Coast To Coast Diary

> Day Two

SATURDAY 4th APRIL 2009

TOM


I slept downstairs that night on my lovely big downstairs cushion. Tom was back from university in Newcastle and had been out for a couple of pints with his mates, but only a couple as we were all going up to do the second section of the coast to coast - we meaning Pack Leader, Tom and myself.

The second section of the coast to coast will be Ennerdale Water to the Black Sail youth hostel. PL was telling Tom that day that he had 3 plans. Plan A, plan B and plan C. Plan A involved Smithy. Smithy would either take his car up as well as PL taking his and they would leave a car at the finishing point, drive to the starting point, then walk to the finishing point, then drive back to the starting point, simple! Or Smithy would come in our car to the starting point, then we would start the walk and Smithy would go off and take pictures (he is a keen photographer you know) then drive to point B and meet us there after we had walked that section. Plan B involved Theresa, Tony’s wife and my female Pack Leader. Theresa could come in our car with maybe her sister and mother (known to everyone as Gran, including me) and they could drop us off at the starting point, then go and do some shopping for around 9 hours (they were all champion shoppers) then pick us up at the finishing point. Or Theresa could drive up in her own car later on during the day and maybe do a bit of shopping in the nearest town with her sister and mother (Gran) or on her own then come and pick us up at the finishing point and drive us back to our car. Then there was Plan C … this was not so good. It involved just us with no other car. This meant we would have to walk back to our car. We would cover around the same distance but the second half of the walk would be walking back to the car. This was the Billy no mates plan and the one we would be using on this walk. The plan A went wrong as Smithy couldn’t come because it was his son’s birthday and he had forgotten all about it (it’s his age). Theresa would have done it but she had promised to take her mum on a big shop plus 9 hours shopping would have left a big hole in the bank balance, so that just left plan C.

PL was telling Tom that the walk would be from the car park at Ennerdale Water to the Black Sail youth hostel then back to the car park. This would be about 15 or 16 miles in total and get us 23 miles into the coast to coast walk. Tom wanted to walk this section with us even though we would have to walk back to the car. So he just went out for a couple of pints and was back before midnight and he went upstairs to his room and closed the door, so that’s why I slept downstairs on my lovely big downstairs cushion, he had shut me out of his room. I hear the 3 alarms go off upstairs and I know what this means as I have mentioned in chapter one. PL gets up and gets washed and ready then he shouts on Tom. PL comes downstairs and I stand up to greet him as he comes through the door and he say’s ‘Maisie doing the coast to coast today’.. Oh God, not that old chestnut. I guess I must be then. PL has his tea and porridge and gives me some food in between shouting the teenage Tom trying to raise him from his pit. The shouting on Tom was successful which surprised me and in he went to the bathroom for a shower. PL ran upstairs and shouted through the door that if he was having a shower to make it a quick one because we were ready to go. You see when the teenage Tom takes a shower it normally lasts for around an hour. Ten minutes pass and PL was pacing the floor by now shouting up for Tom every few minutes and then the inevitable happened. My female Pack Leader got up and she got involved too, shouting at Tom to get out of the shower.

PL just wanted to go, convinced that the teenager was up to no good so he could crawl back into his pit probably without even drying himself. But Theresa was having none of it. She got him out the bathroom telling him to get a move on sorting out his clothes and sandwiches and barking orders at everyone. With everything already in the car Tom picked up his sandwiches and we were on our way at 5.15 in the morning 15 minutes behind schedule PL informing Tom. I don’t think Tom could give a monkey’s chuff if we were 15 days behind schedule at that point.

Up the A1 we go, then across the A66 until we cross the M6 and the first stop is the lay by near Blencathra. We all have a bite to eat here and I do a quick wee then its back into the car and onto the car park at Ennerdale Water with PL playing the Band on the Run album on his  cassette machine and telling his teenage son what a classic album it was, and still is. #Well no one ever left alive in nineteen hundred and eighty five will ever do, la la la.#


Tom doesn’t look too impressed as he listens to Mr McCartney and his Wings. We get to the car park and PL is taking ages to get ready as usual so Tom and I play some ball. We eventually set off and head towards the lake. It’s already been decided that we will be taking the path on the south side but they don’t know whether to climb up onto Anglers Crag because they are concerned that the little bit of scrambling on the main path might be a bit dodgy for me, or should I say doggy! But it is decided that we will go on the main path for 2 reasons. One is that if we did climb up Anglers Crag there would be no views due to the low cloud, and two, PL wanted us to see Robin Hoods chair, after all we were heading for his bay but that was roughly 174 miles from his chair at the foot of Anglers Crag.

The path was easy up to the chair then I had a little sit down on it then we were off again and this time the path was a bit tougher. This is where the scramble is but it was no problem to a young female fit dog like myself and we were soon marching along the path again. I enjoyed walking along that path then we reached the top of the lake and we stopped for some food. It was really nice sitting by the lake but it was very cold. After our food I had a game of throw/catch on the big grassy bit as we walked across it to the bridge over the River Liza.


