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Journeyman's Coast to Coast Journal 2006
Friday 16 June - Patterdale to Shap
We were both awake for 7am on another bright sunny morning. Breakfast was not until 8am but we used the time to double check our respective kit/bags and had a cup of tea – no cheese thins left. We chatted about Malc’s journey home – he was to catch a bus into Penrith from outside the Pattterdale Hotel at 10.10am, then a train to Sheffield via Manchester and finally either a tram or bus to his home on the outskirts of Sheffield. We had a laugh about him carrying his rucksack, holdall and javelin like walking pole on the bus and train – would they let him on with his lethal weapon (pole). Malc wanted to continue on the walk but obviously couldn’t for all sorts of reasons such as work, family and to a lesser extent his flapping Zamberlan boot. We had a wonderful full English breakfast at 8am and chatted with the two female walkers we had seen ascending Dollywaggon Pike the previous day. They had finished their walking holiday and enquired about getting a bus to Kendal and we were able to point them in the right direction. I collected my packed lunch and topped up additional water for today’s longer walk of at least 17 miles – I was staying at the southern end of Shap and may also take in High Street on the way to Kidsty Pike.
I left my baggage for onwards transfer by Packhorse as usual and we both set off towards the White Lion at 8.50am. Malc had over an hour to kill and we chatted near the bridge. 9am came and went and as I looked towards the White Lion, a few hundred yards away, I saw Kit walk from the pub to the shop opposite and start looking at postcards. This was no good for me so I decided to set off asking Malc to call in on Andy and others to inform them of my decision as he went to the bus stop beyond the White Lion. If I saw them coming towards me from the path up to Boredale Hause I would wait for them otherwise I would carry on towards Shap. I was walking alone now and couldn’t see anyone in front or behind. I pushed on up Boredale Hause pausing only for the odd photograph and quickly passed Angle Tarn (see above) and climbed past Satura Crag and The Knott. The weather was once again kind to me and it was another great walking day. I had little difficulty route finding by using the maps and my GPS to confirm the correct sharp left turn up towards Kidsty.
I still couldn’t see anyone else on the route. I arrived at Kidsty summit at 11.15am and I congratulated myself on an excellent section. I had taken quite a few photographs on this stage and added a few more to the collection on the summit area. I telephoned Linda to let her know where I was and it was at this time I noticed hundreds of midges. I had not been bothered by midges up to this point but I used insect repellent and set off down towards Haweswater but I was still pestered by midges all the way to Burnbanks at the far end of Haweswater.
As I descended Kidsty Howes I spoke to a hillwalker and we discussed the sightings of golden eagles in the area. He told me the ‘hide’ was busy with birdwatchers and that I may get a sight of the golden eagles if I called in. I only saw a couple of walkers on the rollercoaster path throughout the entire length of Haweswater. I didn’t find this part of the route very pleasant at all but that was probably due to a combination of midges, stony paths and the weather which had become very hot and humid. I had planned to have my packed lunch near the Measand Forces but the midges put paid to that so I pushed on a sat on a very comfortable seat carved out of a tree trunk, on a grassed area in front of the public telephone box at Burnbanks. I had a good lunch whilst watching the builders working on the housing development underway at Burnbanks community. It looked very impressive. I was hoping that other C2C walkers would come along but alas no such luck – I suppose some could have set off early but in reality I was in front of the pack.
I set off through a short section of wood and then across rolling green fields towards Shap. I had little difficulty route finding but must admit I was paying particular attention following advice from previous C2C walkers about getting lost in this area. As I was negotiating a ladder stile near Rayside farm I thought my worst nightmare had arrived. I was walking forwards (my usual method) down the other side of the stile and stretched my toes downward to the bottom step when I felt a sharp and severe pain in my lower right calf. I tried to walk at the other side of the stile but found great difficulty and severe pain. ‘OH NO’ I almost shouted at myself – ‘don’t say this is the end I’m raising money for charity’. I sat down and stretched off my calf muscles and sprayed/rubbed my calf with Radian B. I gingerly set off and after a hundred yards or so the pain had eased and although I was still worried I knew I was back on track. That was a close shave. I continued on my planned route taking a few photographs at Shap Abbey and on my way through Shap village I topped up my mobile telephone at the village store. The walk to the other end of the village, where I was staying, seemed never ending so I called off at the Greyhound and had a pint of Jennings bitter before proceeding to arrive at Brookfield shortly after 4.30pm.
I had the most wonderful reception from Margaret at Brookfield. She showed me to my room and I decided to have a bath before joining other guests in the lounge to have some tea and toasties. It didn’t take long for me to realise I was in a special place and being looked after by a very hard working and dedicated lady. There were four other guests present in the lounge and after introductions we chatted away about our respective reasons for being in Shap and of course things in general. Margaret had to keep giving me a nudge to drink my tea and eat the toasties as I became engrossed in conversation – perhaps it’s because I had walked alone and/or I didn’t have Malc to talk/listen to. There were Rose and Rosie – two fairly young ladies who were taking part in an endurance event called The Three Rings of Shap the following day. More about that in a moment. There were also Gordon and his wife whose name I didn’t write down (apologies) and cannot recall but she was a vibrant lady with a great personality. They were staying with Margaret for the third time and were walking in the Eastern Lake District area. We obviously had a common interest in walking and as we chatted I learned that they had done the Dales Way, booked through a company, but they wanted to do it again and book their own accommodation etc. I was able to point them in the right direction in that respect having booked and walked the Dales Way 3 times. Margaret took my order for evening meal saying it would be ready at about 7.45pm. The two endurance eventers were dining out (that’s their bad luck) whilst Gordon and his wife and 4 other guests were dining with Margaret. Before moving on to the evening meal let me explain, the little I know about The Three Rings of Shap’.
This long distance event is held annually in June and comprises of three circular walks of 24, 20 and 18 miles making a total of 62 miles. Competitors can enter to walk 1, 2 or 3 of the ‘Rings’ and there are additional criteria sifting, runners from good walkers to walkers. I also believe there are categories for age groups. Finally, anyone taking part in all three ‘rings’ had a maximum of 28 hours to complete them. This sounded pretty tough to me. Rose and Rosie were intending to complete all ‘Three Rings of Shap’ and had to be at the village hall for 7am the following morning to start. I wished them all the very best in their event as they retired to their rooms to change and go out for their evening meal to the nearby Greyhound pub – which incidentally has a great reputation for food.
I went downstairs shortly after 7.30pm to join the other guests for evening meal. We all chatted for a while before Margaret emerged and invited us into the dining room. Brookfield is a licensed establishment and therefore I had a pint of beer with my meal. The meal was absolutely terrific and Margaret deserves enormous credit for serving such a varied menu to 7 guests. I had melon, followed by soup and rolls, followed by chicken, roast/new potatoes and 4 veg. I also had apricot sauce stuffing with the chicken – what a delight – and other trimmings such as apple sauce and stuffing. The other guests had other main courses and starters such as prawn cocktail, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and a host of other delicacies. What a wonderful evening we all had. I retired to bed at 9.45pm feeling extremely contented and still thoroughly enjoying everything about my C2C walk. I had the best nights sleep of the walk so far – is it because the snorer had gone or just the combination of a longer day and a wonderful evening meal.
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