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!!!!

What our guests thought of us

  • "I arrived colder than an Eskimo's nose and wetter than an otter's pocket; never was a welcome felt so warm."


  • "A haven after a very trying day. Fantastic welcome, fantastic place. I will be back"


  • "Nick & Rachel made me feel so welcome for my prolonged stay here. There enthusiasm and interest in visitors, walking in the fells etc are infectious. This has been a super stay in a lovely home - thank you so much and I look forward to staying again next year.

    Philip J

  • "Really wonderful! Thank you for the lovely welcome and hospitality. Amazing Sunday roast, lots of laughs! Great night's sleep (and afternoon) & the footspa was just heaven!"

    Cath & Jeff, Manchester.

  • "This is just lovely. Thanks Nick and Rachel for your kind hospitality, lovely tucker and for sharing this fascinating abode."

    Alex & Cath, Canberra, Australia.

  • "2nd stay in a week. Wonderful hospitality - fantastic dinner - thank you both so much."

    Nick & Kathryn

  • "Hiking Coast to Coast - arrived after a long day on trail due to losing our way! Great hot shower and dinner! Fantastic room and bed. Thanks to our Host & Hostess - GREAT INN, we will return.

    Mike & Christina, Orlando, FL USA.

  • “Wonderful stop, good company & facilities. Pity only one night”

    The Hill family


    Wally and Sue

  • “A perfect last night to our holiday!"

    Chris & Jude

  • “Thanks for a super stay – especially the kippers!”

    Harry and Pat, Tuscon AZ

  • “This is the loveliest spot we’ve found on the Coast to Coast walk, thank you so much for your outstanding hospitality”

    The Copleys, California

  • Best overnight stay on the C to C. Great house, food and very friendly

    Steve & Jane
  • Nothing like this in Australia. Fantastic!

    Dan & Robyn
  • 6 Stars. This place is heaven. Thank you so much.

    Nicky & Karen
  • Just what a perfect guest house should be, we'll be back!

  • Fantastic comfortable room and a wonderful breakfast. Thank you.

  • Fantastic, definitely lived up to recommendations and reputation!

    Ian & Lindy, Australia
  • Stylish and beautiful, excellent breakfast and coffee! Many thanks.

    Julie, USA
  • 2 stops here on the C2C - how lucky we are. Fully revived for the next stage. Thankyou so much.

    Ros & Gordon
  • Great stay - best stopover by far. Many thanks .

    Bill, Canada
  • Fantastic Place! Our favourite on the C2C. Thank you.

    Foster & pam, USA
  • So warm, welcoming & helpful. A lovely home Rachel & Nick!!

    Ian, Australia
  • What a lovely warm welcome, hidden gem, fantastic B&B. Loved it and fabulous porridge.

    Linda & Rick
  • I Just knew I'd be back!!. Lovely night, breakfast just sets up a body brilliantly. Many thanks.

  • We had a great relaxing evening in your cosy house. Thank you very much.

    Silvia & Willy, Germany
  • My second visit in 2 years and as always a fantastic stay. Thank you very much andhope to be back in 2017.

  • Once again a wonderful stay - great hosts! 
    Thank you

    Gill & Andrew
  • Lovely house, thank you for a great stay, taking care of our hiking gear, superb breakfast.
    A wonderful rest.

    Annabel & Sandy
  • Wonderful welcome & hospitality. Home comforts and a glorious location.

    Trevor & Lorraine
  • 10/10 in every aspect, fantastic food, surroundings and food.
    A defintie return is planned.

    Alan & Dawn
  • A wonderful welcome and great advice for walkers.

  • So nice to return here and spend a little longer. Thank you Rachel & Nick for your kindness. The advice on walks, maps and leaflets were much appreciated. 
    Best wishes to you both...and Dylan.

    Lynn & John, Australia.
  • Now we've found you we will be back. A beautiful B&B and wondrous hospitality.

    Helen & Guy.

Exploring North Pennines


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