Coast To Coast Diary

> Day Nine

SATURDAY 1st AUGUST 2009

SUNSHINE ON REETH


Sitting in the sherpa in the car park at Keld for the last half an hour in the pouring rain, it didn’t look good. 9 o’ clock said Smithy, half an hour we’ve been here, what are you going to do? Tony asked for some more time, about another half an hour he said and Smithy agreed saying it would be a shame to come all this way for nothing. 20 minutes later the rain was easing off and we were out togging up, hurrah, coast to coast walk back on again for Maisie. Tony and Nicky did go up and walk the two sections last week, since PL had thought I had been alright in Scotland he wanted to give me another chance on the coast to coast so he and Nicky would walk the sections again with me. You maybe wondering why Nicky isn’t down in the ‘Big Smoke’ with his new job, well, he was let down and that is a real shame.

But here we are again, marching into the unknown, well, walking away from Keld anyway. The three musketeers ride again, one for all, and sod the rest! We walk down to the bridge and cross it going round to the left of the waterfall then up towards Crackpot Hall. Before we reach the hall the path splits and we will be taken the right fork and going on the alternative route down by the Swale.

Two reasons for doing this, number one is that the weather today is not brilliant, so for navigational purposes it would be better to take the low road, and two, and most important, the two lucky geezer’s done the high route the last time and got really good weather, drat, I was really looking forward to those mills and mines, never mind, I’m sure the Swale won’t disappoint. Down the hill we go passing two people on the way. Can you still say fat and skinny these days, you get the picture then? Anyway the skinny one was at the back and was limping. Nicky thought the person had an artificial leg; PL agreed but said it was a real foot! Anyway we got past them and after a while PL said he could not make up his mind if they were two blokes or two women, or one bloke and one woman, but said if pushed he would say two women. Nicky was also confused but said if he was pushed he would say two blokes

I myself wasn’t sure either but if they pushed me, I would say it was a bloke and a bird but I don’t know which would be which! They certainly were a strange couple. After a while we came to a fork. There was a sign post to the left on the tarmac road saying Gunnerside. The sign post on the right fork said private, no public access. We should have come to a fork but we should be taking the right one but we couldn’t.

So it was decided we had missed the original fork and would just walk on the tarmac to Gunnerside, after all it was a coast to coast walk not the coast to coast walk. Along the road we passed some cows watching us, if we got chased we could just run up the hill, they could not follow us. We passed them and after a while the road dropped down to a bridge with four people on it looking at maps. There was a turning to the right and a turning to the left. PL said to the people ‘which way is Gunnerside?’ to which they replied, both ways but the one to the left was all tarmac and the one to the right would eventually lead back down to a path that would then lead to Gunnerside. We decide to stay with the tarmac which would have been to AW’s disgust (sorry big man).Later on we came to another farm were there were cows on the tarmac and generally all over the place. As we approached most of them were watching us closely and it was becoming clear that we would not be able to go past them on the road.

We avoided them by going up a bridleway for quite a bit then dropping back down onto the tarmac further along and then the road brought us out at Brow Head Farm bed and breakfast. We had our lunch on a bench then we were off down the road towards The Kings Head then going down a path and turning left to cross some fields with the tiny walled stiles.

We were just getting to the end of the third field when there was an almighty commotion that came from the bottom right hand corner. Yes you’ve guest it dear reader, bloody cows! We were over our stile quicker than a Yorkshire man putting his hand in his pocket to guard his wallet when someone shouts, whose round is it! The cows charged up to the stile that we had just came through and were all mooing like there was no tomorrow, especially a big grey and white one. She seemed to be the big momma in charge and it looked to us that they were guarding the stile as to not let anybody else in there field with a dog. A couple had just gone through before us and the cows didn’t bother. But I bet it’s when they seen me that they react like that and run to the stile to stop anymore canines’ getting in. If you remember in chapter 7, cows, one was guarding the stile but we got through anyway so they charged us. They couldn’t get us now, we were over the other stile and into the other field and were safe (for now anyway). Sorry to be going on about cows so much but we didn’t think this would be a problem when PL was planning to take his dog on a cross country walk, the biggest problem he thought would be the weather but I think the biggest problem to our walk now are cows.

I’ve even herd (pun intended) him saying to Mrs PL that maybe Maisie should not do anymore coast to coast walking for fear of her safety. But PL said that he would be extra careful and if we did have a big confrontation and came out of it unharmed, my walk would be over, but he wanted to give me every opportunity to finish it. So dog owners out there, BE AWARE! Ok, back at the ranch and the path joins the road a couple of times then it goes back in again. It was very muddy and overgrown in places but it nice and Nicky was saying it was like being in Vietnam, (as if he would know).

It brought us out at Isles Bridge climbing out on stone steps and through a very thin walled stile. PL said he seen some Penguins up river (yeah right) and took a snap to prove it. Then it was over the road and on a path signposted Reeth. After walking along the top of a big wall we were then walking along the bank and we spotted some badger sets, I was lucky enough to see a Badger, (well if he seen Penguins I seen a Badger!).

It was nice walking along the riverbank except for the flies that were annoying us but not Nicky. The path takes us up to the road again two miles from Reeth. We walk on the road for about a mile then leave it again at a big lay-by. Onwards along the riverbank through the trees then the river bends away to the right and we go ahead and slightly to the left through a couple of gate stiles then whilst walking down the road a farmer lady swings her 4x4 round the corner at the bottom and starts to make her way up towards us. It becomes obvious as she gets near us we will need to make ourselves scarce as we all won’t all pass on this narrow road. We walk back up the lane and step into the driveway of a house as she passes and gives us a smile (on your way Mrs Farmer Giles) then its down the lane passing houses then turning left into what seems to be a housing estate with dogs barking, babies crying, people talking over fences and loads of parked cars. When we get to the top end of The Green we can see Smithy waiting for us in the sherpa, ah, good old Smithy, what would we do without him? I had a bit of a play on the green with Nicky before jumping into the sherpa and thinking, HOME JAMES! Who would have thought this miserable wet horrible morning that we would have SUNSHINE ON REETH!