Saturday, May 12, 2012

140.8 kms: Cowling-Lothersdale-Thornton-in-Craven-(Earby).

Maybe I need to be honest with myself and realise that I am finding it hard to do distance on this path. I had this strange feeling when I was on Top Withens, the wind in my rain jacket, the rain in my ears, that my pack was light and the going was easy. I think now that I may have been having a low-blood-sugar moment. It weighs a ton; it takes me hours to go a couple of kilometres. I have already left my shampoo somewhere, accidentally, what else can I get rid of? Wesley? The iPad? Three pairs of socks? Beside the iPad, none of those will make much weight difference and losing the iPad will send me round the bend because I need a good read at the end of the day—it makes me happy. Starting earlier will make a bit of difference and I am going to try for more breaks. Sounds counter-intuitive but I think maybe I am pushing too hard and not stopping and so I get to the point where I can't go one step further. That is how I was when I got to Thornton-in-Craven. I had planned to go a few more kilometres but not if I arrived there too late. I got there at four. The rest would have taken another three hours in my estimation. If I could have had a nice cup of tea and some cake I possibly could have done it, but there was nothing there—including any accommodation. I walked up and down town looking—literally, it was built on a hill. I even made a family miss their bus when I asked them. (Bus drivers here are mean. If they see someone at the bus stop, it doesn't mean they will stop, you have to wave them down. The family didn't see the bus approaching because they were talking to me. And they don't run that frequently—I felt mortifyedly bad.) In the end I caught the bus too (that is how I know they run so infrequently). There is a YHA in Earby (its back yard is pictured below), a couple if kilometres away, but I just couldn't walk it. 

I feel like I am fighting fate. What does fate want me to do exactly? Not worry? Maybe. I wanted to make sure, before I got on the bus, that there would be a bed. I unpacked the iPad, looked up the phone number on a PDF of Pennine Way accommodation that I downloaded ages ago (no wifi in the Pennines except in places where I least expect it and so aren't prepared for it) and tried to call them. Lucky I had that calling card/piece of paper eh? Well no, when you call the access number it gives a message in Portuguese which seems to be saying it is a wrong number. What??? There is ten pounds on that card, and I still have to call about that reference! Then tried to put coins in. Don't take money in public phones anymore. I got desperate and called on my mobile. That got a recorded message that told you to check and book online or to call central reservations. Okay, forced spontaneity again—I got on the bus. Turned out there was a bed in a room with only one person. Seems okay and in regards to being a roof over my head it is brilliant. Maybe I need to have a night free camping so that I can get over being so obsessed with not doing it. I am just concerned that the amount of clothing I will have to put on to guard against the cold will mean I am not able to physically get inside my sleeping bag. This is all going to be put to the test in a couple of days anyway because I have a twenty-two kilometre day coming up, with a mountain ascent (is six-fifty, seven hundred meters actually a mountain?) It is one of the Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks though, so I guess the locals think so. As I can't do sixteen or eighteen kilometre days at the moment that are only going over hills, I think I will be sleeping somewhere along that twenty-two k's. Although the actual mountain bit only appears to take about three kilometres on the map—a mad ascent with a semi-mad descent—it'll probably take me three hours to do it. Thirty minutes up, two and a half hours down is my guess—down is not my strong point.


Just had the biggest plate of fish and chips at the local pub (see the picture on right). It came with peas and a salad that had fruit in it. (When I got back to the hostel the manager asked if I had had the strange salad with blackberries in it. It is not so strange I think, but in the context of this otherwise very traditional, family-owned, lout-frequented pub, it may be a little out of the ordinary.) It is getting harder and harder to eavesdrop because it is getting harder and harder to understand what people are actually saying, but I think the huge group that arrived while I was having my dinner were the local cricket club, and I think they were in for a night of sorrow drowning because they had been bowled all-out for twenty-five runs! Not so cheery.


Sorry if it sounds like I am always moaning. It is just that my feet are doing most of the talking at the moment. At breakfast a lady asked me if it was true that long-distance walkers become obsessed with their feet. Yes, it is. I am my feet at the moment, nothing else.


Good night to Earby, good night to you.




  1. You are not moaning, you are indeed a legend. Please keep young Wesley though.

  2. I stumbled across your post from the comments page at Unbrave Girl, amazed that your recent post title mentioning towns near where I grew up! I like your idea of walking the length of the UK in segments - good luck on this year's leg.

    PS. You have a valid comment about the accent. It's so strong and almost every town in the area has it's own accent that others in the region can pick out as distinct. Don't feel too bad as, only going home to visit over 7 years, even I can't understand the occasional sentence when I skype my sisters!