Day 8: Burneside to Bowness-on-Windermere (Part 9/9 aka “The End!)
Total Miles Planned: 9.5
Actual Miles Walked: 11.6 (includes a 1 mile walk from the inn to the start of the Dales Way and one diversion for delicious coffee)
Weather: beautiful sunny skies!
Pints of beer and gin and tonics consumed at the end of the day: no beer, but one mini bar size Tito’s vodka with tonic and a glass of champagne to celebrate!
Total Miles Planned for the Dales Way: 79.5
Total Miles Actually Walked: 96.1
Day Eight on the Dales Way….our last day. We started early, leaving before 8am to get out onto the path. We were excited and energized, even though we were aching.
The walk was pleasant and only had a few uphill sections. We had a laugh when we realized that, unbeknownst to us, we had settled into a regular “uphill” routine this past week. It goes a little something like this: We both stop and look up. I put my hands on my lower back. Michelle sighs then says, “God#$%*it!” and I respond with “F#@&me”. And then we just carry on.
As usual, we met some lovely folks on the Dales Way today. A mother/daughter pair were on their final section of the route, just as we were. The daughter was 5-months pregnant with her first child—so beautiful and inspiring! They were local and kindly walked us to a coffee shop that they recommended. We also met up with a very nice man, a retired school-teacher, who was ahead of us on the path. Later, when we ran into him again, he was behind us! He said that he got a little lost, and complimented us on our map reading skills. Not to be sexist or anything, but we realized that we are excellent navigators because we are women, and as such, we talk about things. When we are puzzled about which way to go, we ask for each other’s opinions and ideas. We study the map, sometimes turn it upside down, and make logical assumptions and use deductive reasoning. It’s worked quite well.
Some photos from the walk today
Near to the “finish line”, we saw a sign post that had “Bowness via Dalesway 1 mile” written on it and it was the most welcome sight.
We got a spring in our step, and after about a dozen more uphill climbs (estimated), we saw the Dales Way bench.
A twin of this same bench is also at the start of the Dales Way. It has a plaque on it that says “For those who walk the Dales Way”. For us!
We stumbled into the harborside and down to the boat launch. As custom dictates, we dipped our boots into Lake Windermere, to commemorate the occasion.
Then we walked over to Hawkshead sporting goods store and each received a certificate of completion.
After all these miles, we couldn’t take another step. Not A ONE! So we flagged down a taxi to take us 1/2 mile to our hotel! And it may not have actually even been 1/2 mile, as the initial charge on the meter never actually changed. Finally, off our feet, we ordered room service, toasted our success, and Michelle took the longest, hottest bath in the history of bathing.
What a most amazing and joyful experience this has been. The challenge, the people, the landscape—all were more than expected. And to share it with my best friend (who is obviously insane for signing up for this) will forever be one of the highlights of my life.
Thank you for joining us on this journey!
~Lisa Griggo and Michelle Mullan