Walking the South West Coast Path

May 21-22  Flight and Arrival in Padstow on the Cornwall Coast of England

Delta’s night flight from Philadelphia to London was almost completely empty. As the night wore on, passengers took advantage, and quietly appropriated the empty seats, curling up with pillows and soft red blankets. When I woke up the next morning, I looked around the cabin and saw what looked like row after row of lumpy, red, laundry bags stretched out on the seats, a sleeping head stuck out at one end or the other.

We arrived in Padstow, a small fishing village on the Camel River, just south of Port Isaac on the Cornish coast, where they film the Doc Martin series. The Camel is actually an estuary that flows to the Atlantic Ocean about two miles to the west. It was 3:00 in the afternoon, a gorgeous blue-sky day, and after almost twenty four hours on planes and trains, we breathed in the chilly, fresh, air of the sea, and looked around with delight. Gulls swooped and soared overhead, charming little shops lined the three-sided parade, or quay, and all kinds of small boats bobbed cheerfully in the harbor. We walked up the steep hill to check our bags at our B&B, Simply Padstow, and then back down the narrow streets and alleys for a fish and chips dinner and some Cornish cider. Delicious! Then back up the hill to bed. Steep hills, up from the village and down to the sea, this was the pattern and rhythm of our ten day walking tour. I was already out of breath.

 

Word for the Day- Crikey, as in, “Crikey, the shop closes at 4:00. Yes, you can make it. Oh, Crikey it’s just fifteen minutes back up the hill.”  ( I was looking for a shop that sold a Sim card for my phone. No luck, no working cell phone. Luckily Jennifer had brought her I-pad, or we 2016-05-20 23.17.09

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Day 1 From Padstow to Porthcothan 13.75 miles

Monday- Another beautiful, clear day. Up at 7:00, down to breakfast. Our cheerful waitress showered us with endearments, “What you want dearie?” “That’s all right then my darling’” Will that be all mi luv?” etc. etc. Set off by 9:30.2016-05-21 17.49.27 Passed the war memorial from the First and Second World Wars. So many names from such a small village.

2016-05-21 17.50.20South West Path stretches high above the Camel estuary as it makes its way to the ocean. This part of the coast is where they filmed the shipwreck scenes in the Masterpiece series, Poldark. Easy to imagine smugglers and shipwrecks, and all sorts of goings on. These are deserted coasts with many hidden coves.

After two miles we came to Steppes Point, the headland that reaches out into the ocean side. Looking to our right, the cliffs, with the ocean in gorgeous shades of blue green and turquoise with the waves crashing and foaming against the rocks far below. To the east, pastures, and hundreds of sheep as far as you can see. No commercial property, no condominiums cutting off the view, just open sky and space.

2016-05-21 19.30.02 The path narrows as you dip and turn and becomes a shallow stony ditch, no wider that two boot widths. We clamber down, and around, and over stiles, and through pasture gates.  Jennifer has brought her walking sticks, and soon we each take one to help with balance and in my case to lighten the load on my left hip, which has been giving me some trouble. But not today!
2016-05-21 20.16.272016-05-21 20.35.23At  Trevone Bay we look down on a lovely beach. nestled between the rocks. Surfers in the water, and sun worshipers on the beach. At the little café we eat lunch. We have walked 4.5 miles in three hours. Not exactly fleet of foot. I have my fit bit, so there is no mistake. It’s 12:30 and we need to go another nine plus miles. Jennifer estimates we’ll get to Porthcothan about 6:30.

