Day 7: Kirkby Stephen to Keld

Today marks the halfway point in the walk, but in terms of time but also in terms of geography. Today is the day that you cross the Pennines. In fact, that’s pretty much all you do today. Clumber up Nine Standards Rigg, and try not to get swallowed up by a peat bog on the way down to Keld.

This section of the walk certainly gets the most colourful descriptions in the guidebooks and online. Everyone seems to have a tale of someone being consumed up to their eyeballs by a bog. But more on that later.

Nine Standards Rigg is a cool place. There are nine large cairns on top, and no one really knows why anyone was bothered enough to put them there. Theories include that they were put there as a boundary marker. Or that they are meant to look like massed armies on the horizon to deter invaders. No one will ever know for sure.

After some photo opportunities with the stones and the trig point, it was time to make the journey down into Keld and to the start of the Yorkshire Dales. There are three different routes you can take, depending on the time of year, to help protect the peat bogs. My initial intention was to follow the summer path, but after a knne-deep experience with a bog right at the start, I decided to head to the all-weather winter path. This is rather less exciting, and does add several miles to the walk. But as least it was dry!

Overnight accommodation in a camping barn was also a first for me. Fortunately this didn’t involve actual camping, but rather a much more civilised version of a youth hostel. The most notable thing about the place I was staying, apart from the being in the middle of nowhere, was the waterfall in the back garden. Looking at properties around here on Right Move must throw up some interesting features.

After a lovely home cooked meal, I was able to retire to my room and wash my underwear. Yes, that’s right. On this walk I was trying out some new anti-chaffing sports pants. These are fantastic, by the way, but fairly pricey. I don’t had three pairs for the 13 days, and so at regular intervals had to hand wash them. I’m not going to lie, by the end of the trip they were starting to fail the smell test.

Back to Day 6: Shap to Kirkby Stephen
Forward to Day 8: Keld to Reeth