Having decided to end early, I discarded some items from my bag early that morning, filled on a full english and listened to the stories of the other C2C people, one lot went straight at the knott and got into shap around 9pm that evening. Others again were breaking it down into even smaller sections and breaking the 20 mile day in two, I couldn’t help but feel miffed when they start suggesting their route is harder, but each to their own. I set off knowing that today was my end and made great time.
I passed over the M6 and was soon out into open farm and moorland, everywhere I went farmers were now cutting silage, the smell of fresh-cut grass drying in the sun is definitely a late summer smell.
There was little here but the barren and sparse moors, at this point I was supposed to have passed a cairn but for the life of me I couldn’t see one and this would be a day of missing stone. I enjoy the open moors, their bleak and empty but there is something about that bleakness I enjoy (not sure what that says about me), I walked quickly and used my GPS more, signs were less frequent or mostly degraded and hard to read, at points little white C2C markings appeared on rocks and old posts leading the way like some mythical route, paths appeared where there were non marked on the os map and it did make me wonder about all those following guide books with no other navigation aid,
The path leading to Robin Hoods grave or supposed grave (it’s hardly a brilliant hiding place, plus there is zero information relating to this site other than its name) gently led away again along what I was assuming used to be a river bed and i decided that a quick stop in Orton was called for due to the again growing heat.
I walked down through fields, past staring cows who eyed me like a bunch of chavy teens wondering if I was worth robbing and dropped into a lovely little village, fizzy pop was guzzled before i made my way to a local notice board. I met a young girl who was cycling from Scotland to Lincolnshire, she was a triathlete but admitted that this was testing for her. We wished each other good look and off we went. I traced a road route to rejoin the path, again signs made this easier, tractors flew past at frightening speed towing trailers stacked with silage and i was glad to hit fields again and not have to face the same fate as the many rabbits. Now according to my map there was a stone circle right next to the trail but i was not able to see this from my path?? Shortly before Sunbiggin, a sign on a field proclaimed cows, calves and bull in the next field, I ummed and ahed and decided the detour was sensible.
I headed into sunbiggin and found this
A little oasis of honesty, I love these places, sports drink and snickers were gladly exchanged for money (plus a little extra) and i was off, following moorland paths again which offered little resistance. once i hit the road, i decided not to follow AW’s route which turned left and turned right heading through open moor again to rejoin the main path where i talked to a singular sheep who followed me for a little distance up the hill.
I figured by this point i had covered over half the distance by 1pm, I was amazed to say the least and it confirmed that once on the (relatively) flat ground i could motor along quickly, my shin at this point was agony and any stopping after this was not wanted. My next route would take me up and along Smardale fell and Waitby common.
the heather was in full force and my picture here cannot do it justice enough. As i grew closer to kirkby Stephen my shin had enough, the burning pins coming through my legs was signal game over,i hobbled along a b road to join the A685 where i made it to the train station having covered 20miles in just under 8hrs.
To be met by kerry and the kids I was so happy and despite being told numerous times i smelled badly I was happy having crossed the lake district with full kit in 5days. Time for some rest, throwing of socks away as they were refused a wash and to be bathed in the local river.