Please note this will be the last post for 2-4 weeks as I will be on Grandparent duties during February. The diaries will resume towards the end of February/early March, after my second grandson is born.
5 April 1991: Day 8 – Keld Youth Hostel to Grinton Lodge Youth Hostel – 13 miles
Keld is at the crossroads of the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast. After a muddy lane to a footbridge East Gill Force is reached. Swaledale and the waterfall are most dramatically viewed in the depths of Winter and therefore I have included in this section photographs taken at the beginning of December 2008.
We left Keld Youth Hostel at 10.15am in light rain, somewhat late due the extensive foot repairs Archie had to do. He had about twenty blisters to attend to, as well as a swollen shin. The diagnosis was that his relatively new boots were to blame and it was hoped that by loosening them some of the problems would be rectified. It was either that or amputation and the latter seemed a bit extreme, especially as we had a relative short day. In order to try and ease Archie’s suffering, we decided to follow the low-level route along the River Swale. One of the characteristics of Archie was that he never complained about his aches and pains and, unless asked, wouldn’t reveal that he was in pain.
The delightful village of Muker was soon reached. The name is Norse in origin meaning ‘the narrow newly cultivated field’. In early June the hay meadows hereabouts are a delight.
Arriving at Gunnerside, we spotted a long line of rucksacks outside the pub and decided the Black Country Stompers must be inside. This assumption was correct and we joined them to find them again disputing which route they should have taken. The super-fit were wishing they had taken the high-level route, while the rest were content to keep to the low-level route. The super-fit were capable of walking 100 miles in twenty-four hours, which is impressive. At least that’s what they told us, or was that the walker’s tale equivalent of a fisherman’s tale? We did not delay our stay at the pub as I had promised Archie we would have a cream tea at the ‘Barn’ in Swaledale’s ‘capital’, Reeth. The scenery between Gunnerside and Reeth, with the intricate drystone field walls and field or laithe barns, was stunning.
Unfortunately, when we arrived at Reeth the ‘Barn’ was closed and we settled for an ice-cream in the large square.
Just as we were leaving Clint came to the window of a pub but, on trying to enter, we found that the pub was closed and the door was locked. No wonder he looked so pleased, locked inside a pub. He had already told us that he had decided not to walk the extra 1½ uphill miles to Grinton Lodge Youth Hostel; he had found his lodgings for the night.
It is sod’s law that the youth hostel will always be miles from anywhere and at the top of an unrelenting hill; Grinton Lodge fitted this description. Archie’s leg was in bad shape at the start of the day’s walk and this hill was the last thing he needed. The hostel is a former shooting lodge and had we been able to find a gun I would have shot Archie there and then to put him out of his misery.