Hawes to Keld
It’s a day where the 1:25000 series map becomes a work of art. I could snip out today’s bit and hang it on the wall because it’s so evocative with names like Pile of Stones, Swallow Hole, Area of Shake Holes, Pits (dis), Black Hill Moss, Crag Hags … well it goes on and on.
I slept really well in one of the Hawes pubs call Fountains Inn. I persuaded them to let me loose in the breakfast room at 7.30 and they made me my first porridge of the autumn.
There’s a definite chill in the air, nothing worrying but it’s noticeable. The wind was blowing all day but it wasn’t cold, just atmospheric. Perfect walking conditions.
I had a gentle unrelenting climb from Hawes at 250m to the top of the Great Shunner Fell at 716m. It was 2 hrs 30 mins of exhilarating walking in the wild Yorkshire Dales. The views stretch for miles in all directions without a building or pylon in sight. I was completely alone. The wind was howling peacefully and the sky was a mass of colours. There was no rain but the ground was boggy. There were some long stretches of granite paving but then all that effort is wasted when you inevitably reach a bit of unavoidable bog and you soak up your share of water.
I found a wet boulder to sit on near the top of the Fell and drank my coffee. The pub provided me with a packed lunch (£7.50 obviously oblivious to the Tesco meal deal but I did get a 4 finger KitKat and a slab of flapjack to supplement the Wensleydale main course). I ate the KitKat and the flapjack.
Far below me a couple of figures were approaching through the mist and I correctly guessed it was Richard and Becky from yesterday so I hung on. They camped alongside Becky’s parents camper van last night and dined well inside it. Sometimes you just can’t beat having your parents around but usually you can.
We resumed chatting and the remaining kilometres flew by. We discovered that they were both at the very same college as my son and Rich also did engineering so he said, “I think I know your son!” So a few text messages later we confirmed the connection. Everyone knew everybody. It’s a big world but sometimes these things happen.
We reached a charming Yorkshire tea room in Thwaite just as the rain started so naturally we went inside for a cappuccino and lunch. A delicious carrot and lentil soup and a bread roll meant I’ve postponed the Wensleydale feast until tomorrow.
I’m now sitting in the lounge of an excellent B&B in Keld called the Butt House. It’s on the junction of the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast Path so it’s busy with walkers, all doing the other one. The owner has confiscated my Wensleydale feast so I don’t nibble at it and spoil my appetite for dinner. I’ve ordered scrambled eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast. I don’t want any of you worrying about me.
Low cloud over the Great Shunner Fell
Rich & Becky approach
The jolly good Butt House B&B