- Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Coast to Coast Dogs
It was decided. In July 2003 my good friend Sally and I paid the fees and made travel plans for the most physically and mentally challenging adventure either of us had ever attempted. We were going to walk 85 miles coast to coast across northern England from the Irish to North Seas. We would walk through three national parks: Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, and North Yorkshire Moors. It would take six days of walking, averaging 12-15 miles per day, to complete the route through hills, dales, and moorlands made famous by the likes of Wordsworth, James Herriot, and the Bronte sisters.
Joining Up--the wayfarers flew from Philadelphia to Manchester, England. From the Manchester airport we bumbled our way to the BritRail station and completed a tag team effort to find our train stop--and figure out the right side of the station to be on to travel to Windermere where we would meet up with our walking group. We were delighted with this little comfort center for dogs at the rail station. It reads: "This facility is for use by our four legged friends. Please quench your thirst with our best wishes. Virgin Trans" A big downside to travel is that you miss your animals so much. Sally and I both left several much loved dogs at home. From a previous trip to England, I figured our chances of meeting some dogs along our walking path would be pretty good since it seemed that the English love dogs and cats a lot. From coast to coast we were successful--look for the "Dog a Day" photos throughout this tale.
Newby Bridge and Windermere--we had a day to recuperate at the Swan Hotel in Newby Bridge, within walking distance of the Irish Sea,the starting point of our trip. On arrival, we explored the village and hotel grounds to get our internal clocks adjusted to local time. And voila! We meet our first Dog a Day. Sam, the Staffordshire terrier, lived with his owner on a boat tied up on the waterway running in front of the Swan Hotel. Now tell me, is this a face to fear?"
On our second day at Newby Bridge we explored Bowness-on-Windermere lovely small town on Lake Windermere that catered to tourists,including hikers because this area was the start of several walks around the Lake District and beyond. We had a great day wandering through all the shops and looking for arts and crafts of the region. And of course we had to stop in one of the outside cafes for tea and scones with cream and strawberries. While we sat there people watching, we spotted this fellow patiently waiting outside the OXFAM for his owner to finish shopping.
After a leisurely day in Windermere we finally meet our Wayfarer Tour Leaders Dave, Bill, and Alan and the ten other people on the tour at a Welcome Dinner and Introduction back in Newby Bridge. We came from all over the U.S. and France for this challenge. We would not be strangers for long because we would be partners in keeping up with our leaders as we covered the 85 miles to our goal--the North Sea. Early the next day we would begin our walk with a ceremonial dipping of our boots in the Irish Sea. . .
Part 2--Newby Bridge to East Witton posted on 12-5-07