There have been no banks, no post offices, very little internet. You would think I was in the middle of nowhere. In Malham I had tried to get cash-back (cash out) at the pub but the only pub that did it had managed to break their eftpos machine. When I finally sat down last night and drank deep of the amber draught, felt the warmth of the fire and thought about what I was going to do tomorrow, I decided that I may have to stay two nights at the Crown, and make my way by public transport to a town big enough to have a bank—the closest being Settle. Even though the Travelex cash passports now have the chips on them, the atms in pubs and supermarkets still don't recognise it as a card. As I was mulling this over the publican did herself out of an extra night by telling me she could do cash-back. This morning, when the alarm went off, I wished she hadn't. I wanted to go down and have breakfast, get back into bed for a couple of hours and then head off to Settle to look for a bank and a post office. Instead I got back to my late-leaving ways and headed out of the hotel at tennish. I wandered in the other direction from the path to the famous Pen-y-Ghent cafe and bought a new hat (one of those tube things that you can make into a hat, a brooch, or a pterodactyl) and some pure wool mittens (he sold me on those because he had worn them in the arctic). By the time I actually got on the path again it was nearly eleven.
Plan today: head along the Pennine to Cam End and then turn east on the Dales Way toward the Lake District. The sun had come out this morning but with no net of the last few days I had no idea of temperature. I went for no leggings and no rain gear. I think I have residual coldness from yesterday though and was cold all day long—the cold that saps the desire from your body. It was a chore to put one foot in front of another. The Dales Way had some legging in it before it reached anywhere nearly civilised. I had just stopped for one of my breaks and dug out thermals and my merino jacket and rain coat again when a farmer stopped by on his quad bike. He told me two things: there is a pub that does accommodation a lot closer than the one I intended to try for, but in the other direction, and, tonight's overnight temperature was due to be minus one. My being-inside paranoia kicked in and I went towards the closer pub. It was near a railway station, and, worse case scenario, if there was nothing there I decided that I would cash in some of those extra Formby miles and catch the train to Dent where there was possibly a place to stay.
I had coffee when I got to Ribblehead. It is one pub, a viaduct and a railway station, that is all. Oh, and one of the three peaks that everyone around here seems to be running up all over the place. And it was full. Full of people and accommodation full. Plan B. Checked the timetable, the train didn't leave for Dent for another two and a half hours. Plan C presented itself. I would go to Settle. That way there would be plenty of accommodation options and I could get warm and go to the bank. Maybe even the post office—I have three maps to post home already.
So today I walked about twelve kilometers north and ended up about fifeteen kilometers south of where I started. I have a warm (double, as a special treat) room at the Royal Oak (http://theroyaloakhotel-settle.co.uk), the girl next to me when I was asking about a room bought me a drink, Trevor, the publican made me dinner and everyone was sweet and chatty (although the lady who bought me a drink did keep going back to saying how people seem friendly but could be murderers a little more often than made me feel secure). The view out my window is on the right—mmy feet won't allow me to go out to take a photo. Tomorrow I will sleep in and then catch the train to Dent. Call me a cheater. I was too cold to care and I am now too content to.
P.S: With so many sheep around here, guess what I saw today—a lambulance. Too cute! Maybe not for the lamb? I wonder if sheep sometimes look up and say 'Oh, how cute, it's an 'ambulance—because those weird two legged things "ambulate"'.
Good night to Settle, good night to you.