I was awake around 5am, sleep was difficult given the slope of the campsite and the need to continually push myself back up the slope, my legs also ached and facing them down hill only encouraged this deep ache. so I busied myself in the early hrs packing and making breakfast. My tent was constantly wet, there was no way of drying it and the constant damp was adding to the weight of my pack which I could do with out.
I set off early wanting to avoid the combined sun and climb of the previous days walk, the climb although long was not as taxing as the previous. Many had said this was the hardest day but given the previous hills steep sharp ascents to me seemed mild. This seemed a busier area and at Angle it resembled a small campsite, I was glad that all those that had stayed the night had been responsible and as some packed up and left, there was little sign they had been there
Again the paths became non-committal and I walked along the most obvious path, I walked until i decided to check my map and found i was a little off course, I backtracked again and came across a father and daughter who were doing the same. I redirected them and we went on our way, I also noted a 3rd person having done the same. I made good time today, I passed by an elderly chap pushing a mountain bike up towards high street, we exchanged chat, he was 85years old and had started cycling at 70, he was doing his annual Hawswater route which he confessed got a little harder every year. I wished him well and plodded on, as I came to the Knot, two fighter jets blasted past, they flew low to the point you could almost see the pilots, one plane dipped its wing and i took this as a hello and waved back.
The view from Kidsty pike was amazing, the clear skies giving a view for as far as my eyes could see, I sat and refueled again, changed my t-shirt and set off down Kidsty pike. This was not fun, having a pack weighing 13/14kg made for slow and careful progress, i had to carefully pick my lines and my walking poles came in handy as I tried to desperately steady myself and avoid a nasty tumble.
At the bottom I stopped at the first bridge and rehydrated, stopping for quick-lunch, changed into my shorts and I was off. The heat was now steadily rising so out came my sawyer mini and again I rehydrated as I went, dipping my cap in the many becks to keep cool
The route along Hawswater was meandering and simple, the heat now making walking a chore and I was using water quickly, i was a little miffed that NorthWest water had placed signs everywhere which basically said look but don’t touch, such a shame that area as beautiful as this was basically off-limits. I exited the lake and walked a short distance through woods and came across the scouts refueling station, they’d set off 30mins after me that morning but I knew being able to see for at least 3miles behind me that they werent 30mins behind. They informed me that a man had passed through awhile ago who was trying to complete in 5 days!!! That sounded more masochistic than pleasure to me but good luck to him. The walk to shap was green fields that undulated softly for miles and other than large military helicopters flying over there was nothing fanciful to say, the going was easy but the last descent had taken its toll and walking was difficult on my left foot, the heat continued to cause me problems for me. It had become hotter than earlier and finding water easy to access was hard.
I did note the signage was much more helpful and at every point the signs were clear and lead the way well. I passed shap abbey which covered in scaffold was not a pleasing photo opportunity. I was dehydrated and sun burnt and coming across a group of kids throwing water at each other seemed like I was being cruelly teased by the walking gods, I begged for water and they obliged and off I went, desperate to rest my feet I knocked on the door of the New Inns and was happy to find camping available, I chatted with a guy I had passed earlier and after devouring large fish and chips, smokey sausage and two fizzy drinks, decided that tomorrow would be my last day, I knew i didn’t have enough time to complete (needing to be at work by the following Thursday) and with my foot problem growing it wouldn’t be wise to carry on after tomorrow.
But for tonight, I was happy to dry my clothing for this first time in 4 days and to be able to wear dry socks was enough of a pleasure to end my day.