Day 8: Keld to Reeth

I saw more dead things today then the whole rest of my life combined! There must be something about the Yorkshire Dales that isn’t contusive to (mainly) small rodents having long lifespans. The Coast to Coast walk winds its way through the Swaledale valley, from one end in Keld to the end in Reeth.

Almost immediately, I faced the dilemma of whether to put on my waterproof trousers. This was a constant theme throughout the two weeks. I suppose, in theory, at the first sign of rain you should get the waterproofs out of the bag. But, they are a bit cumbersome and definitely less comfortable to wear. Plus, they make it impossible to get at any pockets in your actual trousers. So I tended to play it by ear, usually hoping that the rain would pass by quickly. Most of the time I got the call right, but if you misjudge it then you end up putting your waterproofs over already wet clothes – which is the worst outcome of all.

As on several days, there is a choice of “low” or “high” routes. I stuck to the low routes through the Lake District, but my intention for today was to stick to high ground. That lasted about an hour. I reached a section on a thin narrow track, sharply downhill, with a 100 feet drop no more than one foot to the right. It appeared as though the path got much more straightforward about this short section. But I assessed the consequences of a slip to be too great, especially in a remote location, and decided to drop down to the riverbank for a much easier walk.

The views were still spectacular. I loved the patchwork of fences, put up over the last couple of hundred years, to mark out farmer’s land. It gives the landscape so many different shade of green. Also, you get fantastic views of weather systems forming and then sweeping through the valley; leaving just as quickly as they arrived.

Reeth itself was a strange place – like someone has parachuted a few random buildings into the middle of a field. When I arrived, the pub I was staying in wasn’t open and so I had a quick look around – to be honest, that’s all I needed. The post office provides a good opportunity to stock up on supplied. Reeth has two pubs, which are perhaps strangely next door to each other. I thought it would be rude not to try them both – surely the easiest of all pub crawls. But, I have to say, the worst meal (and probably only bad meal I had on the whole trip) was in Kings Arms pub in Reeth. At least the beers were decent though!

Back to Day 7: Kirkby Stephen to Keld
Forward to Day 9: Reeth to Richmond