Monday, May 27, 2013

Day 9 - Kirkby Stephen to Keld

Today was to be an exciting day when I would pass the half way point on the Coast to Coast walk.

But first, the big news. I had to take in my belt a notch. All that walking and not much for lunch has had an effect on my waist line. No doubt three weeks in Amsterdam will restore it to its former glory.

This was also the day when I would really give the new sandals a long workout and let me say that they have worked very well indeed. This is the only day of the trip that my feet have felt pretty good at the end of the day's walk. That steep descent of that rotten Dent Hill has a lot to answer for.

As usual, you can see a map of the walk here.

You exit Kirkby Stephen by a quite small lane and cross this creek. 

Naturally there are sheep everywhere. These don't have the shaggy coats that you find higher up in the hills and mountains.

It really is a pleasant walk that gradually climbs out of the town.

Unfortunately there is a quarry to spoil the view. 

Looking back down into KS. 

The last view of the quarry and KS.

The Nine Standards off in the distance. Walkers have a choice of following a red or blue route that leads up to these cairns of stones. Both of these routes then have to cross large boggy areas. There is an alternative green route that takes a lower route and has less bogs. I was tempted to take the red route but decided that I would go green since I was wearing the new sandals. I was not sure how they would cope with the bogs.

There are so many walkers who travel this route that the constant tramping can damage the vegetation. May is actually when you should be taking the red route.

Intriguing patterns on the hillside.

Half way! That is an accomplishment. It seems that most English walkers cannot get sufficient time off work to do the whole Coast to Coast in one go. Most do it in bits and pieces depending on the amount of holiday time available.

Walkers ahead of me heading up the red route to the Nine Standards.

The decision point. Red and blue to the left, green to the right. I headed right.

The green route follows a long stone fence down the hill.

The views are stupendous.

One of the bogs. They were not as bad as some others that I had crossed earlier in the trip. Generally there is a way around them if you go a few yards to the right or left. Occasionally there is no alternative.

The sandals and waterproof socks worked very well in the bogs. I could feel the cool of the water on the sock but the inside stayed dry. Since the socks are a bit long it's a bit like wearing permanent gaiters.

The sandals are also quite light so walking in them is easy.

I only saw two other walkers on the green route. One about here, a heavy set woman with a dog.

And then at the bottom of this little creek bed, I met the other who made the green route much more interesting.

And here is one of the characters you occasionally meet who does something really interesting. Nigel is a diviner and there he is with his divining stick. He had been asked to go up to the Nine Standards to find out more about what was underneath. He had been ill for a while but had already been up there and had located several underground chambers.

He showed me how it worked. You hold the Y shaped thingie a special way in your hands as in the photo and then think about the substance you wish to discover. As you walk along the thingie stays in place but when it is above the desired substance, the end in front of you suddenly raises up. For Nigel it would go almost vertical.

Eventually I reached the road that went to Keld. These are snow poles. 

It was a beautiful sky day.

The border of Cumbria and Yorkshire.

It didn't look too much different in Yorkshire.

I came across a few huts where sheep could be herded when it was really cold. I presume that they have dogs that round up the sheep.

Another life for an old railway wagon as a sheep pen.

Since it was a Sunday there were quite a few bikers enjoying the glorious weather. There were cars about every five minutes and the occasional cyclist. I did not come across other walkers however. I actually enjoyed the ease of walking on the road and it was easy to get off when I heard traffic coming.

This sheep was looking at me and as I focused the camera it looked away. I whistled and it turned to look at me again resulting in this photo.

Another sheep hut.

I noticed the tractor pulling the wagon way off in the distance. Later it returned to Keld.

Another wagon.

The tractor from the other photo.

Looking down into the valley where Keld is located. Note the one in seven slope road sign.

Camping still appears to be popular in England.

I wondered what was the purpose of the little cave.

The red route path finally joined the road. I was quite happy with the green route since it gave me some easy walking, the views were still terrific and of course, I got to meet Nigel.

I'd need a wet suit too in order to brave those cold waters.

Last year our friends took us to Tan Hill for lunch before bringing us down to Keld.

Not as good as the Cloudy Cider at Kirkby Stephen.

I went in here first to get a drink, the cider, and asked where Butt House was. It was fifty yards away.

The woman who used to run the B and B, Butt House, was famous along the entire route. As I remember, she developed the first list of recommended places to stay along the route. When it cam time to retire a few years ago, she personally selected who would be allowed to take over her B and B and they are still the owners.

After dumping off my hiking gear at the B and B, I wandered down the road to the lower part of Keld. Nothing had changed much since last year when we visited except it was a much nicer day.

Daffodils are a good indicator for how late the cold weather hangs on.

The seat where I became more intrigued about actually doing the Coast to Coast walk.

Where I will head off tomorrow towards Reeth.

Almost the end of the daffodils.

My room at Butt House. It's quite comfortable.

The dining room where most of the guests would eat dinner at the same table.

The lounge.

The wife is a trained chef and her food is wonderful. This was a vegetable soup with a very strong curry flavour. Next morning I found out it was a curried banana soup and while the land lady was not giving away her secret recipe, here is one.

I had a pork belly in a very rich sauce which I seem to remember included apricots. I also had a piece of apple pie for desert. Most of us at the table had ordered different items from the menu and they all looked absolutely delicious. 

There were seven of us at the table and all had either done the C2C or were doing it now. Two two ladies on the left were from the USA and the others were from England. The conversation just flowed and we all had a good time.

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