Day 5 Shap to Kirkby Stephen
20 miles is a long walk, especially after four previous days of hiking up Wainwrights. But we made it, without blisters or any other tragedy.
We left Shap and after only one other walking passing us while we paused to consult the map, we didn’t see another soul all day until arriving at the Black Bull, Kirkby Stephen. Which was full of Coast to Coasters. Our bedraggled state was sufficient for them to realise we were also were part of the clan. Questioning with incredulity on how they had managed to arrive before us and look so refreshed we found that every one had had an overnight stay in Orton, about half way. Which also explained why we didn’t meet anyone else who left Shap. Apparently covering the route Wainwright style in 12 days is not the usual option. One bunch of Aussies were taking 19 days! Now I expect comments to say you all did it in 11.
So a complete change of scenery follows Shap. Kidsty Pike still lingers on the horizon until past Oddendale and for a while the landscape is rich green pasture. Not what I had expected round Shap at all. Previous impressions coming from blizards and gales driving up the motorway.
Crossing M6 from Shap
Once on Crtosby Ravensowrth Fell it turned into the expected moorland. Round and featureless bar the odd bit of limestone pavement and historical remnants. Roman roads and monuments to Jubilees. Orton Scar introducing the first bit of height back into the landscape.
He happily the sun still shone on this now solitary hike.
Sunbiggin Tarn is rather an apology after the Lakes. There was the odd bird bobbing about but it was a little far to make a detour sufficiently close to investigate what they were. Fleeting human contact was made as mad men cycled past.
Limestone pavement near Oddendale
Ravenstonedale moor had little of great significance to offer either. though if you read Wainwright he will tell you there is lots to look out for. I just needed to keep my feet focused and trudge onwards.
Though by now the Pennine challenge was appearing in the distance with Howgills and Penygent in other directions. At times we found the Harvey’s Coast to Coast maps less that clear and stupidly I had not brought the OS, but the detailed drawings in AW were clear enough to send us in the right direction.
A long and winding trail!
From the common we dropped down to Smardale Bridge and yet again I was on familiar territory.
How much more lovely everything is in fine weather.
Last time I walked there it was blowing a gale and freezing. So a final pull up and over the hill to our bedraggled arrival at the Black Bull, Kirkby Stephen.
It felt a very long last half mile.