Coast to Coast: Day 4

GRASMERE TO SHAP – 25 MILES / 40 KM

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We awoke to the smell of a damp drying room, with the air simmering with sweat and peat bog; as good a wake up call as any, not that we had to make up lost mileage or anything…

We headed out of Grasmere the wrong way (which started to feel like a tradition at this point). We finally found that right path beside a place called High Bloodrayne (please, no more rain!) heading to Grisedale Tarn.

The suffering of the previous day had given us a strength we had not felt before. Maybe it was the good Quaker people and their blessings, or the urgency that 25 miles in one day comes with.

We were soon gifted with light! Sunlight! And not a cloud in the sky. We skipped up to Grisedale Tarn, and hopped onto the path running down beside Grisedale Beck. In all, this was the highlight of the entire walk; the scenery, the weather, the path, the wildlife. It was a beautiful way to start the morning.

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We soon found ourselves in Patterdale, only a day late. It was approaching midday, and a fell run was in progress through the town. Runners were heading along the roads and lanes, and up the route we had so perfectly timed coming from. And here is a confession; a sign was pointing walkers through the church yard, to which Craig shamelessly was resting against (HOW DARE HE!). A lone runner passed the signposted gateway unaware the road ahead was to be known as “The Wrong Way”.

A quick bacon cob and tea later, before Craig and John engaged in a father-son argument over how to pack a rucksack correctly. Should you pack items width ways or length ways? A quick emptying of John’s rucksack by Craig soon started a torrent of abuse unseen since the rain of yesterday.

Me and Rob sped ahead, climbing yet another mountain side to reach the Boredale Hause and the winding path towards Angle Tarn and, eventually, High Street. We knew Kidsty Pike, the highest point on our walk, was next – however, a blind eye led us down High Street and back on the familiar grounds known as “The Wrong Way”.

If it wasn’t for a well-spoken lady and her whippets, dubbed the Lady of the Lakes, we would have added more miles onto the clock. However, her unforgettable words of wisdom led us to Kidtsy Pike, and the route down to Haweswater Reservoir (aka the sloggiest slog of all slogs).

Take note, that the path beside Haweswater Reservoir is not fun, or at least we didn’t find it. It was uneasy under foot, and matched with the feeling that it never seemed to end, soon found us in agony, hunger, thirst and fatigue.

And then, when all hope seemed lost, a sign!

A young boy by the name of Thomas Richardson (a name we now drink to) had started an honesty shop in the form of a cooler and a donations box at the end of the walk around Haweswater. Mars Bars! Cans of pop! Snickers! Now take my money!

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The walk onwards to Shap was in high spirits, yet again. John showed us his blistered feet, which due to delirium was hilarous, and onwards we soon saw Shap  Abbey, rise through the trees to mark the end of the day. I wanted to take a nice picture of the Abbey against the burning red sunset that evening, however I couldn’t be arsed.

The last I remember was putting up my tent, watching a EUROPA football match in a seedy pub, sipping on a pint of Guinness and chewing on pork scratchings.

Here’s to Thomas!

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