About Me

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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 9, 2007

Yorkshire Dales Walk

(Read December 2 and 5 posts for Parts 1 and 2 of this tale of two friends walking across Northern England.)

Day 2 Walk, Leaving Lake Windermere -- from our overnight lodging near Grasmere we followed the shoreline of Lake Windermere for much of the morning with rain threatening. By mid-morning Dave, our walk leader, called a tea break in the lakeside town of Ambleside. How long before the Wayfarers learned? This stop was the first of many tricks Dave would play on us. Any kind of treat like shopping, tea break or ice cream parlour stops meant that we would soon be huffing up a mountain or slogging through bogs and streams. Immediately after tea, Dave fulfilled his evil plan by leading us out of Ambleside and up the Cumbria Mountains in the rain.

When we crested the mountain we had our last views of Lake Windermere and walked on toward the village of Troutbeck. Just outside the village we stoppped at this little jewel of a church, Jesus Church Troutbeck, known for its beautiful stained glass windows. About this time we began seeing our first "free range" sheep which meant that we were getting closer to the Yorkshire Dales farmland. At Troutbeck Church I was amused to see sheep "trying out" the resting places in the church yard.

By mid-afternoon we stopped for our customary pub lunch at Mortal Man Pub in Troutbeck Village. The pub sign read: "O Mortal Man that lives by bread, What is it makes thy nose so red? Thou silly fool that look'st so pale, tis drinking Sally Birkett's ale." The Wayfarers enjoyed some of Sally Birkett's ale and a rest while looking out over the rolling farmland.

We end Day 2 of the walk in Crook on the eastern border of the Lake District.

Days 3 and 4 Walk, Yorkshire Dales--we are definitely in the countryside made famous by the Yorkshire Dales vet, James Herriot of All Creatures Great and Small fame. Walkers are permitted to pass through farmers' fields of grain or sheep pastureland. However, there are rules to follow. The last walker to go through a gate must be sure it's closed. If there's no gate, you climb over fences and the dry stone walls using stiles of all varieties--stone,wood,
ladder,kissing(a double style that ensures close encounters). Once in the field, walkers are expected to keep to the paths by the fence. And just in case you forgot, watch out for a multi-tasking border collie to warn you to mind your manners.

Sheep's Wool and Sore Feet--by Day 3 several of us were walking on feet that hurt despite all the blister remedies that Dave and Bill, our walk manager, had to offer. I no longer had Happy Feet.The combination of climbing up and down rocky hills and walking for long distances had turned my feet into a mass of blood blisters from heel to toe--up hill your heels got it, down the toes. At stops we lost interest in drinks and snacks, instead comparing the sad condition of our feet. That's when the sheep became important. As we walked across the sheep pasture, several of us started collecting wool to pad our boots the next day. It wasn't a cure for sore feet, but at least made walking another day more bearable.

At the end of Day 4 we had a wonderful surprise waiting. We followed the banks of the River Ure, tired and dispirited after a hard day of walking in the rain and wind. Dave kept building our anticipation that something good was going to happen. Boy, he delivered as always. We came off the river path near the town of Masham onto a vast parkland to find this castle at Swinton Park waiting for us! Our rooms were totally luxurious. In fact, someone from our group said that her bath was large enough to fit a small 3rd world county in it-not much of an overstatement. At any rate, it was just what we needed to restore body and spirit for the final push to the North Sea in the final two days of walking.



laurie said...

oooh i love the border collie!

KAN said...

I remember you took this trip but didn't fully appreciate the difficulties you must have encountered walking 85 miles. The pictures are beautiful.

KittyHawk said...

This is a super way to tell about your travels, but it still doesn't make me wish I had done all that walking. It's very impressive!

Bev said...

Very much enjoyed reading about your walk and takes you to another place, especially when we English are now in the depths of winter. Great pictures.

I like your ingenious invention for padding your shoes! I wonder if it has ever been done before.

Love the picture of the collie. They are always slinking about on these farms, keeping an eye out. Sometimes if we are out walking we are little wary about going through farm buildings. Encounters with collies are well described by James Herriot himself, I seem to remember...