10 Jun Kidsty – and anywhere but Shap
Day 5 is the last day in the Lakes, with the highest point on the whole journey, Kidsty Pike, the final frontier between the Lake District and the gentler landscape of the Eden and Lune Valleys. It’s another hard day: a steep trail for several miles to reach Kidsty and a bone-shaking, knee-crunching downhill from its rocky summit. For views this is perhaps the best of days. And the rain cleared away so we got some sun, some relief from the elements, a tiny hint of summer. From high up on the trail you look back towards the Lakeland peaks. Year after year, there they are like massive, slumbering beasts from some forgotten geological time.
Our destination was the Crown and Mitre pub in the tiny village of Bampton Grange. It’s just off the C2C route a few miles short of Shap but meets the ‘Anywhere but Shap’ rule introduced after the experience of our previous C2Cs, memorably last year’s Crusader caravan episode! Shap does not thrill; it’s a depressing, dowdy sort of place. Bampton Grange is pretty with its stone cottages and colourful gardens looking their best in the early evening sun. We rolled up tired but hopeful. But the Crown and Mitre did not delight. A local inn facing hard times and searching for a way to survive. Refresher training on customer service skills would be a place to start; firing up the central heating on a cold evening would be a nice touch too; and a discount when the kitchen decides to shut early with little warning. Ah well, at least the duvet was warm and the sleep long. We seem to be tucked up around 9 pm, tired from the effort of the day. Not for us the beer-filled evenings swopping stories of astonishing hiking feats or new trends in Gore-tex. We all need a good 10 hours sleep to recover and face the next day’s challenge!
61 miles walked. Just 135 to go. Tougher than we remember.