|Crossing the M6 at Shap|
Weather Cloudy and breezy
Another long day but much less climbing than we’re used to and much easier under-foot. Consequently a bit faster!
Today’s route began straight opposite the pub, over the M6 and skirted the Hardendale quarry. A far cry from the beauty of the lakes, but still a wild and lonely place. Looking back we could see High Street and the distinct promontory of Kidsty Pike. Already beginning to miss the Lakes, but looking forward to the scenery to come. Looking ahead and to our right we could clearly see the Howgills, getting closer and closer as we approached the village of Orton, where we stocked up on sandwiches and drinks for lunch. On past Sunbiggin Tarn, which sounds more scenic than it is, and on to Smardale. Descending to Smardale Bridge, and looking across the valley to the hillside ahead, you can make out two large earth mounds, 15m by 3m, known as the Giant’s Beds, of unknown origin, although they are certainly not what their name suggests! Wainwright remarks that this section of the walk contains a number of sites of prehistoric and primitive settlements, if you know what you’re looking for!
With a view down the valley to Smardale viaduct, we began the last climb of the day up Smardale fell, where we met up with Ian, who had spent the previous night back at Grasmere (while we were at Shap). He walked with us over the fell and into the village of Kirkby Stephen. As the campsite was some distance outside the village, we opted for a pint and some fish and chips, (though not in the chippy frequented by AW, as that one was closed), before the long walk on to the campsite. Pennine View campsite- Good site and good facilities, but the weather turned very nasty during the night with strong winds and rain. Poor Colin was stuck in the tent!
Alternatives- The Black Bull pub where we had a pint and met Steve from Leeds, who was finishing half-way today and returning for the second half at a later date. Also B&B at Redmayne House, recommended by the “Blackpool Donkeys”, on Silver St, £28 per night and large bath! Could do with a bath now, rather than showers!
Absolutely shattered tonight and quite low. Extremely sore knees. Went to bed with frozen peas on my knees!