Day 5: Gearstones to Dent (Part 6/9)
Total Miles Planned: 9.5
Actual Miles Walked: 12 (includes one wrong turn and a 1 ½ mile walk from the inn back to the Dales Way)
Weather: cloudy skies, warm breeze and NO RAIN! An ideal walking day.
Pints of beer and gin and tonics consumed at the end of the day: 3?
Day Five on the Dales Way started off with a breakfast that was not for champions; we had bananas and spread Nutella on toast. While it may not have been for champions, it was kind of delicious nonetheless. Several other walkers were at the inn and like us they were each heading to Dent Village today, but they were heading out in different directions and veering from the Dales Way. We were invited to tag along with each of them, but Michelle and I decided to stick to our plan, so we grumpily walked the 1 ½ miles down the busy road to get back to the walking path.
As soon as we stepped onto the path, we were met by another American walker, who was finishing up her morning walk. Vicky was from Connecticut and told us that she was 75 years old and that she has been walking long-distance trails in the UK since June. I don’t remember anything else she said because I was too distracted by how ultra-skinny she was; I allowed myself to imagine that Michelle and I will look similarly lithe by week’s end.
Not too far onto the path today, we met up with Guy and Matt, who we briefly saw when we left the Nethergill House Learning Center the day before. We exchanged “hellos” and greeted one another, and Matt reminded us that we hadn’t just seen them yesterday; rather, they also saw us shimmying under the barbed wire fence two days before! Matt went on to say that they were just talking about it in the pub last night, which made me suddenly realize that Michelle and I are LEGENDS of the Dales Way. Legends! He also mentioned that there was a large party of Americans from Colorado about five miles ahead of us. Because he said no more about them, one can only assume that they are much less charming, charismatic, and legendary.
We stopped for lunch around mile six, at a pub that advertised that is was open for lunch from 12-2pm. But when we arrived at 1:10pm, we were told that lunch was over and the food had already been put away. Michelle had no problem implementing Plan B, which was sitting down at a table and eating from a bag of nuts she found at the bottom of her backpack. My lunch consisted of one Alpen bar and two cheese sticks I lifted from the inn’s breakfast buffet that morning.
The walk took us over gentle hills and dales today, as well as riverside paths. Unfortunately for you, readers, the cows we passed today were too far in the distance for us to take selfies with, but Michelle did manage to get this stunning portrait, which we like to call: Oreo with Milk
While there were no cows to greet us, we did have the opportunity to share some love with a few sweet horses. Some nice chin scratches were all it took for us to win their affections so that we could move them aside and get through the farm gate.
Another section of the walk took us through a deforested hillside, rich with blackberry brambles and wild flowers which had now gone to seed. The air was filled with cottony poofs from the seed pods, and it gave a magical air to the walk. None of the photos can quite capture it, and I can only describe it as feeling like we were in a story book. We half imagined that we would soon come upon a clearing in which there would be a thatched-roof cottage filled with seven little men….but then we came to our senses and realized that would totally stink, so we picked up our pace to get out of there as quickly as possible.
A good deal of the path today was on a roadside. The views never cease to amaze.
After 12 miles, we arrived in the lovely village of Dent, where my hubby and I had visited last winter. I was so excited to share this lovely place with Michelle.
In Dent, we were greeted with a pot of tea by our new/old friends who run a wonderful and warm B&B. Allison threw a load of wash in for us, too, which after wearing and re-wearing our hiking socks these past few days was possibly the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done in the history of the world. Our room is so cozy and warm and it felt heavenly to take a long hot shower, wash my hair, and wrap myself in a giant fluffy towel. I’m pretty sure Michelle felt similarly, as I thought I overheard her crying in the shower.
My friend Bob lives in Dent Village. My hubby and I met him last winter and we struck up a friendship. We email every couple of weeks and chat about whatever is happening at the moment. We planned via email to meet at the Sun Inn pub at 7pm on August 28, and so we did. What a delight to chat with him again, and to share a pint (or two). We even bought one another a birthday pint, as we learned last Spring that we share the same birthday (May 2). I gave Bob a Boston Red Sox cap as a gift from America (Michelle, a lifelong Yankees fan, turned a blind eye to my choice).
Not long after our first pint, fellow walkers Matt and Guy arrived at the pub and we all shared some lovely conversation. Though I have to admit that I was disappointed to learn that Matt’s Fitbit calculated that he was burning upwards of 3000 calories a day, whereas my fitness app told me that after 12 miles today, I had burned a measly 800. Just to add insult to injury, Matt alerted me during dinner that he had just burned another few hundred calories from the effort of feeding himself dessert! Grrrr…..
Today’s walk was lovely and the conversation and friendship at the pub were perfect. I am glad we are staying in this lovely village for another night and even more glad that our new/old friends will be joining us tomorrow here as well.