Coast To Coast Diary

> Day Eight



Usual time, 6 o’ clock in the morning at Smithy’s house we all met. Pack Leader and me turning the corner to find Nicky and Smithy already there having a cig. Morning niceties and ciggies over, we were in the sherpa heading towards the M62, then the A1, then onto the A66 west, stopping at the first lay by after Scotch Corner for some more cigs and the toilet. Today’s section was to be Kirkby Stephen to Keld, about 11 miles. We pulled off the 66 at the Kirkby Stephen/Brough turn off, the A685. But instead of turning left towards Kirkby Stephen we turned right towards Brough. We pulled up outside a café and all three went in and had a breakfast leaving me in the back of the car, Bloody cheek, the three musketeers ride again, one for all and sod the rest! The rest being Maisie. To be fair PL did come out a couple of times to see if I was alright and he tried to get me to eat a sachet but I was having none of it, huh, leaving me in the car! When they finally came out we were heading for Kirkby Stephen saying what a lovely breakfast they had and what lovely people that ran the cafe. I was to see this café again in less than a week’s time when I was on route to Scotland for my holidays with my family. This time I got to meet the owners and was given 2 sausages and my family were delighted with their top nosh scran at reasonable prices, (Top café). The café was called Chofhs and my human gran (Annie) was asking what the name stood for. The lady told her it stood for change of hearts. Anyway back to the story, we parked the sherpa in the marketplace quite near Franks bridge, but PL says we must walk back to the Horseshoe chippy if we were to do it right (mmm!). After walking there and back again, as we passed the car there was an almighty racket from above us. We looked up to see 4 parrots flying above our heads squawking away or whatever parrots do.

We went down to Franks Bridge and crossed it to find some ducks and ducklings in the water. We said goodbye to Smithy and we were on our way to Hartley hamlet, passing the quarry on a tarmac road onto a track catching glimpses of the Nine Standards. Since it was July we took the red route up and after a while we reached the Nine Standards Rigg. We had a good long stop at the Standards with Nicky adding a stone to the top of one of them and me keeping a close watch. For any reader not knowing what the Nine Standards are I suggest you look it up on the internet, all I can tell you is they are 9 big cairns!

We head off south and come to the orientation disc and then come to the trig point. After passing the blue route that shoots off to the left it was bog after bog after bog, just one big horrible bog nearly all the way down to the gamekeepers track at the bottom where we turn left just before the road.

After a while we came across what looked like an old garage maybe this was the shooter’s hut, I don’t know. PL tried the door and it was opened so we all went inside to explore. There were tables and benches there and all very cosy it was. There were some graffiti on the walls, quite a bit about Wainwright, some of it flattering, some of it not so flattering, but I say as one graffitist says, good old Wainwright! We would have stopped for our scran in there but it was so nice outside we went on our merry little way. After this we seemed to be jumping over a lot of streams before reaching a big one to jump over at the end, I think Nicky said it was Ney Gill.

While trying to negotiate it a couple with a dog were watching us and the man was having a bit of a giggle at our efforts and I thought to myself, I can’t wait to see your efforts old bloke. We got over the gill successfully and I was trying to turn round to see old bloke plunging into the water and begging for forgiveness, and a rescue, but PL was pulling me on and we were heading towards the cattle grid at Ravenseat Farm. Through the gate and down to the farm over the pretty little bridge to the sounds of excited barking dogs from within the farms compounds. The path now bends back on itself and as I looked across I could see old DRY bloke and his missus and his equally old dry dog, bah, no justice! Up to How Edge Scars now and we were looking down at the water far below. Then on passed Smithy Holme Farm, down to Low Bridge to meet the Kirkby Stephen-Keld road where we turned left to make our way towards our finishing point today.

When we passed Wain Wath Force there were two canoeists and PL catches one on camera going off the waterfall. A walk along the road now passing a nice campsite on the left, then just after Keld Lodge we turn left at the red phone box passing the famous Butt House bed and breakfast on the right, then down by Keld United Reformed church with it’s sundial on the wall that Wainwright once commented ‘time is measured in centuries in Keld’. We then swing left to meet Smithy walking towards us declaring ‘where have you lot been, I thought you got f***ing lost’. Ah good old Smithy eh, where would we be without him? The humans had a coffee and I had a sachet of my food in the café garden at the bottom and it was decided here that we would walk again on Monday and Wednesday and that would take us to Richmond before going off with my pack leader and my family on our holiday to Scotland. Nicky was right into it now and wanted to complete the whole of the coast to coast with us so PL said he would go back and do the first two sections again with Nicky when the time came. I suffer with itches in my paws as a result of grass seeds irritating them and I tend to bite bits off the pads when the itching drives me crazy. I had been doing this in the back of the sherpa on the way home and after my bath PL and Mrs PL noticed this when drying my feet. After putting the usual cream on and Theresa putting a bandage on and also putting a bandage on my toy giraffe (very funny), PL says that I would not be doing any walking on the Monday or the Wednesday because of my left front paw was sore and he was not going to risk it. In fact he said that maybe that would be it for me for this year and perhaps it would be better if it was split between two years for me but he would wait and see how I get on and what I was like in Scotland before making a final decision. He was still going to do the two sections with Nicky because Nicky now had the promise of a job down in the ‘Big Smoke’ the week after and could only do sections on his long weekend home. So we would juggle the sections as to who was available and when they were available (Keep up at the back).