After lunch we walk across a half mile of hard, wet, sandy beach, avoiding rivulets and puddles when possible, but my boots seem pretty waterproof. The coastal path starts again and leads back up onto the cliffs. 2016-05-21 21.18.15Around a blunt headland and a couple more sharp descents to the beach and back up to the cliffs. Looking at our map we see how little progress we have made. We round a grassy headland at Cataclews Point and it so inviting we lie down on the soft grass for a short nap. Looking at my fit bit, I see we’ve gone 7 miles. We decide to take a chance and circumvent the next prominent headland, Trevose Point. So with some trepidation, as our map only shows the coastal path, we head inland, down a dirt road just north of Mother Ivy’s Bay. 2016-05-21 21.52.18After a few twists and turns we see signs for Booby’s Bay, and find the sea again, and the path comes along to greet us like an old friend. Here the waves are really big. Surfers and life guards are all along the beach. The good news is we’ve cut off about a mile and a half of walking. The bad news is we have four more miles to go.

At Constatine Bay the beach is covered with small polished pieces of slate. We move on, as the afternoon is  moving on. There is another rest stop and some accommodations at Treyarnon Bay. But after trudging across the sand we find the café is closed, although there is a little shop by the parking lot for beach stuff, and cold drinks. I sit down under a bush beside the car park and take off my boots. The bottoms of my feet feel like grilled sausages. That’s the neuropathy complaining, a condition of jangling burning nerves that is not pleasant in the best of circumstances. Jennifer goes into the little store and buys a Dandelion and Burdock soda.  Mostly sugar!

Up we get, and on we walk, back up onto the cliffs, past the Minnow Islands, which in my view should be called Whale Islands. They are big, and hump-backed. We 2016-05-22 17.29.08round several deep cuts in the cliff where we look looking down, down, hundreds of feet to the brightest sea green water, and the waves crashing and foaming and shooting spray high up on the rock face, ghosts dancing against the cliffs.

On we go, past a bird sanctuary for sky larks, and corn buntings. Then the path turns inland, and finally, finally, at last, we are looking down at the village of Porthcothan, a few dozen houses clustered at the end of the Porthcathon bay. Down we climb, using our poles for balance and purchase on the stony, steep path. Down onto a paved road, across a stone bridge, and after asking for directions to our B&B, along a dirt road to our B&B Penlan. Mary Neale, our hostess, is waiting at the end of her walk. How did she know it was us?  “Well.” she said, “the others are already here.” We had walked 14.6 miles according to my fit bit, and it was 5:30. So our speed was not quite 2 miles an hour.BB_Image3a

I had developed a nice blister on the knuckle of my right big toe. So Tim, Mary’s very nice husband drove us up to the hill to the pub. More Cornish cider and a BLT for me. Jennifer had a ham and cheese and Ale. We had  glorious view from the deck of the little cove and the hills surrounding. Mary and Tim arrived after we had eaten. Sat and talked awhile. He is into computers, videos, and websites. He and his son have a business some miles away. She is the B&B hostess, a beautiful woman, white hair softly pulled back from her face, charming, probably in her forties or early fifties, with a wry sense of humor. They raise a few sheep, a few chickens, and a dog. Two or three grown children. One in Washington D.C. It’s a rural life. They love Cornwall, have lived in the area for thirty years.

Porthcothan_airal-shot_0064-cropped-4We walk back down a very narrow road, bending, turning, on a steep hill. Back over the bridge and to our B&B. It’s 8:30, but still a bright sky. As evening descends, It turns really chilly. We turn on the heater. This is where the I-Pad comes to our rescue. We decide not to walk all the way to Newquay, which is 11.25 miles away, (pronounced Newkey) the next day. Jennifer researches buses lines and bus stops, and where the path comes close to a bus stop. While she does that, I take an ibuprofen for hip, just a precaution, put a Salinpas patch on my hip, just a precaution. Put on a band aid, and cut out a piece of moleskin for my blister, and fall into bed.

The word for the day:: Knackered, as in “What you get here are walkers, and they are knackered, and that kind of puts me off.”  (The answer we got from our B&B host at Simply Padstow when we asked him whether he had ever walked the South West Coast Path. Today I understood.)

