Day 6 - Kirkby Stephen to Keld

Comment: 12 miles - You can walk through the bog and risk losing your boots or take the road like we did

What most pleased us about this day was when we realised this was probably the shortest days on the whole route. In addition, we had read in Wainwright's book that after Shap the countryside has much gentler hills. However, we had the Penine's to cross today and the weather was the worst yet for walking. It rained constantly, which meant we had to wear our waterproof jackets and over-trousers. This caused a lot of moisture and soon enough I realised I was probably as wet on the inside as on the outside. Next time I will certainly wear breathable clothing.

So we plodded along the road with our heads down, sometimes 30-40 metres apart. The rain pelted loudly on our hoods. The road would curve gradually to the left and right. Scanning the horizon for a change of scenery - the visibility providing views only to the next hill. Only a couple of cars passed us in each direction, despite this being one of the main routes over the mountains in this part of the country. Trekking over the Pennines by road


Great sign Because of the rain we made good progress: no point stopping to look around. I think it was only about 4 hours before we started to descend gradually to small villages and more hospitable surroundings. We eventually passed the road sign shown in the photo, which gave us both great pleasure and satisfaction.

This quick progress meant that we arrived at about 2pm at the bed-and-breakfast, just past Keld on the road to Reeth. There was no one home, but luckily the sun came out and we were able to dry out our soaked clothing and bodies.

We also had plenty of time to take a look at our documentation, where we read that the B&B did not accept guests before 3:30pm. There was nothing we could do but wait the hour-and-a-half. When they returned home at 3pm the gentleman seemed rather insistant that we shouldn't be there yet. However, they took us in and we finished drying our clothes on their washing-line.

It was here that we met a fellow walker: another Ian, who had hurt his legs mainly due to carrying too much. We ate a fine meal and talked about our experiences on the trail, and what we thought of Alfred Wainwright - who brought so much pain to our lives with his little book.

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Copyright 2000 Tim Reeves