Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day 1: Real Start

Today’s Walk: St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge

Stayed at Stone House Farm: Rating – Very Good

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After the tiring walk followed by a wonderful sleep I was eagerly looking forward towards Day 1. Most places in the UK, where you stay, provide you with a big breakfast, typically what is called an English breakfast (also nicknamed Cholesterol on a plate) consisting of sausage, toast, bacon, eggs, beans (all with lots and lots of oil). There will also be fruits salad, cereals and yoghurt. Once you have it, you will need a few hours to recover before you can even move. So I skipped the English Breakfast that and just had some toast and coffee.

The stay at Stone House Farm was very good. They had all the facilities including an option to cook (none of which I used). This place is very next to the St. Bees station and thus wasn’t difficult to get the luggage to the place of accommodation. I would recommend this place to anyone who wants to stay at St. Bees. A couple of pubs and hotels are also very next to this place.

And now on to the walk. After retracing last days route back to the Village, I joined back the Coast to Coast trail.

Few steps later and has happened previously to me, the footpath disappears - but a board saying footpath is still there!
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However the maps in the book I am following (by Terry Marsh) is excellent (though the markers on the path are not). The one below, written on a card board was facing the wrong direction and I realized it only after a few 100 metres.

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The Terry Marsh book clearly shows all the landmarks and directions and has some high resolution maps which came in handy for me to find the right direction.

Around me everything looks picture perfect – I am in the middle of a a huge farm land with lots and lots of lambs and cows grazing with no worries and ignoring me totally (though this will not be the case in the coming days).

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There is also railway line that goes across this field which I have to cross before I walk further. Here I hit my first snag. The map in the book and the real world doesn’t seem to match. There is no way to cross the line at the gate as it is locked. Am I supposed to jump over the gate? Or is there a way to open the gate?

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With no one around for miles and now I realize decision making throughout this walk is going to be a tough task! Instead of jumping the gate, finally I decided that I will go a kilometre further away from my planned path, and cross the line through what looked liked a rarely used underpass. I am now half an hour behind schedule - not that I have anything urgent to do at Ennerdale Bridge.

On to Moor row, Cleator Moor and then on to Dent Fell.

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Dent Fell became the first physically tiring part of the walk. It is a reasonably tall hill with a climb of reasonable inclination. As all my practices in Singapore was about climbing Bukit Timah, a hill that is 150 metres tall, Dent came in as a big shock. I had to really struggle to get on top of Dent (I had no clue it was many of such hills/mountains to come).

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The descent from Dent posed another major challenge. With no laid out routes and with a very steep slope, simply put - it was frightening. One wrong step or one slip I will be going down a few hundred metres. This is not what I wanted to do.

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Once Dent is covered, and after a long walk besides a stream it is the climb down to Ennerdale bridge.

And then at Ennerdale bridge, a pint of Ale is waiting at the Fox and Hounds, the pub where I would be staying.

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After walking the first day alone, I was happy to meet a couple of fellow walkers – Peter and Garry – who will be with me for a few more days…

NB: This posting is a few days late – three reasons

  1. WiFi is patchy and non-existent in some places
  2. The walk took too long and I managed to reached my place of accommodation only after 6:00 PM (against my planned 4:00 PM)
  3. I was too tired!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The best way to travel should be by foot. Lovely photos and infor.

Robert said...

Good show! Am enjoying your tour of places I've never visited in my home country. Looks like the weather's holding up too!

Sreejith said...

Lovely photos Manoj, please post somemore. Enjoy the walk!

Couple of olf verifoners are inspires and are planning on something similar during dec shutdown!

Nature Lovers said...

Nice content !!
Admire the beauty of nature and fall in love with it
http://www.incrediblenaturalbeauty.blogspot.com/

Manila Girl said...

You have such an inspiring blog! The pictures are so vivid and beautiful. Now I want to start walking long distances too. Keep it up!