C2C 2009: Day Five

3rd May 2009 – Shap to Kirkby Stephen – 19.5 miles

In a Geordie accent: “Day 5 and the medication levels in the house have risen alarmingly. A strong smell of Deep Heat pervades Rob and Stu’s bedroom. Tubes of lotions and linaments lie on all available surfaces and the stock of Ibuprofen is running low”.

In the photo, a nice pint of Hobgoblin in the Kings Arrms in Kirkby Stephen.

We both feel a little worse for wear. Robs heel is giving him major discomfort and I’ve managed to chafe in a number of sensitive areas. We both have sore calves from the last three days of almost constant climbing or descending and the first 20 minutes of walking each morning, before the various muscle groups wake up, is probably quite comical to watch.

Breakfast at Brookfield is something to be experienced. The best selection of ingredients in quantities an Olympic athlete would be happy with. The crowning glory has to be the bacon, cooked to perfection and lots of it.

It looked like being a nice day with clear skies and views all the way back to the Lakes, but a touch chilly, so we started out of Shap, up to the M6 motorway bridge, in fleeces.

We were immediately followed by about 12 other walkers, a large group we had passed a couple of times in the last few days, who seem to make a great pace in the morning, but tail off rapidly in the afternoon.

They followed us onto Crosby Ravensworth Moor where we all stopped to put waterproofs on as the sun went in and black clouds came scudding overhead. 10 minutes later we all stopped and took them off again as the sun came back out, even warmer than before. This sequence of events repeated itself a couple more times in the morning as the weather plays that trick most hated of walkers “should I rain or should I glow now?”.

By lunch time it seemed to have decided and warm sunshine saw us most of the way into Kirkby Stephen. So much so that I’m currently doing a fair impression of a lobster. It did just manage one more 10 minute shower before we arrived at the B&B, but overall the day was excellent.

We are staying at Fletcher House and it seems very nice. We had an excellent pint of Hobgoblin in the Kings Arms and then dinner at the Black Bull, which was pretty good too.

There are a lot of folk walking the path this year, many more than I remember seeing in 2006, but I also seem to remember being able to start walking earlier that year than I have been able to this year. That could be down to walking with a companion of course, it always takes longer for two people to get ready in the morning than just one.

The rumour mill says there was a scuffle last night at one of the B&B’s where some of the large group were staying. Some of the group had a falling out with the host and punches were exchanged, police turned up and things got fiesty from the sound of it. Not really the sort of thing you expect to hear on your average walking holiday.

A short day will be very welcome tomorrow after 20 miles today and three long Lake District walks. The 11 miles or so into Keld will feel like a short ramble, unless the weather Gods decide to throw us something interesting.

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