Despite my good resolutions to keep up with the blogs, the last few days have either been too exhausting (for a variety of reasons, some walk-related and some child-related) or I have not had sufficient internet access to make entries. I’m finding that in some ways time seems to be speeding up – now that I am approaching the halfway mark, and we are heading into what I am privately referring to as ‘the proper North’, it’s all too easy to anticipate the next stage of the walk rather than enjoying the present stage. I’ll do my best to catch up in the next few days, as the stages are going to have to be relatively short, but may have to add pictures later.
I began the day by reading the weather forecast (nowt but blistering sunshine) and deciding to lighten my pack by leaving my waterproof jacket in the car. I then headed off from Derwent Water, accompanied for a little way round the reservoir by Arran and the kids (Rowan has decided she likes my camelpack and keeps begging for water from it). They turned back and I carried on, up to Howden Dam, then up into the hills and over Howden Edge. It quickly felt very remote, with nothing in all directions but brown and purple moorland, and there was no sound but my boots. I met one group of DofE students nervously consulting their map, but they were too worried to respond to my greeting.
Everything was going swimmingly, until (of course) within about 30 minutes black clouds piled up, a strong wind started blowing and then the heavens opened. Proper rain, the kind that goes in your ears and down the back of your neck and is really cold and wet. Foolish, foolish woman. Almost the first thing anyone learns about hillwalking is that the weather on the top of the moors can be ‘changeable’ (for non-UK readers, that means it will wait until you are miles away from shelter and then chuck it down), and that you should ALWAYS carry a waterproof. So that’s me (re)taught. On the other hand, I was very very glad I was wearing my new technical clothing (tshirt and long sleeved top) as I didn’t feel cold at any point and dried out within about 5 minutes after the rain stopped, so it could have been a much more miserable afternoon.
After my soaking and a fair bit of up-and-down, I was glad to make it into Holme. Holme has a nice-looking pub but it is unfortunately shut on Mondays; the whole village was however festooned in leftover Tour de France bunting (shaped like little jerseys) and looked very festive.
As I hiked up the street, I said a cheery ‘hello’ to three elderly people waiting for the bus, who just gaped at me. It wasn’t until I got into the car that I realised that their expressions weren’t due to traditional Yorkshire reserve, but because my hair was standing up in Keith-from-Prodigy style spikes all over my head, giving me the look of a crazed hedgehog. Ah well.
Highlights: sparkly sunlight on the reservoir; a rush of pleasure at the loneliness of Howden Edge; joking on the way down with a cyclist mending his puncture about hares and tortoises; wind making my eyes tear up; navigating successfully without waymarkers across a stretch of moor.