From Sheep to Cows

Patterdale to Shap: The Kings Arms
8:30 AM to 5:15 PM
27.36 km
Ascended 1057 metres, descended 968 metres
May 29, 2016

The farmhouse we stayed in last night was built in 1677, super thick walls. In December Peter said the fields in front of the farmhouse were flooded under two feet of water. The bed and breakfast business has been slow this spring, possibly because of all the rain the area has suffered with. We have been fortunate with weather thus far.

A thick fog blanketed the valley this morning. At 6:30 the sun rose above the fells and for a few minutes we could see their outline then just bright fog. By the time we had eaten our scrambled egg, bacon, roasted tomato, toast and yogourt, the fog was lifting. It was chilly when we stepped outside; so, we wore long sleeved merino shirts. That didn’t last long. After a kilometre the fog was gone and so were our long sleeves.

I have been carrying the communal daypack most of the time but today I decided Brian could have it for the first half of the day. This was also mostly ascent. My body felt much lighter even though this daypack is considerably less heavy than what I carried on the Camino.

The first nine kilometres were.relatively gradual compared to previous days, but it was definitely ascent for 8.5 kilometres to Kidsty Pike and took 3.25 hours. We did not know how we would ever complete the so called remaining 16.5 in 3.25 hours. According to the book this was to be a 25 kilometre day in 6.5 hours. I am not sure which super human hiker Henry had in mind when he wrote this. Perhaps it was a typo. Supposedly we will do 33 kilometres tomorrow in 7.5 hours. Maybe we are not allowed pit stops or lunch.

Today, as with most days, there were no cafes along the way, no cappuccinos the way we could readily find on the Camino. In fact there are not many ways we could have broken up today unless we did as the four Californians did. This is the foursome who hesitated to believe us yesterday morning. They appeared at the Kings Arms five minutes after us, looking refreshed as if they had just had a morning stroll. Actually they had walked fifteen kilometres beginning at 11 AM after a delightful steamboat ride across Ullswater. They said they were not up to all that climbing and descending we did.

We did not stay long on Kidsty Pike. We donated to a fellow collecting for Cancer Research, then began a quick descent. Atleast we practically ran the first several metres to get away from the tipula, large winged insects, similar to what we call shad flies that had just hatched out of the long grasses and were swarming us. I take exception to bugs wanting to fly into my nose and ears. At least they didn’t bite, or I don’t think they did. If I break out in hives I will have to come to a new conclusion.

The descent began in a more gradual fashion than we anticipated but it quickly met expectations as we had to step down the rough rocky trail, sometimes sitting to ease ourselves down. The path also took us in the opposite direction from where we had to travel once at the bottom. That was discouraging.

It was most gratifying to cool my feet at the base of a waterfall and eat our lunch in shade. Bev had made us cheese and chutney sandwiches on multigrain bread. That was new for both of us, very tasty and moist. Changing socks is always wonderful.

We walked the 7 kilometre length of Haweswater Reservoir. We thought this would be mostly flat. We were wrong. We began with a steep climb on a rocky path, then continued going down and up. At the far end there was to have been the model village of Burbank. We never saw it; so, no possibility of an ice cream cone. What did become new was that all of a sudden there were Coast to Coast signs, frequent enough that we could actually follow them with some confidence. We must have missed a turn though as we got off track and stumbled through a cow pasture. Cows leave a much bigger imprint than sheep.

This was a very long day, but beautiful, blue skies and maybe too much sunshine. We were so grateful for some shade from the deciduous forest along the Haweswater Reservoir. This is a mixed forest of beech, sycamore, oak, huge tamarack (known as larch here), and pine trees. We only had this shade for about an hour this afternoon. Mostly we were in open sunny fields. I kept my hat on. I even dunked it is a stream or gill.

We just finished an awesome lamb stew in mint, mushroom and onion sauce with curly fries and mixed veggies. We shared a delicious sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream. I will continue sipping my lovely Mout Cider: kiwi and lime while I try to access WIFI. Apparently it works near the pool table.


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