Sunday, 8 September 2013

Coast to Coast day 7: Kirby Stephen to Keld

Kirby Stephen was the largest settlement that we had passed through on our walk thus far. Unfortunately we were far too tired to explore the town on our latish arrival and didn't venture out before breakfast to remedy this oversight.

View from our room at the Jolly Farmers Guest House

The weather actually looked quite reasonable when we got up. We were warned to expect rain so wet weather gear definitely needed to be carried. Trevor and I both opted to wear shorts as they work better than long pants when wearing wet weather over pants.

As our luggage was being collected early we packed and took our cases down before breakfast.

Once again the breakfast was wonderful. We have been really fortunate to have been so well breakfasted at all the places we have stayed so far on the walk.

As today was a shorter walking day than the previous two we were scheduled to leave the B&B at 9 o'clock which we did and got a couple of hundred metres down the High Street before stopping so that the gatterless in our party could acquire what was suggested to be essential equipment. After quite a delay the newly gattered members of our party rejoined us and we continued our stroll through Kiby Stephen.

Yester the weather had been miserable. There were a number of comments about it being OK for ducks but we saw not a single one. As we walked through Kirby Sephen we cross a stream and there were the missing ducks.

Just near the ducks was a signpost informing us that we had completed 82 miles of the Coast to Coast walk and that there was still 108 miles to go. Really??? That many?

the Coast to Coast sign post with Franks Bridge in the background

The lane we followed out of town became a road which we followed for some time before it came to an end. We continued on a path that took us onto the Pennine Moors. We walked through a farming area. There were still lots of sheep however they seemed more considerate and were not dropping their manure everywhere we were walking which was much appreciated.

As we climbed we had some great views over the area that we were leaving. 

Looking back across Kirby Stephen

We came across a place with some alpcas and I couldn't resist the temptation to take a photo even if they decided to turn away from the camera.

Our first objective of the day was the summit of Nine Standards. This ridge had been so named because if has nine stone structures on the top of its ridge. Here is our first siting of Nine standards. Check out the nine blips on the skyline.

Walkers trudging up the track towards Nine standards
 There are three tracks on Nine Standards and which one to use varies with the time of year. Each is colour coded. The green track is used in winter and spring and avoids the summit - probably a sensible move. The read track is used in early summer while the blue tract is used in late summer and autumn. We took the blue track.

This is the sign that pointed the way on the blue track.

The weather began to close in and one by one we added wet weather clothing to whatever we were wearing.

 Even after the dry summer the track still had a heap of very boggy bits.

Slogging through the bog with Nine Standards up ahead
We finally made it to Nine Standard with a freezing wind blowing and the temperature down in the single figures (and that was without the wind chill factor!)

The nine stone structures tha make up Nine Standards
While there are lots of stories as to the origin of these structure no one seems to know just why they are there. Each one is different and built with skill. here is a photo of each of them starting with the on on the right and moveing across to the left.

Fortunately, the threatened rain blew away and we trudged on across the moor (and the soggy, marshy, muddy terrain) heading for Keld, our overnight stop. Along with the bogs and water ways we enountered heath which was difficult to walk over/through. Altogether it made for fairly tough walking conditions.

The dark area on the flat were bog ... lots of it!

We finally stopped for lunch on a sheltered slope overlooking Whitsundale Beck. While sheltered from the wind it did not provide much other shelter ... and it had been hours since our last toilet stop.

The water in all of the waterways from Kirby Stephen onwards was the colour of tea. The water picks up its colour from the peat it passes through.

When not walking though bogs we encountered spongey spagnum moss which tended to be waterlogged and difficult ton walk over. Note the bright green track in the photo above.

We had been looking forward to cream tea (devonshire tea of scones, jam and cream with a cup of tea) at Ravenseat Farm. The welcoming signs certainly lifted our spirits and we looked forward to an afternoon treat.

On the drive leading in to the farm we encounterd this sign:

A couple of people misread the sign as there were chickens roaming around freely.

What a lovely sight it was.

We were surprised to see some people arriving at the farm coninuing on without stopping. And then we saw the next sign:

How could they do this to us? I'm sure they lost a lot of business as the track was very busy and almost 30 people arrived at the farm in the time we spent using the facilities. Disappointment hardly described our mood as we set off again.

A distictive Yorkshire Dales sheep barn. Note the protruding rows of stone every 10 courses

We had been fortuante with the weather. While the win was cool and the temperature was quite low the threatened rain had held off the the sun actually came out during the afternoon. This really picjed up the vivid green of many of the fields.

The Whitsundale Beck wich we had followed for some timefinally emptied into the River Swale which runs through the Swale valley. Funny about that.

 There was still quite a hike to get to Keld where we were staying for this night.
One of the tracks we walked along ... still quite wet underfoot

Finally we arrived at Keld Lodge where the staff greeted us warmly, escorted us, sans boots, to the drying room were our wet and muddy footwear was deposited for the night and invited us down to the lounge for tea and scones ... a definite consolation after the disappointment of Ravenseat Farm.

With the sun shining in the vally in which Keld Lodge is nestledwe enjoyed the great views from our window and then the dining room as we ate dinner.

Showers were most welcome as was dinner which was yet another good meal.

Today we covered over 20km (actual distance is still to be confirmed) in some very difficult walking conditions. elevationgain was at least 663m. Once I can upload the stats I'll have a better idea of  the actual figure.

1 comment:

  1. I think the scenery is nice at a distance, the bogs close up don't look too inviting