Saturday, 15 December 2012

My Advent Calendar - Day 15

December 15th

Welcome to Day 15 of my Advent Calendar, where I am reliving my Coast to Coast adventure!

Day 8 – Part 2

~ We take to the road, A slow afternoon, Sunshine, Reeth, A pleasant surprise ~

It was still cloudy and damp as we exited the pub and I suggested keeping to the road to avoid getting bogged down. At first this was just a track but after a mile and a half became firm tarmac and wound through several small villages (all ‘nice little places’).
            The afternoon simply became a case of pounding out the miles, dodging cars and keeping our legs moving. There were a few scattered showers but I think we had almost become immune to them. We didn’t realise at the time but I think that afternoon we passed some kind of barrier. The weather no longer affected us (at least not in the same way) and would never again cause us to consider taking a bus. In the rain we’d also forgotten about our heavy bags (a feature in the Lake District) and now we barely noticed them. There were of course other barriers to come.

Muker to Reeth is more than 8 miles and, as in the early days of our walk, we were basically alone. The Swaledale is a picturesque valley, probably why Wainwright chose it when he first planned a Coast to Coast walk. Slowly it slipped by and in the late afternoon we neared Reeth.
            Then, to our joy, the clouds began to clear and bright sunshine beamed down making the final half mile very enjoyable. Reeth is a delightful place and it’s open ‘square’ (which is actually more of a triangle) lit up beautifully. We sat on a bench and enjoyed the view, occasionally spotting other walkers.
            I popped into the newsagents and bought us a newspaper, for two reasons: firstly, to find out what was going on in the world – we felt very cut off – and secondly, to use as stuffing for our wet boots overnight. Newspaper has a wonderful way of collecting all the water inside a shoe; there’s another good tip if you’re planning a long walk soon.

After our stop we wandered down through the village and located the camp site where we would be staying that night. We knocked on the door of the owners’ house and were met by a lovely woman who immediately asked, ‘Are you on the Coast to Coast?’
            We confirmed that we were and she replied, ‘Just a minute. You can have our caravan.’
            We looked at each other, lost for words. Then Hannah said, ‘Are you sure?’
            ‘Yes,’ said the woman, ‘we let Coast to Coasters use it all the time. I’ll just get my husband to come and let you in.’

The husband turned out to be at a pub but jumped straight in his car when his wife phoned and raced down to meet us. We thanked them again and again, it was the perfect end to a tough few days and prepared us well for the ones to come.
            We spread out our gear and tried to dry it all as best as possible and then put the TV on. Hannah had received a text from Dad earlier checking we hadn’t been washed away and the footage we now saw helped us to understand. The flooding in Yorkshire was incredible and had all come because of the rain that we had been walking in for the past three days. We replied that we were fine, and being well looked after and were now ready for the next part of the journey.

The caravan!

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