Thursday, May 17, 2012
211.7 kms: (Settle)-Dent Station, Cowgill-Dent-Brackensgill Bridge-Sedbergh.
It was an okay day. Mostly flat with a hill at the end; mostly not muddy with a muddy hill at the end. I'm in Sedbergh—the book town of England. What about Hay, I asked. Hay is the book town of Wales. Oops. Just have Wigtown to go and I will have done all three apparently, but my host (Keith, another ex-policeman who ends every sentence to me with 'girl'—thanks) advised that Wigtown is in the middle of nowhere. I seem now to be in a cross-over region between the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria, but the villages look quite different (left). They are tangles of cobbled streets with houses poking up all over the place—the Eton Mess of villages but quite gorgeous. There seem to be a lot more walkers on this route—think I saw as many today as I did for the whole time on the Pennine—but they are, oddly, not as friendly? There is one particular group of, mostly, males who walk with nothing and meet up with a blue bus every few miles for snacks or something, but they can't look you in the eye. Maybe they are the murderers that Laura was talking about—a group of ex-cons being rehabilitated with a Dale walk. Mmmm.
The weekend is coming up so I have committed to accommodation. I was hoping to get to Windermere, and so is everyone else, so I have destroyed spontaneity for the moment by making a booking. I am going to have a day off—Sunday again. But it does mean I have twenty-five miles (forty kilometers) to do in the next two days—doddle! At least there don't appear to be any rock faces to scramble up, and hopefully no snow storms—although those things just seem to give me wings anyway so maybe I need them.
I forgot to tell you yesterday that when I got to the sign post with the Pennine pointing one way and the Dales Way the other, there was a little flapping note with my name on it. Dave and Jacqui had left it for me, encouraging me to keep going (how did they know—maybe they were struggling in that cold wind too). Today I heard someone saying that when the wind blows from the north-west like it did yesterday it drops the temperature by five or six degrees. No wonder I was cold, this spring weather doesn't have five or six degrees in it. Today was rainer and wetter but nowhere near as cold because there was hardly any of that wind. That is all I want for tomorrow. It is a head wind too if it happens. Anyway, back to Dave and Jacqui. I liked them a lot; they were so sweet. And Jacqui is, I have nominated, the walker's 'sacrifice'. Someone, I reason, has to be the one that falls on their face, unable to get up again because of their turtle-like pack; someone has to think no, damn it, I am not going round any more mud, and then get stuck in it up to their knee and have to dig their own foot out. She isn't accident prone, she is just taking the fall for walkers everywhere and should be recognised as a hero. I recognise you Jacqui!
Good night to Sedbergh, good night to you.