Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Into The Yorkshire Dales.

Well, after a fantastic rest day in Shap at Brookfield with wonderful Margaret Brunskill, it was back on the road today for the plod to Sedbergh. Margaret - something of a legend for Coast to Coasters - had made us wonderfully welcome, as she always does with all guests. Her welcome to every single guest is warm and friendly, and her attention to detail is second to absolutely none. She bakes the most wonderful cakes, scones, tea breads, tarts, and all sorts of lovely goodies. She also done ALL our washing (9 days' worth, since Glasgow!) and only charged us a minimal amount saying "put the rest towards your charities", as she also did with a reduction in our accommodation rate. What a lovely lady she really is, and a top notch guest house!!

The two nights we had in Shap were spent - for me only on the first night, though Lizzie joined me on the second - in The Kings Arms Hotel, in Shap.
The Kings is a very friendly, family run pub/hotel, and the food and ale are very good, and nicely priced. Sunday night there were many Irish folk over for the Appleby horse show that has been going on up here recently. Those Irish folk really know how to party, and the atmosphere in the pub was extremely good. I wanted very much to stay there and soak in the friendly atmosphere, but I think it went on a long way into the wee small hours, and I did need a rest!
Monday night was much quieter, though still good, and Lizzie and I had a very nice meal with a few ales to wash it down.
We did have a swift half in the other pub - The Crown - to see what it was like, and I had a good laugh with a weather beaten local chap, who i'll call "farmer Bill".
We had both stepped out for a smoke, and Bill was interested in our walk, having seen my t-shirt. We got chatting, and Bill started telling me about the time an American FI-11 jet came down in the valley just over yonder, in the 70's.
"Crikey, half the bloomin' USAF base in South Lincs came up 'ere, they took over T'Shap 'otel!"
Said Bill, chuckling. I too chuckled. He went on..
"Aye, an this American bloke came up t'me and asked if it was my farm, and how big it was.
So I told 'im. Well, mate, you see all these fells round 'ere" Bill had pointed to the hillside above them. "Well, all that you can see up there is my farm, all these fells!"
The American pushed his shoulders back. "Well, buddy, back home in The States my daddy has a real big farm One time I remember my daddy and my brother and me went to drive across the farm from sun up, and by nightfall we hadn't even got to halfway!"
After a little pause, and looking at the American chap's pleased looking face, farmer Bill quietly replied. "Aye, we used to have a car like that."
"Ha!, brilliant stuff Bill!" said I, "Did he get the joke?"
"Did he heck!" We had a good laugh at that, and I shook Bill's hand as we left for the Kings Arms. Very dry humour up here you know, top quality.
So, a good evening, and this morning we had a furtherance of quality conversation with a lovely couple we had met the previous afternoon - John and June from Sussex.
When I got back from my little rest day afternoon ramble at Wet Sleddale, John and June were already chatting with Lizzie, and it was June's birthday!
Wonderful hostess Margaret had slipped into her kitchen on hearing that it was June's birthday, so while they went and got moved into their room at Brookfield, Margaret made a lovely light jam sponge, and topped it with fresh cream and strawberries. When June and John came down half an hour later, it was "Happy Birthday June", and there was her lovely cake, complete with pretty little happy birthday napkins! Wonderfully thoughful Margaret, those touches make all the difference!!
John had walked the 'coast to coast' walk the previous month, and enjoyed it so much that he had brought his lovely wife back to see parts of the route on a lower level. He was also showing her some of the best places he had stayed in on the walk - Brookfield obviously being one of those!
We enjoyed one of Margaret's top notch cooked breakfasts together this morning (also porridge for me!) and chatted lots more, before a 'photo shoot' in the garden, warm hugs and handshakes, and off we went towards today's destination - Sedbergh. John and June were off to Stonethwaite in The Borrowdale Valley. Jealous, moi?? Yes!!
Anyway, off we went to Orton, en route to Tebay, then Sedbergh. Orton - a lovely little village - contains within it a little treasure, only the world's best little chocolate factory and shop!
The Moorland road to Orton.

Orton's little treasure - The Choccy Shop and factory!
They even have a coffee shop inside, with the best home made cakes, and windows where you can look into the room where the choccies are made, lovely jubbly.
We lingered rather too long in Orton, and sampled a few delights, before continuing the plod to Sedbergh. The road to Tebay was easy enough, then followed a very long and gradual climb into the hills. 5 miles of fairly hard climbing along the quiet road way above the M6, a fierce wind blowing in our faces the whole time. A quick tea stop - and a few goodies from Margaret's packed lunch - at the top of the hill, then a lovely last 7 miles to Sedbergh along quiet leafy lanes amongst the ever rising hills of The Yorkshire Dales, with The Pennines staring majestically up from the South.
All day the skies had been cloudy and threatening to umleash some wet stuff, but lo - nothing came, so we stayed dry all day, and old milko didn't even put his fleece on!
2O miles plodded, on what was a very pleasant and varied walk, up to 469 now!

Overcast, misty grey, though still looking rather fine, The Yorkshire Dales. Part of one of Mother Nature's most beautiful creations.

                                                             Alec Hawkes - 11.06.13 - with Lizzie, doing very well, by the way. Well done old girl!

                                              The River Lune.
The viaduct at Firbank.                          

1 comment:

John Merrell said...

Hello Alec and Liz,

Just got back last night after very enjoyable week in Borrowdale and now got wifi to be able to read your blogs.

Given you have reached Clitheroe, you must now be past half way and on the homeward leg. Hope everything is going as well as it was at Shap and thanx for your mention in dispatches.

Will be following your travels and as they say in Spain -

Buen Camino,

John and June

PS. Really enjoyed reading the blog and looking at all the photos, will need to have a look at the books!!