Day 9: Keld to Reeth: 11 Miles
We are now in a routine. Each evening we walk into a village, thirsty for a pint of something. We eat, do our chores: filling water bags, replenishing our packs with snacks, looking over the next day’s route, and rinsing FAST-DRY underwear. We text for updates on the plumbing and get nebulous replies like: “Still working on it.” I slather my feet with Vaseline and snug them into socks, then make notes in my journal, falling asleep with pen in hand. Dallas Cowboy Fan tries to find sports on TV, falling asleep with the remote control in hand. The next day we walk and do it again.
But this morning….while we are waiting for our porridge, beans, and smoked bacon, a young lady slips into the chair next to mine. KIM!!
Kim of Berlin, dredlocks, and swollen knee fame. She’d stumped in late in the evening. Through the rain. Wet as a fish. And here she was ready to go again. Tyler Burgess in one of her walking tip guides has said that during the C2C, almost everyone has some part of their body hurting. I think of that often whenever my back aches. But here is a gal doing a stiff-legged stump along the trail. I’m inspired.
- a) Iron in the soil
- b) The water is filtered through peat
- c) The roiling water is carrying sediment because the stream has risen 2 meters since the day before due to all the rain.
We also cross many rabbit warrens with their holes punctuating the ground. And we often step over dead and rotting rabbit carcasses on the trail. (We are later told that the rabbits are such a problem, farmers shoot them, and I see why because we once passed a rabbit metropolis with at least 50 hares grazing and digging up a playground.)
We have begun stopping at village benches, having a snack, and watching the world go by. Actually, while here in Healaugh, nothing goes by. Not a car, bicycle, or human, and we wonder if the world has ended and we’re so far in the dales, we don’t know anything has happened.
We stay at the Buck Hotel in Reeth. It has a grand pub, and I’m surprised to be served one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had.
Day 10: Reeth to Richmond: 11 Miles.
Whoo-Hoo. This day starts out sunny. We blink like bats at the light. Within a few miles of starting out, many of the C2Cers have clotted together. Fourteen of us traipsing across a pasture. This is the first time we’ve ran into more than 2 other people (except in pubs). We thread our way through a corral of cows lying around, and I take off on another shortcut. I laugh at how nervous and insistent I used to be about staying exactly on the path. Well…actually my wanderlust turns out not to be a smart shortcut. We’re soon tracking in cattle muck 4 inches deep, but armed with compasses and a GPS we make it to a local bridleway by cutting across fields. I’d bent off-trail because I’d read about a tea room in the middle of these pasture lands. A refuge among the sheep, and I’m looking for it.
And sure enough, we find Elaine’s kitchen. Her glass conservatory has a group of neighbors packed into one table. Dallas Cowboy Fan and I step into her kitchen. Thousands of ribbons for sheep awards hang from the rafters. A frypan of something on the stovetop smells delectable. We ask for hot chocolates, toasties, and homemade apple pie. Soon 3 other C2Cers find their way to her little tearoom.
I look around, amazed that I am in the middle of England, eating at a sheep farm, like it’s a family reunion with old friends.
Moving on another 3-4 miles, we stop at Marske, an estate town with proper, tidy lawns. Taking our well-suited place on the town bench, we have lunch and I discover that I LOVE the pack lunch of tuna and sweetcorn on malted brown bread that last night’s B&B has made for me.
In 6 more country miles, we arrive at Richmond, the biggest city on the trail. We do a quick tour of the castle ruins, but hurry back to Arandale Inn. Our eyes pop out of our head when we see our room.
We’re soon floating around a hot tub (and I soaked in the claw-footed tub, too) before we head out to a French restaurant.
And Scout’s Text didn’t even phase us: Still working on plumbing problem. Now a gutter is plugged, water running off roof and down side of house.