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From Windemere to Swathmoor Hall, unzipped

We spent a day and two nights at the Fairview, enjoying the elegant comfort of an English country inn, and touring the Lake District. Dales Way 115It was a full day of winding up steep narrow roads, visiting a stone circle, taking a boat ride, having lunch at a bustling market place. There were traffic jams, cars, buses, campers, cyclists.,etc all trying to do the same thing we were. Beautiful scenery, but unpleasant crowds.103

A terrific storm blew in the next day. Liz, our terribly efficient hostess, helped us figure the best route to Swarthmoor Hall, our next destination. I wanted to take the train, but Liz said the bus would be easier. She said Ulverston was a big town, where we could get a taxi to Swarthmoor Hall. Not to worry.

In the Fairfield’s beautifully appointed library, we watched the rain smashing the flowers outside our window, and listening to the cheerful houseboy/waiter singing Castillian love songs. Silke said, “It’s Agador Spartacus, the houseboy in “The Birdcage.”” Yes, the same clumsy good nature, the same disheveled look, shirt hanging out of his pants, etc. and a pronounced Castillian accent. A nice voice too. He was quite a contrast to the oh-so serious Liz.

Around noon we caught the bus, and forty minutes later we were in Ulverston, a half hour ahead of schedule. Market_Street,_Ulverston_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1731488When the bus pulled over to let us off, Silke’s mouth dropped. Mine must have done the same. “Is this the center of Ulverston?” “Yes,” said the bus driver. Now Silke’s worst fears were being realized. It was raining, we were utterly clueless, and besides our backpacks, we now had our suitcases to deal with. Just then an elderly couple came along. They directed us to the main street, and dragging our bags behind us, we found a cozy little tea shop and squeezed ourselves, our sopping wet ponchos, our backpacks, and our rolling suitcases inside.

It was about 1:30 by this time, and I had been told we should arrive at Swarthmoor Hall after 4:00. 131 Only two and a half hours to kill. We ate our soup and sandwiches slowly, trying to decide what to do next. Our waitress knew Swarthmoor Hall. She gave us directions to the train station, where we would have a better chance of finding a taxi. Luckily it had stopped raining, and once we found it, the train station was opened, although it was Sunday. The clerk gave us a list of taxi numbers. On my eighth attempt, I finally connected with a live person. The taxi ride was short, and suddenly we passed through a stone archway into the courtyard of Swarthmoor Hall. 129The hall was a sixteenth century manor house, tall and dark, with small, mullioned windows, and a heavy, wooden door. Beside the manor house and some lovely gardens, there were three other buildings, a barn, the office, and a row of guest quarters.

Nicole, our young hostess showed us to our suite. She gave us lots of instructions about the alarm system, very sensitive, the heating system, the hot water system, very complicated, the toaster, which could easily set off the fire alarm. A notebook of additional instructions, and information was set out on the table. I knew I was in Quaker territory. After giving us an orientation, Nicole said our supper was in the fridge, and not to call her “unless it was an emergency.”132

The weather had cleared by then, and the wind had come up, so after Nicole left, we found a foot path on the other side of the wall around Swarthmoor Hall. The path led through a meadow, across a creek, and back up into Ulverston, a much shorter distance by the path than by the road.Around swarthmoor hall

Our dinner, some tasteless soup, salad greens without any dressing, and two rolls  was by far the worst meal we had eaten since our arrival in England. Quaker simplicity is not always tasty. After dinner, it began to feel a little bit nippy in the apartment, and the hot water went off. A red blinking light appeared on the hot water heater, which meant according to our instructions, “flame failure.” We were supposed to push the “Reignite button.” Nothing. Now the room was downright cold, and outside the wind was fierce. Worried about fires, we called Nicole. She arrived and tried the same ritual. No luck.  She said we could change rooms, and took us over to the old hall, which at night was dark, gloomy, and a little scary. By the time we got back to our suite, the radiators had started to warm up again. This series of outages went on all night as the wind howled and the temperature plummeted. Other than that we had a wonderful visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 8: Our Last Day on the Dales Way

Day 8 was to be an easy last day on the trail, ending up at a posh B&B on Lake Windermere.  However, once again our map reading skills proved less than perfect . . . .

