It's probably with some relief for you that I announce at the start of this thread that it's my final words on the subject of Lucky and Me's Coast to Coast walk.
This is about other people; people I came across on the way. Some, most, good, a few dozy, nobody bad, really...
First, a word about other walkers.
|Other CtoC-ers near Littlebeck|
It happens on almost all long distance multi-day walks that you keep coming across the same people, one day after another. You soon get to recognise their approach by their kit and their company and a comment, a joke, a bit of banter, bordering on camaraderie develops day by day. I met parties of Americans and Australians and people with dogs - there was a black lab, for instance who kept turning up with her owner, and a collie dog. There is no class distinction, we're all in this together (who said that...?) But it's not entirely true. I met Dave, from Stoke, for instance who, like me, had a big pack and was camping - in fact, our itineraries coincided closely between Borrowdale and the finish. It took me a while to remember his name (I have a problem remembering names) - which is why I can't remember the other lad who had a slight Edinburgh accent and usually arrived just after me and Dave had put our tents up. What glued us together was that we weren't using a luggage-carrying service or other support which most of the walkers were doing. So , despite our friendliness to these lesser beings, there was a certain sense of superiority. I guess it may have worked the other way too, - courier service users may well have doubted the wisdom of carrying such big packs when it wasn't necessary at all....
|Outward Bound putting their tents up next to mine|
Then there were other walkers on other missions.
Take the Howtown Outward Bound peeps, for instance. Me and Dave had erected our tabernacles widely apart - a bit more than 100 metres, I would suggest, when half a dozen chaps turned up. Relations were friendly at first and we jokingly suggested that they find their own patch of Angletarnside over on "The Island" They weren't allowed to do that announced the Rupert in charge. They had to camp where instructed, which just happened to be next to my akto. In wasn't happy, but put up with the increasing amount of noise and their failure to get a tent up in the space of an hour or collect any water or have a wee, or anything. Then another half dozen arrived, along with a blind lad. And so the process of swamping the akto with little brown tents began. I wasn't happy. Rupert's boss came over to where I was ranting at Dave and said "I understand you're not happy" And, readers, it was at this point where I had to explain to Leaderess that this statement was indeed, very true. They decided to move. Luckily, representatives of the local mental health emergency on-call team, aware of this urgent development, and leaping into action, went shopping in Penrith (This is what NHS mental health teams do in emergencies)
|Outward Bound new camp - apols for the tilt - they sell scotch in Patterdale y'know...|
Next, I met a Geordie with a poodle on High Raise. The poodle hated Lucky and Lucky wanted to kill the poodle. The thing was that the poodle had a backpack just like Lucky's. And the Geordie was just as scruffy as me and was off on a few days backpacking. We had a long, long North-Eastern-style chat and then, still strangers, but somehow connected, we parted in a marginally happier mood than before. Except for the dogs who still wanted to fight.
|No need for this - loadsa room on the site|
And it seems to me that the farmers I met were general tuned-in to coast-to coasters. Some were making some money from it by selling refreshments and so on - and some were doing it in some style - specially Ravenseat who do cream teas, Rukins at Keld, and Intake Farm whereas on the other hand, a couple of the campsites didn't exude friendliness. My impression of Cote Ghyll was of misdirected snootiness where a camping and caravan-site attempts, a bit pathetically, to be posher than it really is, even though its infested with rabbits crapping everywhere and teasing my dog and eeejits who put their tent up too close to mine. And there was that unfortunate incident at Middlewood at RHB involving their refreshment van.
|I don't have a pic of the tea-van!|
We'd dined there the night before - I'd had some Thai fishcakes and chips - an ideal accompaniment to a gut full of beer, and Dawn had some protein/fat/lard in a bun thing and in the morning whilst off to seek a bus to Whitby, I decided that a breakfast bun at £3.50 would be Just The Thing. And I could use their bin to dispose of the container from the Thai Fishcake thing. I was attempting to get the bin lid off when a dark and mysterious face appeared saying "Don't put that in there, there's a skip down there"...pointing vaguely towards Middlesbrough. The boss-lady said it was all right to put the stuff in the bin, but our minimum-wage Saturday-morning job friend glowered darkly in a murderously, seething fashion that, had this been a restaurant, would have had customers walking out. He seemed to be almost growling and he was certainly snarling in a way I'd only seen previously on this walk by a Geordie poodle carrying a set of Ruffwear panniers.. Even Lucky picked up the vibes and raised a hackle or two. So I walked away, dragging Dawn with me. The breakfast bun is still being fried as far as I'm aware. I feel marginally guilty about this and should the owner of this franchise contact me, I would gladly submit to her the sum of £3.50. I will increase this to a full fiver if she gets rid of Heathcliffe and sends him back to the job centre,. He's really not cut out for customer service. He'd be better off working in a benefits office dishing out sanctions to people who missed their bus. Or he could do wheel clamping. Or slaughterhouse work. I'm trying to be helpful here.
But most of the pubs and cafe's "get it" and special mentions must go to the village store in Patterdale, The Crown at Shap, Rukins at Keld, The KIng's Arms at Reeth (bless 'em)whatever café it was at Richmond (!), The Lion at Blakey, Falling Foss Tea Gardens, and, specially Intake Farm at Littlebeck. There's probably lots of other good places, but they just didn't feature on my walk.
Well, that's about it for the CtoC. In the morning I'm off to High Cup Nick to reccy a guided walk.
But finally, I must add some thanks to Dawn and Andrew and Little Brenda for their donations on the virgin giving site. It all adds up. I'm ever grateful.