Wednesday, 21st August 2002
Because of problems early on in each day’s walk, mainly as a result of us over-eating at breakfast we had decided to cut down the intake but unfortunately I had forgotten the arrangement when they came to collect our order at the Jolly Farmer’s Guest House at Kirkby Stephen. However we had been promised a lovely day’s walk to Keld which was only 12 miles away.
Two weeks ago, if anybody had said to me “Do you want to go on a little 12 mile walk today?”, I would have thought they were mad. Now, after walking over 20 miles yesterday I am looking forward to a gentle 12 mile stroll. How wrong can one be? We had arranged to meet Peter and Melva (the two Australians) and we set off at 9.50 a.m.
Nobody had told me that we had got to climb from sea-level to 2170 feet and I vowed to myself that I would look closer at the maps and walk details in future. Melva and I wanted to walk the alternative easier route to Keld but we were outvoted by Pat, Mary and Peter, who all wanted to be martyrs to the cause. The initial climb to about 1000 feet was early in the walk and took just about all the strength that I had left so one can imagine how I felt when I saw the next hill looming large in front of us!
The highlight of today’s walk is supposed to be the top of Nine Standards Rigg where the main Pennine watershed is crossed and we enter Yorkshire. On previous days I couldn’t wait to leave behind the mountains in the Lake District, not because of the wonderful scenery but simply the tortuous climbing – now I was being faced with more climbing, albeit lengthy ascents, not dangerous, towards nine massive boulders marking a spot of considerable significance. It was certainly significant to me when I got there, had my photograph taken with the group, and realised that most of the remaining six miles would be on the descent although there were some irritating little climbs in between.
What I wasn’t prepared for however were the bogs on the North Yorkshire Moors. No doubt recent inclement weather had made them worse but why anybody would want to spend a day of leisure walking through ankle deep mud completely defeats me. Everybody to their own, as they say, but it is not an exercise that I shall be repeating on a regular basis.
We eventually got to Keld at 5.15 pm. where we were met by Tina who had checked us in at the Kearton Country Hotel, Thwaite – a nearby location in a remote part where television etc. is still a thing of the future! She had spoken on the phone today to our son Paul who had told her in no uncertain terms that if either of us did anything as daft as this in future he would book us in to an establishment which would be more suitable for our twilight age. Tina told us we had to eat at 7 p.m., the latest time that the Hotel served, and we had an excellent meal and a few drinks afterwards.