Janet, our hostess, drove us into Sedbergh, where we took a bus into Kendal, feeling a little guilty for the detour. KendalNot used to all the hustle and bustle in town. We stopped in a sporting goods shop to replace a knife that Silke had lost. Lo and behold, inside, we met the young man from yesterday with the battered face. He had met disaster a few days back, south of Grassington, when he slipped on some rocks and crashed head first into the River Wharfe, breaking his nose, blacking both eyes, and putting a deep gash in his head. Yikes, that could have been one of us.

A ten minute train ride took us to Stavely. Dales Way 105After stopping in a tea/antique shop for a latte and flapjack, we  set off for the last leg of our journey. First things first, where was the Dales Way? Two men passed us carrying a big Ordinance Survey map. They were also looking for the Dales Way. Two women came up as we were talking. They were with the men, which they made quite clear. “We saw you in Dent,” continued one of the women. “Yes,” I said, “We were in Dent a few days ago.” She nodded. “We saw you walking down along the river. We took the upper route. It had a much better view.”

I said we were going to Brigg Flatts Quaker Meeting House, not Sedbergh. The woman was not impressed. Silke stopped and took off her backpack. “Oh wait, Lyn, I want some water,” she said.  We told the two couples to go on, and as they disappeared over the hill, we agreed to steer clear of them if possible.

093Once on the trail, we settled into the rhythm of our steady pace. Vast sky, green pastures, with occasional rock outcroppings, stone walls that had to be climbed, and always the ubiquitous sheep. Janet had said the path would be level. Yes, in relation to the  Howgills, but after the first few hills, I can’t say I would have called the walk “level.” Nor was the path always clearly marked, but the walking was fine, and easy to navigate.

Dales Way 107At about 1:00 we saw a cone-shaped hill way off in the distance with tiny figures standing at the top. “Do we want to climb that?”  We came upon some hikers who said the climb to School Knott was well worth it. Up the hill we labored, and what a view. Below us stretched Lake Windermere, with the the town of Bowness our destination on the left. 094Finding our way there was the challenge. “Follow the path between heather, bracken, and rock outcrops,” my map instructed.  But, there was heather everywhere, and we didn’t know what bracken looked like. Down we went, heading toward the left, in the direction of Bowness. We came out of the woods at the bottom and found ourselves in a housing development. Totally disoriented, we spotted a woman hanging out clothes in her yard. She said we were in Windemere, two miles from Bowness! She gave us directions into the center of Windemere, a bustling, touristy town of fine old stone buildings, high-end shops and enticing cafes. 098By that time my feet were sizzling from the hard pavement, and my right toe was screaming at every step. I hobbled down the hill. Two miles seemed like forever.  It was close to 4:00 by the time we got to Bowness. Directed by kindly passersby, we soldiered on, up a steep, cobblestones street, huffing and puffing, and our tempers fraying. Just as I was about to give up and sit down on the curb, there it was, The Fairview, our B&B, a stately white manor house. My spirits lifted immediately, and we stopped at the nearest pub, the Royal Oak, the official end-of- the- Dales Way- pub. Dales Way 113Waves of exhaustion, relief, gratitude; we were giddy with delight. After one beer, we were giddy with drink. Our boots were caked with mud and shit, our pants were filthy, and we both needed baths, but the restaurant, just a few steps away, was cool and dark, and nobody seemed to notice. We gobbled down a burger and chips and regained our equilibrium, managing to navigate the hill back to our B&B. 096Tony, our host, met us at the door. We left our boots outside. Our bags had arrived. Our room was elegant, our bathroom sparkled with gleaming, white tiles, and a full-size bath tub. The best possible reward after seven days on the trail. Heaven!

