Shap – Kirkby Stephen


Distance: 21 miles Time: 7 1/2 hours Woke up ready and raring to go for our last day of walking, half of which we know quite well. Leapt out of bed as much as we could and skipped over to the window to assess the weather. Not really sure why I bothered, it was raining. Breakfast done, we got ready and Landlady brought out our boots which were unfortunately were still wet. oh well, the boy scout in me had packed spare insoles just in case. Managed to find our way out of Shap and crossed over the M6 and can only imagine that the motorists below us must have felt a little smug in their nice warm dry cars. Pah! you can keep your motor vehicles, all we need today is Shanks’ Pony and squirrel biscuits (not made from real squirrels) We would like to tell you more about this section but the rain was so hard that it was a case of head down and crack on. By the time we crossed the old Roman road on the way to Robin Hood’s grave the weather had perked up a little so we had some fine views across Orton Scar to the Howgills beyond. We didn’t take the diversion via Orton but if you have time/ energy it is well worth the visit. We saw a hare just here and we were very envious of the spring in his hop. If I had a gun I would have shot him for being so smug!!! Rain again past Sunbiggin Tarn, Ravenstonedale Moor to Smardale, the good thing about the rain is it meant you could give up on the idea about trying to keep your boots dry and can splash about like Gene Kelly. Smardale Gill is one of our favourite spots and the wonderful viaduct is just out of reach today but it’ll be there for us for many other visits. It can feel like a bit of a slog from the bridge to the top of Smardale Fell but at least we knew it was all downhill from there. The sun came out and we could just pick out the Nine Standards in the distance and a little further on the view of the church tower meaning we were nearly there. Rachel made us walk past two bulls today. Nick hates bulls but was very brave (if you consider screaming and whining like a 4 year old brave) Recovery Day my Eye!!!!