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Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Across Cumbria day 8 Somewhere to Bowness on Solway

Monday 17 August 2009

I left wherever it was at about half seven. Nobody was up. I marched the lanes towards Wigton. A pig was enjoying her breakfast. Local beef cattle ran about daft in the fields. We all enjoyed ourselves.

After a few miles, I achieved Wigton and rang Brian. We made arrangements. I went into a café and asked for breakfast and tea. Six quid said the man. It was a very very big breakfast.

A few miles later, Brian appeared with a bottle of plonk and a sausage butty. I save most of the butty for later as I was still stuffed.

A few miles yet later and Brian turned up again with his girlfriend Gilda, who’s backdoor key I was presented with and told to help myself to tea and the use of the bath – which I did.

I plodded on through Kirkbride and past various nature reserves and bramble-lined lanes and finally into Bowness on Solway. A group of kids with sulky teachers and an aggressive dog scowled at my greeting. I visited the muddy beach and sat about for a bit amongst hadrians Wall walkers just starting or just finishing.

The King’s arms opened , so I let myself be embraced. After a beer and a couple of whiskies, Brian and Gilda turned up again and I had another paddle.

15 Miles today and 400 feet of uphill.

And that was that. Worra cracking walk. It would have been better with some summer weather. The high level version, carried out all the way, would have been superb. I’m going to have to have another go at it.

In total, the distance was 80 miles with around 15000 feet of uphill. The high level version would be about the same distance but with a lot more climbing.

The rules of the walk are these:

1) Start at Silecroft
2) Finish at Bowness on Solway
3) Walk all the way
4) There shall be no other rules. This is a rule.

And what of the dehydrated food? Once I’ve considered that, and on some rainy day in the near future, I’ll write something about it. But generally, I was impressed. I only ate either commercially available dehydrated or RME food or energy bars for dinner and breakfast and I suffered no ill-effects, windypops, nausea, or anything else. A banana came as a bit of a shock afterwards and much of it tasted failry similar to the rest.

But its OK. You can live on it for a while.

More of this later anyway.

Thanks to Brian for the encouraging noises and post-walk transport around Cumbria. And for the sausage butty.
Thanks also to Gilda for the tea , bath, pizza and instructions as to which café in Wigton to visit.
Thanks to Martin for the visit and the weather forecasts
Thanks to Genjii for the other meteorological stuff and the general interest
Thanks to Maggie for rescuing me from the Miners Arms in Nenthead
Thanks to Mike and Netty for the company and the Beach Boys Greatest Hits
Thanks to the secret location for letting me camp.
Last words – Backpacking types who’ve not tried this one before should seriously consider it. It’s a cracking walk. But take your time. This is no place to rush.


karl said...

Hooray you made it! well done, never doubted you, not for a minute.(well maybe for little minute when i saw the weather you were having) Well done again.
PS that bit between Green Crag and Harter Fell, not nice, easier to swim.

mike knipe said...

It is a particularly sloppy place, innit? Its more like a tarn with stuff growing on it. Some places were dangerously deep,and specially wobby and I'm used to bogs...

Alan Sloman said...

Ooh - I can see this one taking off Mike. What a grand plan. Only one week required as well...

It would be nice to have some good weather for it, but even in the shitty stuff there are pubs reasonably close by.

I am owed a bit of a holiday... and I wouldn't need a passport either.

mike knipe said...

Right up your street, Alan - quaking bogs AND public houses. What could be betterer.
I'm sure we could arrange some lightweight backup in certain strategic spots on whatever route you might choose.
All it needs is a bit of sunshine

Martin Rye said...

It would make a fine walk. The rain adds something to the adventure doesn't it :) You have treated us with all those postings in a day kind sir. You could done that over two weeks you know. Much appreciated.

mike knipe said...

Thanks Martin. Clearly, I have nowt much else to do!

Phreerunner said...

Wow Mike
I enjoyed this read. It was an excellent route that you chose, and it sounds as if you enjoyed it despite some unseasonable weather (though I seem to recall importing some Timperley weather for you on Thursday!).
I'm so glad that you finally made it to that hot bath you kept talking about. Was Kylie there to meet you? [I suspect not, or you'd maybe have been dreaming of a cold bath?]

mike knipe said...

Kylie only appears in dreams, Martin. I can never get that bra strap undone.
But the bath was fab, and so was the rest of the walk. One day (next June, I expect) I'll have another go at completing the high level crossing (HLC) of Cumbria (HLCC) and not the low level one (NTLLCOC...C dhuhhhhh)

David said...

Brilliant account of a great plan. Cheered me up no end. Sorry about the weather reports.

mike knipe said...

I was going to Hadrian's Wall today, but there's weather warnings out for Cumbria.
It'd better rain..or else.... grrrrr......
Off to Hamsterley Forest with the dogs instead...

ukmase said...

Hopefully we will be plodding into Bowness on Solway next Saturday to complete the Hadrians Wall.

mike knipe said...

I'm on Hadrian's Wall tommorrow - Housesteads to Banks...
Good luck with your walk. Look out for the pig that begs for bananas at Bowness on Solway. (Clue: Its in the pub - ask the landlord....)