 

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Firbank Fell and George Fox’s Pulpit

Day 7: “A misty moisty morning when foggy was the weather. . .”  I heard the rain steadily all night long.  A misty moisty morningJames and Janet, two of the most genuinely nice people you could possibly have as hosts, were taking off for the day. At breakfast James had xeroxed a map, drawing a circular route for us from Brameskew Farm along the river to Crook of Lune Bridge. From there we were to look for a farm lane through the fields and pastures to George Fox’s pulpit on Firbank Fell.  Below George Fox’s pulpit was a bridle path leading back to the river where we could cross below Hole House and then over a few pastures to Brameskew Farm.  It looked straight forward enough.

It had started to rain again, and we put on our ponchos. Then over a big ladder stile and down into pastures of high grass.  These were cow as well as  sheep pastures.  Dales Way 093My worst fear was that I would lose my footing and slide into one of the huge, wet, smelly cow pies that lurked everywhere.  At Holme House we faced a steep hill down to a farm track, saturated with rain, mud, and manure until it had become a thick morass. We crossed to the other side by sidling along the bottom rung of a gate that closed off the barnyard,  and then walking on a cement culvert that served as a drain.  A misstep would have landed us in ankle-deep shit.Dales Way 096

On the other side of the barnyard we passed a farm house, which was surrounded by a high stone wall. Over the wall we caught sight of the back garden. Brilliant flowers hung from baskets, geraniums, begonias, pink and blue lobelia, and blood red wax begonias.  Flower beds of cosmos, daisies, coreopsis, and anemones, a burst of color in the gray morning.

We followed the Dales Way down to the River Lune. Luckily it had stopped raining because the track near the river was low, and boggy; in some places impassable. We crawled up the bank, struggling with wet, tangled underbrush. The River LuneIn some places we were high above the river, and it was quite dangerous, as a loss of balance would tumble us down the steep bank onto some nasty looking rocks.  Thoughts of broken bones, and trying to get help crossed my mind.  Silke thought we should call Janet to come and rescue us. “She said to call her any time, right?” “But we don’t even know where a road is,” I reminded her.

Crook of Lune Bridge -1When we got to Crook of Lune Bridge, it was a relief to be back on a paved road, never mind the burning soles of my feet.  We started up the hill past some lovely stone cottages. Toward us came a band of three young men.  They were marching along at a brisk pace, and didn’t stop to chat, but I noticed one man had a battered face, black eyes, and a large bandage on the side of his face near the hairline. Either he had been in a fight or he had taken a nosedive somewhere. Silke and I decided that our fears about slipping into the river were well founded.

We scoured the hedgerows for a farm lane as James had shown us, but we didn’t ever find it. 079Walked a few extra miles on the road until we found another farm track that doubled back toward Firbank Fell. When the road divided we were at a loss until a car came along, which I waved down. The driver pointed us in the right direction, and said it wasn’t far.  Hah! He was in a car. We were on foot. Up and down the hills we went. Each time we reached the brow of a hill, we thought we’d see George Fox’s pulpit, but instead there was always another hill. Finally we came upon a small cemetery, surrounded by a high rock wall. 082Beyond and to the right was an outcropping of rock and set into the rock was a plaque. “At this stone or near it, George Fox spoke to a multitude of about 1000 people. Many men and women were convinced of the truth at this fell.”   A high and lonely spot, with a view that swept over the rounded fells and valleys. Very satisfying to think of that time in 1652, and the people walking here from Sedbergh, a village several miles south.  We could appreciate the day much more, having walked here ourselves.

084After spending some time enjoying the view and soaking up the silence, we pushed on. In less than ten minutes we came to a lane or footpath, which could have been the bridle path. We stopped to consult Jame’s map.  A man was working in the back of a truck, unloading a mower. We asked him for directions back to the River Lune, and he offered to take us, an invitation I accepted gratefully.  We passed the same three hikers we had seen earlier on the way. The young man’s face looked even worse, eyes almost closed, face swollen and bruised, but still marching along at a good clip.

