Friday, May 25, 2012
339.3 kms: Rose Bridge-Dalston-Carlisle.
There is a pub on the other side of that picture by the way. I am not otherwise in the habit of knocking back pints in churchyards. It just seemed a cool place to sit—and all the funky people are here, lots of sleeves and coloured hair and a very drunk, bust-enhanced girl tottering about in a very short dress. Oh good, someone has rescued her from herself. Someone's child is running around spraying his water bottle at everyone and has just thrown beer on one of the particularly blonde and tattooed young things who is taking him in search of his parents—they appear to have left him behind (small wonder). Oh no, there we go, someone is owning up to him.
Needless to say I was not up at the hoped for five or six am and away from my hidey hole. The night was long and it is only the particular strange thoughts that turned out to be dreams that indicate I slept at all. I'm too old for the stiffness that sleeping on the ground (or extremely hard youth hostel mattresses) brings. (I am getting so soft! I should also, based on other trips, be at 400 odd k's today not a measly 339.) Back to camping: by morning I am usually so exhausted that the slight increase in warmth sends me off. I had misjudged where the sun would rise (getting it to rise on you makes two things happen. One, it gets you up quick smart as sun and tent material are an extremely warm combination—I remember one morning, day after Fourth of July, in a campground in Rapid City, South Dakota where we had to crawl out of the tent at about six am and hide under the picnic table because we were very hung over and very, very hot). And two: it dries all your gear up. Neither happened and so I was packing up wet gear at about eight when I saw a couple coming across the adjacent field. I ducked down behind my weeds. They didn't seem to notice me and were nearly through my field when suddenly I heard them calling out to what I assumed were their dogs. Eek! Out of nowhere a deer was running toward me at great speed. It saw me and diverted. Two great big dogs charged past a couple of seconds later—one looking over at me hiding behind the weeds and saying 'What the ...?'
They chased the deer up and over the hill behind me. It seemed all was well but then the owners started walking towards me. They seemed to locate their dogs and turn back but then that dog with its obviously good memory came back to see what it had seen. I had to sit up—probably scared the bejeebers out of them. I mumbled something about just staying the night. A great black lab and a greater Rhodesian ridgeback licked my face (eeuuw, suntan lotion, Bushman's Plus, sweat and dirt, possibly slug parts) while I tried to have a casual conversation with a man who had just discovered me lying in a bush. His wife kept a distance.
Why do I always get sprung camping? I have trouble remembering times when I have got clean away without some sort of awkward wave or chat.
Otherwise it was a quick walk into Carlisle (see left) where I tossed up moving on or staying, and figured I would have more option for accommodation in a city rather than a small village on a Saturday night. By two-ish I was sequestered in a B&B with a taciturn owner. By three-ish I was back out in the city, sitting around in free wifi cafes drinking coffee, wandering around the sights, sipping beer in churchyards and having one of the four best meals I have had here (starting to sound like it isn't that unique). Smelling heavily of garlic I am going to lock myself in my room and relax while Carlisle goes mad on a Saturday night. Tomorrow I am heading for the start of Hadrian's Wall. Another day, another long distance walking path.
Good night to Carlisle, good night to you.
Only, I'm not actually because I have come back to find two men with Eurovision on the telly ready to go with sweet wine and snacks. I had forgotten it was on. Thank God they didn't. What a night of entertainment! Did you see the Russian babooshkas?
Once again I'll try: good night!