Turning right after the bridge we head up the valley and this would eventually lead us to the Black Sail Hut. PL say’s it’s a straight track around 4 miles or so with no chance of getting lost (that will be a first for him then!). As we pass High Gillerthwaite Farm we come across some Galloway cattle and I have a staring contest with one of them and won, I think, (don’t know what PL is doing though). A bit further up the track it’s starts to rain and PL puts my little rain proof jacket on but I want to get moving. We walk further on up the track and eventually come to a signpost that is pointing towards Pillar over a little bridge over the River Liza. PL says that we could cross the bridge and take that path up the side of the Liza and it would also bring us out at the Black Sail providing we can cross a footbridge further up. It is decided that we will carry on this track to the Black Sail and come back on the path on the other side. So we carry on up this seemingly never ending track and all I keep thinking is, are we there yet??!


We eventually reach the Black Sail Hut and it is still raining and plenty of low cloud over the mountains. We can see the path that leads up towards Tongue Beck then cuts off to the left at Loft Beck and that’s the one we will be using on the next section. The Black Sail hut is opened as it is the week before Easter but we don’t go in. We head back on the track we came and it leads to a track were it cuts off to go over the other side of the Liza and we stop for food at some logs before we reach the footbridge. After our food we go down towards the footbridge however when we get there we can’t cross it because of the water level. I could do it no prob, cos, let’s face it, I am a dog and wet anyway. Probably PL could do it because he is wearing his proper walking boots, maybe just run through it quick, but Tom would get his feet wet because he is wearing these soft shoes, not even trainers and I have noticed that he is walking slower than when he started out. I think they are hurting his feet but he isn’t saying anything. Anyway his feet would get a soaking and that would not be very comfortable to walk the 7 or so miles back to car.

We try a few other ways to get across but give up then head back the way we came. The walk back was a bit of a slog really along the track we came but then just before the cattle at High Gillerthwaite Farm 3 dodgy characters were catching us up and they had 2 dogs off the lead. PL spotted this and he put me on the lead and we moved to the side of the track to let them past at Dod Gill Beck. But this cheeky little scrawny thing thought it would come up and have a closer look at me, I had another idea and lunged at it doing a fierce bark at the same time to warn it away and it worked. As this was happening I didn’t see its friend the young rottweiller moving around the side of Tom (who was now sat on the ground at this point) to arrive at the back of me, before it could do anything Tom put both his arms around the 4 of its paws at the top round the body and spun it back round towards the human ruffians from which it came.

He gave it a shove to help it on its way back in that direction and that was that, they were gone. PL said the little dog was only coming to have a look at me and to be fair so was the friend the rottweiller . It did not put up any resistance when it was pushed away and he said if the rottweiller was coming to have a go at me, it would have been a completely different situation. He is always getting on to me for lunging at dogs but I can’t help it, I like my own space and I don’t care much for other dogs. I am a staffy cross and that is the staffy in me. I love humans but not dogs, and anyway it’s his fault for not training me properly, God knows he has watched enough programmes of the dog whisperer with Cesar Milan, but he just can’t put it into practice. Cesar normally proves that it is mostly the humans fault when it comes to understanding dogs and that is good enough for me, so it’s not my fault PL! This is how I got the nick name for Tony. I love to sit and watch that programme with all the mental dogs in it and Cesar training them to be nice. He tells the humans that they have to be the Pack Leader and not the dogs so Tony is my Pack Leader so I just shorten it to PL. Anyway I’m digressing again.


Tom was sitting on the ground because, as he tells us his feet are really hurting now, but as I suspect PL knew this as well as I did already. Tom says that every step he takes is agony as the stones push through the bottom of his ill equipped footwear. I already noticed he was walking slower, as I’ve said, but he is walking much slower now. He gets up and we start walking again (the three Musketeers ride again, one for all and sod the rest!) and come across the cattle again but none of them are brave enough to take me on at a staring competition this time, so I walk through them head held high, Maisie queen of the forest, eeeeasy, eeeeasy, silly moos!  Soon we come to the little bridge that we crossed earlier over the Liza but this time we don’t go back across it the way we came, instead we stay on the track and as PL says we will go back to the car on the path that is at the north side of the lake. We have a sit down at a table with chairs with me sitting on the table giving Tom a paw in the hope that he is not in to much pain with his feet and that this walk will soon be over.

After some food we set off and come across the site of the old Anglers Hotel which was run by Henry and Winifred Oliver between 1945 and 1968. It was demolished in anticipation of the water board raising the level of the lake by just a few feet but PL says that he thinks this could not have happened as some of the path along the north side would have been lost and that didn’t seem to be the case as we were walking on it today. They have erected a stone seat in memory of Henry and Winifred at the site and Tom set up the camera to take a picture of all 3 of us on it.


After this we were on our way back to the car park which was not that far now. Just as we were coming up to the weir at the end of the lake there were lots of people camping on the right hand side and it looked really good fun with all the kids running around and the adults standing around drinking wine and cooking something that smelled absolutely yummy yummy.

We had a around a two and a half hour drive back home before I would get something that didn’t come out of a sachet. The drive back home was nice, so PL was telling Mrs PL when we got home, and Tom and Maisie slept most of the way he said. I was dirty from the walk but I would have to wait until tomorrow to get my bath as that’s what happened the last time. So after writing a little bit of today’s events down and too tired to do much more, I lay on my lovely big downstairs cushion with my favourite cuddly toy Ted and went to sleep dreaming about my great win in the staring competition with that silly cow who thought she could beat me, eeeeasy, eeeeasy!