089Our lovely driver let us out just past a little church. He pointed us down the hill. “Just through that gate. It’s dead easy. Follow the path down to the river.”  We thanked him and off we went through the gate, down the hill, across a foot bridge, back up past Hole House, thankfully the barnyard had Dales Way 102dried up considerably, and through the pastures to Brameskew Farm. Janet and James were still not back, but they had left us the key.  We washed off our boots at the outdoor faucet before going inside and plunking ourselves down in the front parlor to rest. A thoroughly satisfying day.

 

 

 

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Day 6: Lost along the River and Soaked to the Skin

We woke to a gray sky and ominously dark clouds that had settled on the hills. Dianne, our hostess at the Stone Cold Inn, made us a nice breakfast and packed us a lunch. We set off by 9:00, and followed the Dales Way path along the river to Barth Bridge. The Dales Way path along the River DeeThere was a wonderful fragrance in the air that I thought was camomile, or maybe Linden trees. Dentdale is a narrow valley, pastures on our left spreading up the hills, and to our right the river. Ahead loomed a dark fell, and the clouds were hovering, ready to pour down on us at any minute.dentdale_4

Just past Barth Bridge, we crossed over several stiles and found ourselves in a big field, spread with fresh manure. the River DeeWhat a stink! No other way but through it. The path disappeared in the muck, and when we got to the other side, no gate, no stile, no Dales Way sign. We doubled back, our boots sinking into the soft, ripe manure. Nasty stuff. In the middle of the field, we saw that we had missed where we were supposed to have turned. Saw a gate gate leading onto a narrow road. By then our boots, and the bottom of our trousers were totally disgusting.

We stayed on the metal road for a while, starting up a pretty steep hill, always on the lookout for the Dales Way sign. Saw a sign that said “Footpath,” and seemed consistent with my hand drawn map’s instructions to “leave lane at foot of hill, and head for picnic area with view.”064

The view was wonderful, looking out over the River Dee toward the Howgills to the north, half hidden in clouds.  We headed down a very steep grade through the trees, and came out on the green of a golf course where several golfers were intently doing their thing. We scuttled by, hoping they wouldn’t notice.

Crossed the bridge near Abbot Holme and spotted a Dales Way sign that led off the road and into the trees. Then things really got confusing. The Dales Way sign pointed toward Sedbergh, not Briggs Flatts, and somewhere nearby the River Rawthey met the River Dee, but where? We weren’t sure anymore. We followed a river, and eventually saw a sign for the Dales Way and a foot bridge leading across what might have been the River Rawthey. Once across, we came upon the sewage works, and in the parking lot, Silke spotted a sign for the Dales Way and Brigg Flatts. Eureka!Dales Way 084

Now we were in the woods, gloomy and foreboding.  A couple approached, and said they had just come from Brigg Flatts. Following their directions, we found a tarmac road, turned right and with some stopping, and starting, and indecision, we found the Quaker Meeting House at Brigg Flatts, built in 1677. Dales Way 086The front garden was lovely. We took off our boots in the entrance way, and went inside.  The Meeting for Worship room smelled just like our Meeting House at Old Haverford, musty and old. Our Meetinghouse at Old Haverford was built in 1688, not long after Brigg Flatts.  We ate lunch and watched a video about George Fox and the summer of  1652,  when he preached in this area and “convinced” many souls. This was definitely Quaker country. What a coincidence.It was about 1:00 when we left Brigg Flatts and it began to rain steadily. We put on our ponchos, over our backpacks, and retraced our steps down the country road, looking for a Dales Way sign pointing toward High Oaks.

