Hawes to Keld
After yesterday’s great day’s walking, putting me in a very happy mood, the Fountain Hotel in Hawes (i.e. a pub that does accommodation) did a great job in robbing me of that mood last night. The room was tired, stuffy and in need of decorating and the bed was awful, meaning I ended up with one of the worst night’s sleep since I started this walk.
If that wasn’t bad enough the breakfast this morning was quite possibly the worst breakfast I’ve had so far. Poor quality produce, and not a lot of them on the plate, all swimming in a nice layer of grease…yummy, er, not! I ate as much of it as I could along with a slice of cold toast and got the hell out of Dodge, hoping that the day’s walking would cheer me up a bit. Using the word “Hotel” in their title is stretching it somewhat I would say.
The start of the walk out of Hawes was nice and gentle and the sun was already quite hot, something I wasn’t too happy about as it makes the walking ten times harder – something else to put me in a bad mood. My mood was lifting a bit just being out in the fresh air though and I was hopeful for a good day again.
The route headed out towards Hardraw, a small little village with a pub, a few craft shops and a hand full of cottages and not much else. Up to that point there’d only been a slight hill but from then on, and for the next six miles or so, the route took a slow, painful, exhausting climb up to the top of Great Shunner Fell – the highest point on the Pennine Way at 2322ft. Just to put this in to perspective, Hawes stands at 750ft so it was a bit of a slog up.
To make matters worse, the climb was one of those highly frustrating ones where you see the top, or what you think is the top, just to find another part of the hill going off in to the distance. This happened no less than three times on the to the top and I must admit, I swore every time it happened.
It took long enough to get to the top but I did it without hardly stopping, so clearly I must be getting fitter eh? As with all the hard climbs on this walk the view that greeted me at the top was out of this world! It was definitely a sight to see for sure.
At the top there were some seats with stone walls round them and as the wind was picking up over the top I made my way round the side to sit down where I came across two ladies already sitting there taking a break. They told me to sit down and we had a really good chat, which was great as it’d been a bit of a lonely walk up to that point, not having crossed paths with anyone all morning.
While we were sitting there chatting another guy came up the hill – from the opposite direction I’d been walking – and sat down on one of the other seats over the wall. The ladies decided they’d rested enough and headed off down the hill, and with that the guy who’d just got there came round for a chat too. This was turning out to be a very nice break indeed.
Checking the time, and knowing that I had not too many miles to go and England were playing in a few hours, I put my pack on, said goodbye and made my way down. I don’t like the down bits, they’re way too demanding on my poor knees but needs must and all that.
The rest of the walk went without incident and to be honest, I was concentrating more on getting to my room, taking my boots off and watching the football, expecting England to limp out of the World Cup.
Keld, the stop for the night, is a very small hamlet with pretty much nothing to do, so I checked in, had a shower, did some washing and watched the England match. By some small miracle the team remembered how to play the game they get paid a small fortune each week to play and managed to win, thereby getting through to the final sixteen. Based on their performance so far I don’t expect them to go much further in the tournament.
I had a lovely chat with the girls where they both sang me songs again, and I had a good chat with Russ and Rachel and Steve and Gill too. Great to catch up with everyone and as they say, it’s good to talk.
Dinner was lovely this evening, eating at Keld Lodge where I was staying. Garlic mushrooms for starter, lamb shank for main and a Keld lemon twist for dessert. The Keld lemon twist was a lemon mousse in a glass topped with meringue and cream and very nice it was too. So much so, everyone who saw mine when it was brought in decided they wanted one too.
This wasn’t a bad day and I was pleased I managed the climb up Great Shunner Fell as well as I did. My mood has definitely lifted since this morning, helped no end by talking to the girls and everyone else throughout the day.
I’ve got a tough day ahead tomorrow which I’m a little worried about. I’ve got a 21 miler across the moors and I’m not looking forward to it. Hopefully a better night’s sleep tonight and a better breakfast will set me up better than today…fingers crossed!