Exhaustion, the mind and bodies are going……but where?.

Post 16: The rain eased off and we made good progress along Dentdale. Suddenly the path deteriorated as it does when you know you have gone wrong. We had been counting the number of bridges, but somehow had managed to miss-count, with the result we had passed Rash Bridge, which we should have crossed. Clearly exhaustion was creeping in as we could no longer count to three. This was an opportunity for Gary to get his own back as he lashed into me about my incompetent map reading. I retorted that it was his fault as he should have been counting the bridges more accurately. Fortunately, another bridge further along was evident on the map so that after going through undergrowth, which seemed like the Borneo jungle, we eventually managed to cross it. This couldn’t have involved more than a few hundred yards deviation, but Gary was adamant we had done at least another five miles.

We passed through Sedbergh, but didn’t have time to explore its fine charms. In order to make up time we pushed on to Lincoln’s Inn Bridge, then along the River Lune where we stopped for lunch. We had done over 15 miles and it was only just lunch-time. Whose daft mileage programme was this? Eccles cakes restored my lost energy and we were soon on our way again. We reached the Crook of Lune Bridge three and a half miles further on but, whereas its lovely high curved arch would normally be a joy to behold, it just added to our aching muscles. However, we were making progress as we had just left the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Our bed and breakfast for the night was off the Dales Way at Grayrigg; the last section of road walking felt like walking on hot coals as our feet burnt with the foot pounding. On arrival, we had a warm welcome, then, after a shower, a wonderful three-course meal, sufficient to feed an army of walkers. After stuffing myself until I could have burst, I sat tired but content in front of a warm fire.

‘I’m cold,’ Gary said, sitting on top of the fire so that the wool on his pullover started to singe.

‘Don’t be daft, it’s really warm in here,’ I replied, glowing from the effects of the huge meal and the fresh air of the last few days.

‘No I’m freezing,’ Gary said, his teeth chattering.

‘Well put another jumper on.’

‘I haven’t brought one.’

‘Okay, okay, have this,’ I moaned, giving him my high-tech ‘top’ that can even keep you warm in the Antarctic. As Gary continued to shiver I said, ‘you must be ill, better get to bed.’

It wasn’t until about 3.00am in the morning that I found out how ill he was as I heard this wrenching noise; I thought I was having a nightmare.

‘Oooooh… I feel ill,’ Gary groaned. Unfortunately you can never find a sick bucket when you want one, but Gary just managed to stagger to the toilet to deposit his three-course meal. My only relief was that there was no pub within miles of the place so that the landlady wouldn’t think we were drunken fools. Fools yes, but not drunken fools.

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