As you may have gathered, I had the pleasure today of meeting up with Mick and Gayle who are walking Wainwright's Coast to Coast route.
Assisted by my faithful steed, I managed to join them at the excellent Pennine View camp site in Kirkby Stephen by 8.30, in plenty of time to set off with them at 9 o'clock on their comparatively short day to Keld, via Nine Standards Rigg.
I promised M&G that I would find out how the cairns got there. The above link to Wikipedia doesn't really help, but other explanations could be:
- they were constructed by the Roman army to look like troops from a distance and were possibly marked on 18th century maps, or
- they were built when the border reivers came south from the border country to help scare them off before they rustled all the local cattle, or
- maybe they were put up by Victorian hoodwinkers.
Anyway, after admiring the small flock of parakeets that flew over the camp site, M&G were soon at the local Spar shop, stocking up their impressively small and light rucksacks (my day sac was nearly as heavy) and trying to spot the dog. Then it was up to the 4 metre high cairns of Nine Standards Rigg, which were just above the mist line. Beyond here quite a few (over a dozen) C2C'ers were encountered as we negotiated the bogs, peat hags and holes in a bid to reach Whitsundale Beck (below), which provided a scenic lunch stop. Then it was more peat and bog and holes - be very careful of the holes, Mick's freshly laundered trousers soon showed evidence of his inability to stay on his feet - to the haven of Ravenseat, which sported an enticing advertisement for teas. These were served by a sooty Amazon with a small baby.
Apparently she had just quelled a chimney fire.
Once we had escaped from a very local fly zone, it was very pleasant here in the sunshine. But eventually we felt obliged to move on and we soon reached the road on the outskirts of Keld, whence M&G proceeded happily on their way and I returned to locate my car at Black Howe.
Nearly every field around here seems to have an old stone barn in it. They come in all shapes and sizes and states of dilapidation. Here is one of the more impressive ones. Here's the plan of our route - well, M&G went on to Keld, whilst I finished at Black Howe. It was about 21 km, 830 metres of ascent, and took 7 hours including a couple of hours' breaks.
Gayle, Mick, thank you for your excellent company today, it was really good to meet up for the day. Enjoy the rest of your trip, and hope to see you again soon.
Click here for Gayle's posting for today.