Coast to Coast 2006

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The Savage's Coast to Coast Diary
Day Four
Day 4 - 11th August 2006

Patterdale to Shap (16 miles)

End of Day 4: 11 August, 5pm, Room One, Brookfield, Shap

Ive had enough of this packed lunch malarkey. It would be OK if they were all like that provided by Stonegate Farm in St Bees; sadly the last two days have provided more for the wildlife in our vicinity come lunchtime. We are going do-it-yourself from now on. Today, first thing I popped down to the shop in Patterdale; ate two bananas, two bread rolls, two bottles of water and a flapjack between us.

The last two B&Bs we stayed in have had a bit of a pasting from me so let me say straight away that Wordsworth Cottage (once home to the famous Romantic poet), in Patterdale, last night was most things you would hope/want/expect. I suppose if I wanted to be picky a big room would have been nice; but in all other areas they have got it just right. Comfortable, quiet room, recently decorated with modern fittings, everything works and a good breakfast. They also have the perfect location; lying in the valley down a quiet lane with views of crags and fells on all sides. The thing that did it for me, though, was that the lad of the house and 11-year-old, I guess knew all the footie scores for the last few days; not just the scores but also the scorers, goal times and, Im sure if Id asked, the attendance figures. Ive got one like him at home. Anyway Im up to date and with faith in B&Bs restored.

We were placed at breakfast in the window seat looking down the dale. Unfortunately from my seat I could see the steep path climbing up the side of the fell which we were shortly going to have to climb; heck, it was steep; I had to look away and find ways to distract myself.

Come 9am we were on our way (well, strictly speaking, it was six minutes to 9am because although the Patterdale village church clock was chiming, the hot local knowledge has it that the clock has just started running fast). Another early morning long, steep pull; this time out of Patterdale up to Bordale Hause then Angle Tarn. A wrong path was then taken and we ended up on top of Rest Dodd. Id like to say that it had been a lifetimes ambition to climb Rest Dodd or that it had been all part of the days plan; unfortunately both would be untrue. We recognized the mistake, made our way down by a makeshift path and rejoined the correct trail. We bumped into others aware that we were doing the C2C and whod seen our (rather my) error; I tried to make light of it and laugh it away; all I got back were pitying looks and a Do you have a map?. Time to increase our pace. More ascending all the way through to Kidsty Pike: stunning views wherever you looked, then a long, often steep descent down to Haweswater. Didnt enjoy it at all: hard on the knees and, because you had to watch your footing, difficult to appreciate your surroundings.

Lunch on the banks of Haweswater. We then had a tedious walk the length of Haweswater. The view of the lake was often obscured; just trudge, trudge, trudge. I read recently that scientists have tagged bees and recorded that some fly (buzz?) up to eight miles away from home and can then find their way back; could the same be true of flies? One fella kept me company throughout the Haweswater trudge. Swat, swat, swat.

And then, just like that, at the end of Haweswater, the Lake District is gone and we are into undulating meadows through to Shap.

William and I have a slightly different opinion on this, I think this walk is well-judged, and stunning as the scenery and views are, some three days in the Lake District for now has been enough for me; its time to move one. William, though, who found the going a little tough to start with, has become increasingly competent and confident both ascending and descending the fells. Hed be happy with more: another sign of growing assurance in his own abilities and capabilities.

Weather has again been good to us. Throughout our time in the Lake District, Ive been conscious that if it had been hot or if visibility had been poor the challenges would have been that much greater. Into our B&B at 4.30pm; From our bedroom window we can now look out and see Kidsty Pike way back in the distance; job done. Somehow this seems to provide a nice symmetry with the start of the day.

A lot of miles to cover tomorrow but less height gain should make the going easier.

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