Welcome to Day 7 of my Advent Calendar, where I am reliving my Coast to Coast adventure!
Day 4 – Part 2
~ Patterdale Youth Hostel, Dinner, We meet three ladies, Nikka and a keen Aussie (now there’s a surprise) ~
Patterdale is a nice little place at the south-eastern end of Ulleswater, and when bathed in sunshine, like it was when Hannah and I arrived, it looks beautiful. We sat on a bench outside the village store, which is run by a cheery American, and enjoyed not doing anything for a while. We bought postcards and some food to replenish the stuff we’d already eaten and then, still making full use of the gorgeous weather, strolled to our fourth stop. The day had been the easiest so far and was about to get even easier, because we’d booked a night in Patterdale Youth Hostel, which had beds and showers and even a wash/dry room so we were able to clean a few of our clothes.
We arrived for dinner at a similar time to a few other people and we were soon chatting with them. There was a group of three ladies sat at one table and at another a younger woman, by herself. All four of them were doing the Coast to Coast and yet this was the first time we’d met any of them.We began telling stories of our walk so far with the three ladies (Helen, Nikki and Sarah) regaling us with amusing stories of their difficulties with navigation and toilet stops; a problem when there are so many other walkers around. They were impressed with Hannah’s planning skills and our use of the Ordinance Survey maps, and even more impressed with our ability to put up with each other (as brother and sister) when they realised we weren’t a couple.
The young woman (Nikka, not to be confused with Nikki), who turned out to be Belgian, then wowed us with a heroic tale. She had climbed Helvellyn and then come along Striding Edge (Google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about), which had scared her considerably, especially because she’d seen someone in front of her practically crawling. She hadn’t been informed what the path entailed and she was still getting over what she’d done.
We asked her if she was travelling alone. She nodded and then shared with us that she had just broken up with her boyfriend, who had been planning to come too. However, instead of giving up, she came over anyway and seemed to be doing rather well without him. The next morning she left early with a man who, up to that point, had also been walking by himself.
Later on we were sat in the lounge and got chatting with another woman, older this time and quite plainly from Australia. She also had a few stories to tell. Firstly she amazed us by mentioning that she had climbed 35 Wainwright peaks (that is 35 of the mountains that Alfred Wainwright wrote about) in just 4 days! Then she went on to explain that she used to be a fell runner, but was a bit slower now.She seemed to spend almost all her time walking up mountains having just come from the Alps where she’d taken some beautiful photographs, which she showed us. Finally she also dropped into the conversation that the last time she and her husband had been in the UK they had decided to cycle home (to Australia) but that they probably wouldn’t do it this time.
I think her stories tried us out more than anything and not long later we were in bed.