Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Day 7 Keld to Reeth 11 ¼ Miles

We woke about 6:30am with the waterfall outside noticeably quieter than it was the previous evening, a quick look out the window didn’t reveal sunshine however, it was still low cloud and raining, albeit much lighter than last night.
We’d ordered a bacon baguette for breakfast for 7:30am, which we were particularly looking forward too, if it was anything like last night’s dinner it was going to arrive bang on time and be really nice, it was both! On the dot at 7:30am, and really nice.
We had a nice breakfast chatting to our friends we’d met, however sadly we said our goodbyes to Ian and Charles that morning as our walk schedule meant we wouldn’t see them again which was a shame, so after wishing each other good luck and getting some details of Charles’s charity web page we were back on the trail for 9:15am.
We’d planned to take the high route today, and given that the rain had now stopped that’s exactly what we did. As we climbed the steep climb up towards the remains of crack pot hall we quickly caught up with a huge group of walkers from the USA, taking pictures, whooping, and laughing, it was quite noisy to be walking with such a large group, we were quite glad when they halted at crack pot hall and returned down to walk the low route for some reason, “ah, peace and quiet is resumed” we said.
The walk across the tops today was fantastic, we were rewarded with great views across Swaledale and down the valley, we briefly met Astrix and Martin whom we’d met last night whilst walking near the remains of old lead mines. As we descended to Gunnerside beck and the ruins of Blakethwaite Smelt Mill we decided this was a good place to stop for a brew and a flapjack, given it wasn’t raining for once.
After a nice and extended stop for a morning brew and biscuit we headed off again, walking through the old lead mining areas is a nice, but also weird place, you almost feel like you’re walking on the moon, lead is toxic, and nature has still to fully reclaim this land from the history of lead mining, no grass grows, no trees exist, just a lunar landscape.
As we descended we stopped for our lunch, we could tell from the map that we were not too far away from Reeth already, we had a really good pace about us this year, which was great on the long days but we needed to reel it in a little on the shorter days. The skies began to darken as we descended from the moors to join the Swaledale valley and follow the river, we met a local chap walking his dog that stopped and asked “walking coast to coast eh??” “yeah, enjoying it, and finally got a bit of dry weather” I said, well of course this was the kiss of death, as we hit the village of Reeth the heavens opened once again.
We thought, “no way are we putting out water proofs on today” and literally ran the last few hundred yards in to the Village and the first pub we hit was the Buck Hotel, and also our lodgings for the night.
Already sat in front of the fire enjoying lunch was Astrix and Martin, we went to the bar and ordered a pint of ale for me and a J20 for Sarah. As we sat enjoying our drink, and chatting to our friends some other C2C walkers began to drift in soaked through, I was feeling quite smug about having remained dry today, and pleased with our decision to press on and miss the rain.
After our drinks we headed up to get showered and changed, I had nothing to dry out for once which was nice, so had time to relax, read my book and watch a little TV, again searching the channels for weather forecast information.
Once refreshed we headed in to the village to pick up some lunch for tomorrow and see what was about. We picked up some really nice looking homemade butty’s in the village shop, and then went for a coffee in the much talked about ice cream parlour and coffee shop, Sarah had some ice cream which was really nice. As we had our Coffee, Tea and Ice Cream we had a game of drafts on a board set out on the table, whilst no expert, I thought the game looked fairly straight forward and naturally would win convincingly, however Sarah cleaned up and won before I’d even finished my coffee, “a fix” I thought......
After my nice coffee, but slightly disappointing game of drafts we left the coffee shop noticing a sign for an outdoors shop, my water proof map holder had split and so took the opportunity to pick up another one, £18!! But in fairness it was a good quality one, so I left happy enough. 
We then headed over to the Black Bull pub for a beer before returning to our accommodation at the Buck Hotel for our evening meal. The Buck Hotel had a Pizza menu to Sarah’s delight, I stuck with Steak and Ale pie, however I must admit the pizza looked really good and I was a little jealous I’d missed out on perhaps my only chance of Pizza on C2C! As we sat down we were joined by Wendy, we enjoyed a really nice meal and good chat in front of the fire which was nice. We were also joined by Tony and Peter, who we’d briefly met in the bar in Kirkby Stephen following their walk from Orton. They were brothers walking C2C, and Peter now lived in Canada and has travelled over to walk the route together with his brother, very nice I thought.
After perhaps one pint of Copper Dragon too many for me we headed for bed, once back at the room we put the telly on and made a cup of tea, the weather reports still informed us the forecast was improving, now imminently it seemed, from tomorrow in fact. Well, I fell asleep thinking “I’ll believe it when I see it”, still, if there’s one thing to guarantee warm sunny weather its investing £18 on a water proof map holder. 

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