There are a few days on the Coast to Coast walk where you are merely walking the gaps between one national park and another. These tended to be slightly duller days, but not without highlight. Also, the days between the parks tend to be the longest walks – this stretch clocking in at over 20 miles.
The first thing on today’s walk was crossing the West Coast Mainline. It just feels like progress, just like crossing the Pennines or crossing the East Coast Mainline – something I’d do in a about a week’s time. This is immediately outside Shap, and soon after this I also managed to step into a bog – really need to work on not doing that – and I ended up with a soggy boot and sock. I had learned my lesson though, and immediately sat down and changed my socks and let my boot dry out a bit.
The landscape and the sounds changed significantly today. I had gotten used to seeing the fells and hearing the sounds of the waterfalls. Instead, today was lots of stone, gorse bushes and moorland. Most striking of all, everything seemed so flat! I say seemed flat because today actually had over 3,000 feet of ascent, but this was more over gentle undulating ground rather than slogging up hills.
You are constantly reminded of the kindness of others on the Coast to Coast. In the village of Orton, some lovely person had set up tables and chairs for walkers, and also a lovely summer house that offered shelter. There were lots of goodies and drinks available too, all on an honesty basis. Lovely gesture, and one I’d see repeated multiple times over this couple of weeks.
Kirkby Stephen is the first proper town on the Coast to Coast walk, and so it offers an opportunity to stock up on supplies and get decent mobile phone signal for the first time in a while. It also has two fish and chip shops! It even has a train station! My room also had a bath in, and so I was able to soak my weary muscles after a long day’s walk.