Coast to Coast 2009 – Day 7

image1782727394.jpgThe Kelda brew in Keld Lodge is excellent walking beer, light and refreshing and not too strong, just right in my book.

Before I start my report for Day 7, I’d just like to say hello to Richard from Warrington, who I met in the bar last night. He’s a reader of my site and blog and stopped me to say hello. He’s on the C2C as well, walking with his faithful collie dog and a friend. It’s the first time I’ve ever met a reader before and although it was great, it was also a little embarrasing. The price of fame I guess 🙂

Anyway, the Geordie commentator has a day off, so it’s straight on with the rambling…..

The longest day of the walk so far lay ahead, with just shy of 22 miles of reasonably flat walking from Keld to Richmond. We’d had to shave a day from the usual 12 day route and this seemed like the best leg to do it on. I don’t particularly like Reeth, for a small village it’s normally very busy and full of people passing through in cars and coaches.

The distance involved today did make Reeth an obvious place to stop for lunch however.

We arranged an early breakfast at Keld Lodge and were on the path by 08:10, our earliest start of any day so far! The path climbs almost immediately, up to Crackpot Hall and this was a brutal start to the day for tired legs and Rob’s sore foot.

Our plan was to use the lower, Swaledale alternative route today, having 22 miles to go we didn’t want to add unwarranted height gain to the day as well. We’ve both done the high level route through the lead mining workings and so we felt justified in using the lower route for our purposes today.

The rain held off for an hour or so and then began to fall as that light rain, the type that Peter Kay describes so well, the type that soaks you through so easily. I settled for waterproof coat only but Rob feared the worse and went for top and bottom coverings. Within an hour it relented enough for me to put the coat back into the pack. Imagine me repeating this process another four times during the day and that will save me typing it in. Rob stayed in his full set all the way to Reeth but then switched to just jacket against the cold and intermittent rain.

We had an uneventful morning all told, we met no-one, we had no sun, we had no wind, we had no hard rain, there were no bogs, but we did have a very relaxing and enjoyable mornings walking. We made Reeth at 12:20, perfect timing for lunch, where we found a small cafe, off the main square, without any grockles and with home made cakes!!

The afternoon proceeded in much the vein with no bad weather to speak of and still no-one else on the path with us. We’d left too early in the morning for Keld to Reeth walkers and too late in the afternoon for Reeth to Richmond walkers.

By 15:00 we were both on autopilot; slight gradients felt like mammoth hills and stiles took on epic proportions (we looked for gates wherever possible). By 16:00 Rob’s legs were dead from the knee down and I was beginning to lose feeling in my left foot. The longest stage was beginning to hurt!

We finally arrived at the outskirts of Richmond at about 16:30, just under 8 hours of walking with only the 30 minute stop for lunch.

We found a supermarket and stocked up on lunch for tomorrow, there is no guarantee that there will be anywhere open in Danby Wiske. The White Swan has always maintained somewhat irregular opening times and the lady who ran the tea room from her kitchen round the corner may no longer be there for all I know.

We are in Willance House tonight, an ancient house just slightly out of the centre, but the rooms are excellent and they have wifi so I can post this, along with a photo.

Longer day tomorrow, although with less height gain, can’t face looking at the weather forecast – maybe in the morning.

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