Day 7: Lincoln’s Inn Bridge to Burneside (Part 8/9)
Total Miles Planned: 12.3
Actual Miles Walked: 15 (includes a 1 mile walk to the hotel we are staying at, and a few miles of “you go this way, I’ll go that way, and the first one to find the Dales Way path gestures to the other”
Weather: No rain! Beautiful sunshine!
Pints of beer and gin and tonics consumed at the end of the day: just enough
Day 7: Michelle here; Lisa has the night off as she’s in need of a good soak. For all of her avid followers, I’ll apologize in advance. Day 7 started with a sumptuous breakfast provided by our lovely hosts, Allison and Andy. I know Lisa has sung their praises, but it bears repeating. Their inn was beyond cozy and they treated us like family. We were sad to leave the Stone Close and Dent village this morning, but Andy set us off with packed lunches and delicious sweet treats. I don’t know if it was the fact that we’ve been walking for 7 days, or that we were sad to leave our friends but we moved along at a snail’s pace.
Our plan this morning had us getting back to Lincoln’s Inn Bridge by taxi and, if you’ve been keeping up, you know how hard taxis are to find. We flagged one down yesterday in Sedbergh and made a verbal agreement with the driver, John, to meet us in Dent and he would take us to our starting point. As planned, John was waiting for us and we were off to begin our longest day of walking. We began with some trepidation as our walker friends, Guy and Matt, warned us that they had gotten lost three times yesterday while on the same trail. We took our time and questioned every turn, but like bloodhounds picking up a scent, we found our way with only minor setbacks. I could see how they, being less seasoned travelers, would have gotten lost.
We were gifted with another beautiful day. NO RAIN, at all! We always start all layered up, but being women of a certain age, it doesn’t take us long to warm up. The jackets came off quite early and we even wore sunglasses throughout the day. Again, our walk took us past many amazing views. We passed by a massive, lone tree in a field. The sun hit it just right and it served as our inspiration for the day.
We needed to dig in and find strength to sustain us over this long day. We didn’t have to look very far. The everchanging landscape provides the motivation to keep moving forward.
The further you get along the Dales Way, the higher those steps seem to become. We’re certainly not above helping get one another’s legs up and over when it becomes necessary.
Since this route does not have any place to stop off for a bite to eat, we had to find a spot to settle in and have lunch. We decided on a hilltop that had beautiful 360 degree views. We basically plopped ourselves down on the trail, since we had seen only two other walkers to that point. We had the best seats in the house. I won’t soon forget unpacking our bagged lunches and taking in the breathtaking scenery.
With lunch having been devoured, we were ready to tackle the next half of today’s journey. As is often the case, after eating, nature calls. It became apparent that there were no facilities on this route, so one of us did what any hiker worth their salt would do and found an isolated place to carry out her business. Now as I said before, we saw only one or two other hikers all morning. No sooner had Lisa begun the process, then fellow walker “Andrew from St. Andrews” appeared over the horizon. Horrified, Lisa quickly gathered herself and carried on as if nothing had happened. Andrew was none the wiser and off he went. There are no pictures, but I think Lisa is scarred for life. I’m a school teacher, and this was the one day I was grateful for having a teacher’s bladder.
We noticed on this particular route that many houses offered drinks and snacks on an honor system. With the lack of facilities, it’s nice to know that people go out of their way to make the walkers comfortable. It gives me hope for humanity. I’m sad to say that I don’t think the money baskets would last very long in the US. I’ve seen what happens to full bowls of Halloween candy versus a bunch of hungry trick or treaters.
We spent almost 9 hours walking today, and that’s a lot of walking. When Lisa first mentioned this idea of doing a walking trip, I had no idea it meant we’d actually be doing all that walking. I must say, 7 days in, we are doing all that walking. There’s something exciting about setting a goal each morning and accomplishing it. We’re easy company. Forty plus years of friendship makes for easy conversation and easy silence. Lisa has fallen in love with this country and I can see why. I still don’t understand why they call black pudding, pudding because it is NOT pudding or why they have two separate faucets for hot and cold water, but I do understand that it is the people that make being in this country an experience like no other. Whether it’s a quick hello on the path or a night at the pub, the warmth generated by everyone we’ve met will be something I will never forget.