Day 6 - Wednesday 6 June 2012
Shap to Kirkby Stephen (19.9 miles)
Breakfast was a lot quieter this morning at New Ing. The students had gone and we were able to eat in peace. We met up with 75 year old Archie who was making his 5th and final crossing of the Coast to Coast accompanied by his wife who, although not doing the walk herself, was providing great support. We were to meet up with Archie later throughout Day 7 and in Muker. We also met another couple plus pooch who we would see again at Ingleby Cross and Robin Hood’s Bay – more later.
We called in at Bellas Butchers prior to departing and bought a couple of chicken and ham pies for our lunch. The pies were only 80p each and as we found out later, they were absolutely gorgeous.
Leaving Shap at 0830 the weather was not looking too clever therefore we donned waterproofs from the off and this was a good decision as shortly before crossing the M6 the rain started and got progressively worse once we had passed the tiny hamlet of Oddendale. Just after Oddendale we passed Mark and Irene who like us, were soaking wet but still enjoying the walk.
The easy way to cross the M6
There then followed a steady slog over the limestone pavement and it was only after passing Fall Flatt and Side Farm that the weather started to ease. It was here we bumped into a couple of Germans with massive rucksacks who then made a jovial comment about “our lovely English weather”! We let the Germans pass us and we took it easy up to Sunbiggin Tarn. It was here that Dave noticed he had a blister on his left heel - our only blister of the entire crossing.
The improvement in the weather was short lived and for the following hour we had rain off and on and it was only after passing Scar Side Farm when the rain relented and the cloud started to lift. We have seen very few people today – just a sheep with a weird dress sense.
Just after Sunbiggin Tarn we stopped to scoff our pies and realised that we should have bought 2 each as they were so gorgeous. Sunbiggin is a lovely area and it was here that the views really did start to improve. The views in and around Smardale and its bridge and viaduct were also breathtaking. The last couple of miles into Kirkby Stephen were hard work and just seemed to go on forever and it was with pleasure we dropped our rucksacks at the B&B at 1630 and went for a couple of scoops in The Bulls Head.
Angie on Smardale Bridge
We enjoyed a super evening meal at the B&B, again in the company of Mark & Irene who were staying there too. We are now quite tired but looking forward to the trip up to Nine Standards Rigg in the morning and the walk through the delightful Swaledale valley to Muker. Despite many people saying that the walk today is a recovery day after the ups and downs of the Lake District - do not underestimate the effort involved in getting to Kirkby Stephen - it is hard work but the views make up for it.
The Old Croft House, Kirkby Stephen - www.theoldcrofthouse.com
We had 2 nights here, prior to starting the walk and today. A very comfortable stay in an old fashioned house but very tastefully decorated. They will do you an evening meal and we took advantage of this both times and were glad we did.
Day 6 Data
8 hrs 08 min
39 hrs 39 min
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