St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge
8:45 AM to 3:10 PM
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
We are now relaxing at the Shepherd’s Arms Hotel at Ennerdale Bridge, waiting for Jim to pick us up. The beer and shandy taste great.
We decided to start walking today rather than tomorrow as the weather is so perfect. All of your good wishes and positive energy must have turned the sky blue and brought on the sun. Thank you! We never dreamed we could have begun with such fabulous weather.
We started by standing in the Irish Sea. One is meant to dip the toe of the boot in the water to officially start. The tide was out, way out. We walked more than 300 metres to get to the water’s edge; so, we stood in the water one at a time to photograph our beginning. There were hills! The first climb up from the sea rose steadily for 1.5 kilometres. We were surprised at how many other hikers were starting at the same time: 2 couples from New Zealand, one couple from Australia with a friend from St Bees, a couple from England, a woman from Texas. The last three started earlier than us but we passed them. We never saw the New Zealanders after the first fifteen minutes. We kept the Australians/St Bees trio within our sights and chatted with them until they disappeared with three kilometres to go. We think they sprouted wings while we slowly, cautiously inched our way down Dent Fell. According to our guidebook, this is the steepest descent of the entire Coast to Coast. If this is true, Brian should have no problems. We did not encounter any steep down slopes in Spain that went on as long as that one did. We would not want to do it when wet, if we ever slid, we would not stop. I continue to huff and puff my way up steep fells. My lungs do not like climbing, but I am rewarded with amazing views.
We got rid of our fleeces after the first climb. Shorts would have been good.
The views of the Irish Sea and across fields and fells were spectacular. There were many birds nesting on the red sandstone cliffs. Wild flowers presented themselves in white, blue, pink and yellow. Yellow gorse clung to the cliff face and made up many of the fence rows.
Brian is now reclining in a hot bath. I am next after resting with my feet in the air. The birds awakened is before 4 AM with their cheerful singing. I think they were the same black birds that closed the cabaret late last night. Happily we went back to sleep for a few hours.
We heard that the meat pies at the bakery in Cleator were great but an older local walking his dog assured us that the ones from a bakery near a roundabout were superior. We probably won’t test those as we do not have a clue where he meant. We enjoyed our homemade ham and cheese sandwich sitting on mossy stumps in the cool shade of a spruce forest.
We communed with many sheep, lambs, cows and calves as we walked through their pastures.
A highlight of the day: the views were amazing. No photos we took will do them justice. We will keep awesome memories in our heads.