the route.

Leaving the best BandB Definitely leaving the Lakes now More big dark clouds

We crossed the M6 without incident thanks to a handy footbridge, and headed off towards our next set of hills.  The scenery, although not as dramatic as the Lakes, had a certain charm enhanced greatly by the beautiful heather in full bloom.  Purple hills seemed to spread in every direction as far as the eye could see.  After a while we arrived at a beautiful mini-valley filled with yet more heather!

Mini Heather Valley

It had been a very peaceful walk thus far, and we were wondering where everyone had gone, as we’d normally see one or two others in the distance.  We’d find out later just why the first few hours were so quiet!  Orton soon came into view and we picked our way through several fields towards the village.  We’d been enjoying pretty good ground up to this point, but the last few hundred metres into Orton were a big muddy mess!  We eventually made it through the very boggy field well churned up by cattle, only to be faced with a sea of nettles on the other side of the gate!  After this little adventure we felt we deserved a little rest and so headed into Orton to find a nice bench to sample some of the delights of our mammoth packed lunches.

The big lunch

Our peaceful stop was somewhat interrupted by some very annoying, very persistent wasps, which forced me to run off down the lane in bare feet in order to eat my friut cake in peace!  As if our goody-bags weren’t big enough we also treated ourselves to a little choccy form the fancy chocolate shop in Orton!

We continued our journey towards Sunbiggin Tarn, finally seeing some fellow walkers, but w hen we caught them for a chat we discovered they were not C-to-C’ers…where was everybody?!  We found ourselves once again surrounded by heather. Afetr a couple of long miles over the moor we stopped for lunch on some handy rocks just above Mazon Wath, thoroughly enjoying our delicious sandwiches.  The going was good until we reached Ewefell Mire; the clue was in the name, but we ploughed on regardless and suffered the consequences (very wet feet!).  The next section to Smardale Bridge was tough; we were tired and the scenery somewhat uninspiring, and consequently narrowly avoided a serious wrong turn!

Ponies checking each other outShell rocky arm chair

This was a very long day; and we were desperate to see a hint of Kirkby Stephen in the distance, but it wouldn’t come into view until the last minute!  Afetr 9 hours of walking, we finally arrived at the very welcome sight that was Kirkby Stephen.  We found our final destination (Fletcher House) with ease; a beautiful spacious house, with very welcoming hosts, right in the centre of town.

We’d arranged to meet Wayne and Linley for dinner as this was their last day on the C2C, and met them the pub to compare tales of the day’s walking.  It was now that we discovered why we’d seen so few of our fellow walkers during the day… THEY’D GOT THE BUS!  It turned out the others had got the bus from Shap to Orton, worried that afetr the difficult day before the extra miles today would prove too much.  They’d got to Orton about 10:30am, had a nice coffee break and headed on to Kirkby Stephen, consequently they were a couple of hours ahead of us.  Despite this, poor Wayne and Linley ended up getting into KS after us due to some “navigational issues”.  We had a nice relaxed dinner chatting about the walk and the rest of their holiday plans, and satisfying our ever-present hunger!


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