Coast to Coast: Day 8 – Reeth to Richmond

(22nd March 2013 – 12½ miles)

The following morning the sun had gone (and would barely reappear for the rest of my 200 mile stroll) and a gusting wind blew horizontal, wet snow across the village of Reeth.

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The Green, Reeth

But on the plus side, The Manse had washed all of my dirty laundry free of charge (how kind is that?  How brave?) and laid on a breakfast of perfect scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, toast and a fruit salad that I could have eaten, slowly, all day long.  As I sipped my coffee and looked out at the wind-driven sleet, I groaned.  I really didn’t fancy walking today.  Nope, I really didn’t.  I wanted nothing other than to flop down on the rug in front of the open fire and puzzle over jigsaws … with perhaps a little light crayoning and colouring-in to jazz up my day.

But we did have to press on and so – with one last, sad glance at the roaring fire – Pat and I donned several layers and set out, heroically, into the biting cold and driving snow.

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Me leaving Reeth – Pat’s photo

There were no extensive views today

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as the path wandered through woods and cut across farmland.  I suspect even on clear days, this stage would be a little low-key.  It was pretty enough, but there was no great excitement, no thrills and I suspect the snow added a layer of beauty and interest that it might not otherwise have had.

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The blizzard-lite conditions obscured the path and sleet scratched our eyeballs – looking up was painful.  So, for the most part, I traipsed behind Pat, head down, humming show-tunes.

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I’m sure in finer, clearer weather the views would have been gentle and pastoral but frankly, who knows?  Perhaps they’re not; perhaps they’re horrid.

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Squeeze stile.  They could have just put up a sign – “No fat thighs beyond this point”

Unsurprisingly the snow was untrodden,

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the paths unused

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as we followed more of those helpful, handmade signposts.

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In places the snow began to drift and as it continued to fall

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flocks of sheep approached us – presumably hungry.

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We didn’t know then but thousands of sheep and lambs died in the coming days: buried by drifting snow, next to walls where they had sought shelter.  (But not these sheep.  We were lower down and further east than the truly awful, sheep-killing weather).

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As we pressed on I continued to take photos and foolishly allowed my camera to get wet.

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Though I rather like the effect on some of these shots

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(especially this one) it temporarily damaged my camera and caused me auto-focusing problems in the days to come.

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My guide-book had mentioned this ‘white cairn’ and told us to head for it from the valley below.  Easily said, easily written.  It was a pity that it was invisible in this snow-storm until we almost tripped over it.

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By 12.30, we were nearing Richmond and as once again I was in no great rush,

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I bid Pat farewell, watched him speed away and, knowing how to enjoy myself, crawled under a yew tree to eat a tuna sandwich and pork pie lunch.

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With a pleasingly full stomach, the climb through Whitecliffe Wood was beautifully silent with Pat’s footprints quickly rubbed out by fresh snowfall.

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As I emerged from the trees I realised that, far too soon, I was almost at my day’s end.

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There in the distance sat Richmond.  It was still only 1.30 as I entered the town and found a pub with an open fire (always a prerequisite) and settled down to thaw out and doze awhile, before heading to my B&B.

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I was staying at Eliza House and Liz, the owner, made me warmly welcome.  Later that evening, scrubbed, powdered and dressed in my specially packed evening wear, I met Pat and Sue at the ‘Black Lion’ for a venison casserole and a few pints of Black Sheep.  We weren’t particularly looking forward to the next day: Day 9.  It was the longest stage (23 miles) across the reputedly dreary Vale of Mowbray.  There would be miles and miles of tarmac bashing, across a flat and uninspiring landscape.

Bet you can’t wait to read all about it, huh?  I know I can’t.

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2 thoughts on “Coast to Coast: Day 8 – Reeth to Richmond

  1. Why, Janet – you’re a proper walker – leading climbs and everything! How grown up is that? I find leading myself enough of a challenge and were I to drink whisky whilst on a walk I’d never make it outside the pub. Dave

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  2. That’s a lot of washing -and a lot of breakfast! I am currently a big sheep fan having just discovered wool bedding – duvet and mattress topper. Perfect for partners who don’t share the same nighttime heat requirements! I adore venison stew, the best I ever had was in Scotland after a day trying to learn how to lead a climb without killing anybody, though it was accomanied by whisky rather than the admittedly very fine beer you imbibed.

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