Shap – and its glories

Shap – and its glories

Sitting in the Crown Inn in Shap at the end of Day 5 having a taste of Cumbrian life! It’s a real ‘boozer’ filled with locals out for a few on a Saturday night. Two widescreen TVs blare from either corner, one showing football, the other motor racing, and there’s music playing too, all competing with the cacophony of conversation and cackling laughter. You can barely hear yourself breathe let alone think, but maybe in Shap that’s just as well!

We should have been staying in the sumptuous comfort of the Greyhound Hotel but we discovered last night, as we embarked on a Spicy Beanburger with Chips followed by Sponge and Custard at the Patterdale YHA and conversed with the delightful Canadian sisters (Selma and Amina), that we were, all four of us, suddenly bed-less on a bank holiday Saturday thanks to the untimely demise of the Greyhound Hotel in Shap.  It closed two days ago, out of business, just like that!

So, it’s been an eventful day of 16 very, very strenuous miles about which more tomorrow when I might be able to think straight. There’s been a lot to ‘manage’ what with cold water washing, dashed expectations of a hot bath, another kingsize with soft cotton sheets and a good hot meal! We managed the hot meal but ‘good’ would be a stretch. We are now ensconced in a caravan at the side of the Crown Inn with no heating or running water whilst Selma and Amina have the utter luxury of a ‘pod’, basically a tiny metal tent with a bed in it right beside us. We’re sharing plugs and a kettle and getting to know each other unfashionably fast. But these were the last beds in Shap so we are very grateful to the Crown Inn despite its shortcomings and we’re very tired.

More, lots more tomorrow…..