Tuesday, 11 December 2012

My Advent Calendar - Day 11

December 11th

Welcome to Day 11 of my Advent Calendar, where I am reliving my Coast to Coast adventure!

Day 6 – Part 2

~ No buses, We soldier on, Road walking, Wild horses, Hannah struggles to get over styles, The rain relents briefly, Kirkby Stephen, I try to make some dinner ~

I re-entered the bus shelter with the news that the timetable was vague about buses to Kirkby Stephen but that there certainly wasn’t one for at least five hours. We decided that Orton was nice, and probably a lot nicer when it wasn’t raining but we would rather keep moving. We looked at the map again and plotted a route of road walking, which might help us to move a bit faster for the next few miles. We donned our bags again and set off into the rain.
            The road was predictably dull although I don’t suppose the fields were much to look at in the rain either. We kept our heads bowed and our shoulders hunched and ploughed on. For a while we did well and started to feel more confident. Three miles slipped by but then the road ran out and we were back to the fields and scrub land. The path was nearby and all we had to do was find it and we would be back on course. However, as we crossed a cattle grid we saw a pack of wild horses standing in our way and decided to try and work our way around them.
            The horses were nervous and began shifting and walking, causing us to go further out of our way. Somehow though we ended up almost walking though them, probably the worst thing to do. They didn’t touch us and having made it past them we walked quickly on, heading in the direction I thought was roughly right. After five minutes though it became clear I had misjudged how much the horses had taken us off course.
            The land made walking difficult and with the rain still hammering down I was getting angry and marched on till I reached a wall. From there we tried to work out which way to go next. Then Hannah spotted some people in the distance and without hesitation we made towards them. After another ten minutes we were back on the path and finally heading towards Kirkby Stephen again.

We trudged on but the long day and the weather were taking their toll and the miles crawled by. Hannah’s legs were beginning to ache and getting over styles was getting tougher, especially the high ones. Meanwhile my boots had given up being waterproof and I was walking with an ocean in each one. We passed The Fabulous Three who had sadly become Two for the day because one of them (I forget which now) had bad blisters. Shortly after they caught us up when Hannah had got stuck at the top of a style over a high wall. We both de-bagged and I climbed up to help her.
            Eventually the rain eased and we were able to enjoy the magnificence of the Smardale Aqueduct. About an hour later we neared Kirkby Stephen and The Fabulous Two left us as they headed into the centre of town, while Hannah and I found our way to the camp site.
            There were a lot of Caravans and a few tents. The facilities were amazing, the toilet and shower block was huge, and even better they had a drying room, with a tumble dryer which we made full use of. Sadly though the nearest eatery was a mile away in town and neither of us felt like walking two more miles that evening. So I unpacked my Kelly Kettle for the first time.
            Typically, on a day that had not gone particularly well for us, it began to rain again, but I got the fire lit and the water was soon boiling. The heat then attracted midges and I felt like I was back at Blacksail. Once the water had boiled we made up some cup soups and instant pasta things and made do, retreating to the safety and comfort of the tent. Tomorrow could only get better… surely?

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