From Kirkby-Stephen to Keld: Butt House B and B
8:50 AM to 2:15 PM
4:36:20 moving time, 0:49:23 stopped time
605 metres up and 450 metres down
May 31, 2016: Karma’s 3rd birthday
Happy Birthday to Karma!
I do not know what the temperature was today. The forecast had stated 17C I think. When we stepped out of our B and B this morning, the sun was warm on our faces; so, t-shirt and capris seemed perfect. We had removed our merino sweaters from our pack as we were sure we would not need them. As a precaution we put our windbreakers into our daypack. It was a steady climb on paved road out of Kirkby Stephen for about 3.5 kilometres before we were on a dirt and rock path. At about 5.5 kilometres we decided our bare arms were never going to get warm; so we stopped and donned our jackets and pulled our hoods up. I even put on my gloves which I was glad I still had in our pack.
We may have recorded one of our fastest walks today because we were trying to be warm. I normally do not like walking on pavement but we learned about a soft alternative today. I now know that I would choose pavement over bog! We are so fortunate to have had seven dry days of hiking, not just for the individual pleasant walking days but also because the peat bogs on top of the moors were less boggy than they could have been.
We have heard it rumoured that sheep and calves are swallowed in these bogs and that one of the ways to get across the bogs is to use your partner as a plank. We did not have to resort to this. I have not done standing broad jump or pole vaulting since I was a teenager. Actually I do not think I ever did pole vaulting but I might have won a ribbon for standing broad jump once or twice. The difference between then and now is that my knees scream now upon landing. They did not used to do that! Brian’s extra long legs meant he was able to take giant steps instead of jumping. I only missed the other bank once. This resulted in bog over my one boot top and one wet knee. After that I used a double pole vaulting technique and was entirely successful in not sinking.
The nine standards are nine dry stone towers, ten to twelve feet tall, the originals of which have been standing on the Pennines for at least four hundred years. They had some repairs done two hundred years ago. They are visible from a long way off. It was too cold up there to hang around. We did not snack but kept on jumping.
We were startled when a bog runner flew by. Dressed I shorts, t-shirt and running shoes, he appeared to float over the bogs. Jet-propelled shoes, perhaps? When the second runner zoomed up we noticed he was wearing a race bib. Curiouser and curiouser. The third runner slowed to a lace where we engaged him in conversation. He had been running for twenty-five hours and had started in St Bees. He hoped to get a little sleep in Richmond…two sets hence for us! He was running the Coast to Coast and hoped to complete it in a total of three days.
We met the sixth runner when we stopped to eat our lunch and have cream tea ( that means tea with a scone and raspberry jam and whipped cream. Yeah! Our first real “Cafe” on the Coast to Coast. Actually this was at an isolated farmhouse where they had several picnic tables outside and if you rang the school bell a young child would show up to greet you. She told us her mom made the tea, not her. It was delightful especially as we were able to find one table out of the wind. The threatening rain did not happen. Double bonus!
This last runner told us he was running what was called, The Northern Traverse”. You can look that one up, Shawn, and set a new goal. All the runners we saw looked to be 35 to 45. Apparently 70 set out and they have to complete the run in at least six days. Brian and I will not be doing any such race, but these runners provided today’s entertainment. They left us smiling all day.
We arrived at Butt House and were greeted warmly by a surprised Jacqui who declared that no guest had ever arrived so early from Kirkby-Stephen. Chris was still preparing our room. This is the second night that we have had a room with three single beds. When we booked three months ago, it was their last room. Jacqui told us people are booking a year ahead. On a small place like Keld, you would have to. There are not many places to stay.
We have been visiting with Dave and Sue from the Midlands who just completed eight days of walking compared to our seven. They broke our long day into two short ones.
We will be dining family style around a big table this evening with the rest of the guests.