A welcome Dales Way sign, and we passed through a kissing stile, off the road and into a meadow at last. A gate opened into someone’s barnyard. Dales Way 088Then up through the sheep pastures,  along the path to Lincoln Inn’s Bridge where we crossed the River Lune, our final river of the walk. Now we were in the Howgills.  076Up the steep hill we went, through heavy wet grass that clung to us, soaking through everything, but cleaning off our boots somewhat. Up and down the hills we went, relying on my little map, with its hand drawn land marks. At the top of the next hill, we saw a Dales Way sign. Down through pastures and up another hill, and two farm houses appeared. One had a child’s swing in the yard.  The other was white washed stone, with a barn on the left. Brameskew Farm, at last. 091The rain had stopped, but we were soaked through. James, our host met us at the door, told us to take off our boots, and hang up our soaking wet rain gear. Then he led us into the from parlor, where a nice fire was going. What a relief! We had survived, and our bags had arrived with our dry clothes. Thank you Sherpa Van.

 

 

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Day 5: From the Station Inn at Ribblehead to Dent

The Station Inn, where we spent the night, was built at the edge of a lonely country road. The Station Inn Pub SignI thought of drovers, hostelries, and post chaises stopping here at the end of a long day’s journey. I could imagine ladies in their dark Victorian traveling dresses. The young people we heard partying under our window were of the modern variety, and they seemed to be standing in the middle of the road. Who knows where they came from; no other house or building to be seen. They disappeared about 11:00 p.m., so we did get some sleep.

Breakfast was at 8:30. We left our bags to the fate of the Sherpa Van Co. and walked up the lane to Ribblehead Station.Dales Way 078 This was to be our day-off, a change of pace, starting with a ride on the Settle-Carlisle train over the viaduct we had seen yesterday, and through an impressively long tunnel that cut through the hills of Blea Moor. Dent Station, just ten minutes up the line, was known to be the highest main line station in England, which wasn’t saying much, at an altitude of about 1,100 feet.

We got off and followed several walkers onto Coal Road, leading down into the valley. Apparently the Coal Road served several small pits and mines in the area that supplied coal to Dent, which was our day’s destination. Down the steep hill we went, keeping a look out for the Dales Way sign. Dales Way 079 When we crossed the water shed yesterday, we left Yorkshire and entered Cumbria, and a new river system.  At the bottom of the hill was Lea Yeat, a small hamlet with a Quaker Meeting House just next to the River Dee. We had entered Quaker country.

On the other side of the bridge, we spotted the Dales Way sign. We stepped onto the path and found ourselves in lush undergrowth and fertile meadows beside the River Dee, in a narrow valley called Dentdale. Hills were not the problem in this section, but the walking was difficult, with twists and turns, bushes, and nettles, and dense undergrowth. Dales Way 080Sheep were in the pastures again, leaving their little gifts for us to avoid when possible. Sheep meant stiles to climb, and we encountered many small streams, slippery rocks, and bogs to maneuver over and through.

Our progress was slow. My little book of maps said that settlements along the River Dee dated back to the time of the Vikings. One reason for the early settlers along the river was easy access to fresh water, and fertile ground.

We reached Dent around 1:00, which looked like it hadn’t changed much in centuries, with its cluster of low, stone buildings and narrow, cobblestone streets. Dent Village  St. Andrews Church was built in the twelfth century of black marble, which was at one time the main export of the area. We ate lunch in a delightful café/restaurant, where we tried more of the flap jacks that Fiona had introduced us too. (They didn’t match Fiona’s.)

The weather had turned windy, and very chilly. We couldn’t get into our B&B, the Stone Close Tea Room until 4:00, so we wandering around the village, visited the village museum, where to my surprise, we learned that in the 1660’s George Fox had preached in Dent and a Quaker Meeting House had once stood on the main street.

By 4:00 we were really cold, and a little bored. We decided our day off hadn’t been necessary after all. We still had plenty of energy. 058Dianne, the hostess of the Stone Close Tea Room, welcomed us promptly at 4:00 and showed us our room, which was low-ceilinged, like the room at Bridge End Farm, but here we had a non-working stone fireplace, and two outside walls of stone. Silke christened the place, “the Stone Cold” Tea Room, and it was pretty cold. Luckily our bags had mysteriously arrived before us. I was beginning to think Sherpa was some kind of a gremlin. In any case we were glad to take a hot shower, and put on a couple of extra layers for dinner.

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