Day 5 - Shap to Kirkby Stephen

Comment: 19 miles - For us - another rest-day !

So we enquired about buses with the owner of the pub we were staying in, however, like most of Wainwright's Way, the route is not followed by regular bus routes. We could have opted for a bus to the north to Penrith, where we could catch another bus to Kirkby Stephen. Although possibly the greatest sacrilege, we decided to take a taxi all the way.

This gave us a new level of flexibility for the day, and we realised we had time to visit the local launderette and wash through our few items of clothing. By 11:30am we were done and the taxi wafted us to Kirkby Stephen. Luckily the lady we had booked with for bed-and-breakfast was happy to accomodate our early arrival and soon we were drinking tea and watching some television: this was a real back-to-reality day.

This was the first overnight-stop where we actually had time to explore, so we spent the afternoon walking around the town looking at the shops. This day gave us a new and positive perspective and we were re-energized for day 6: Kirkby Stephen to Keld. In the evening we ate out at a very pleasant little bistro. While chatting with the proprietor he told us about the route to Keld and of The Nine Standards - the highlight of Day 6. In fact he advised us that the area is thoroughly boggy, and not altogether interesting: The Nine Standards having been 'added to' over the years by earlier hikers with 'humourous' intent. Apparently, in addition to the nine large cairns there is now an entire armchair, coffee table and television, all constructed from small rocks.

So we laid plans to take the road over the Penine's to Keld the next morning, and before bed, as we had done every night on our walk, we set out the maps on the bed and looked ahead at what was to come.

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Copyright 2000 Tim Reeves