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Day 11 – Pennine Way – Tan Hill Inn to Clove Lodge Farm, Baldersdale

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Last night we retired to bed with the wind and rain lashing against our window. Nothing could be seen outside through the eerily gloomy foggy murkiness and we hoped for better conditions in the morning.

Morning came but the weather hadn’t changed after we’d slightly overslept. A hearty full breakfast was despached greedily in the hope it would prepare us for the journey ahead.

Full waterproofs were donned for the fourth consecutive day, the lambs were dodged in the bar as we set off on our tenth walking day that would see us over the halfway stage.

Having failed to connect with a razor for a few days the intrepid hairy hikers got their first taste of the wilder North Pennines as we left behind the Yorkshire Dales.

Into driving rain, hill fog and wind we set off for Baldersdale on a remote, soggy and isolated trek across Sleightholme Moor.

There was little to be enjoyed on todays march and the theme was to get the job done! Hill fog prevented any chance of enjoying the views and meant navigation required close attention.

The going was sodden, all the water-courses that only a few days ago were dry had now become raging torrents. Harv was quietly biting his lip and seemed to be struggling somewhat today. Later I found he’d developed more blisters, one about the size of a 10p and his knee was also giving him problems. My knee was also painful but nothing I couldn’t cope with for the time being.

We crossed the River Greta via Gods Bridge and crossroad the A66 via a subway. Careful navigation across the next few miles of empty heather and sodden grasses found us at our remote stopover place for the evening – Clove Lodge Farm.

Our b&b accommodation comprised bedroom, kitchen, dining room, sitting room with log fire and a bathroom – definite recommend and worthy of a longer stay if visiting the area.

As I write Harv is getting some shut eye as I eagerly await dinner that’s being prepared for us by our hosts………

Total trail miles – 137

By Paul Courtney.

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Day 10 – Pennine Way – Hawes to Tan Hill Inn – Highest Highs

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After a welcome rest day in Hawes and lovely hospitality from everyone at the Old Board Inn – a definite recommend for a stopover in Hawes – it was back on The Way again.

New walking trainers on board were tested with a wet start in full wet gear and were to be tested all day.

The long drag out of Hawes, passed Hardraw and up to Great Shunner Fell was made with fleeting showers, summiting the highest point on route so far in good time in cloud but with dry feet!

The descent to Thwaite via a flagged path and drovers road was wet and swift.

With good time made a pleasant stop was made at Keartons for tea and biscuits just as the heavens opened with the heaviest shower of the day arrived – perfect timing!

After the rain subsided the trek continued on a wonderful traverse over to Keld with stunning views down the valley.

Keld was to be our original stop however with the predicted poor weather forecast it was a wise decision to transfer from camping at Keld to a warm room at the Tan Hill Inn – the highest pub in Great Britain at 1732ft – a further 4 miles along the Way.

Continuing in consistent rain the Tan Hill Inn was welcome respite after our highest one day mileage clocked in with 17 miles – a day of highest highs – and dry feet!

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Day 9 – Pennine Way – Hawes – Rest Day, Well Earned!!!

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It seemed strange this morning to break with the usual routine of fuelling up walkers style.

Filling of water bottles, filling rucksack with snack bars, fruit or anything else that could be had from the breakfast offering.

A full english breakfast felt a real treat with lashings of toast and cups of tea.

Conditions outside weren’t condusive to walking anyway so a trip to the kit shop Cunninghams was in order.

Harv tried out every lightweight walking shoe in the shoe more than once under the knowledgeable guidance of sherpa Ian who had joined us along with Harv’s parents and daughters.

New shoes were purchased and I bought a map case to replace my other one that had began to expire.

The girls were becoming restless so we had lunch before taking them to see Gromit and Shaun the Sheep at the Wensleydale creamery. There’s a museum and you can see the cheese being made but I opted for sampling in the shop where you can buy a multitude of different flavoured cheeses – yummy!

A sit in the sun and cooler before we were left alone once more. Laundry was sorted and accomadation for the next two days was changed from camping to b&b’s because the forecast for the following week has been given out rather wet.

A rather good fish & chip shop was recommended so it was rather difficult to miss the opportunity and they were delicious.

Hopefully good preparation for our extended 18 mile walking day tomorrow because of our change of stay tomorrow evening although fortuitously at the Tan Hill Inn.

Our restful day continued into the evening with a relaxing pint of Black Sheep before adjourning for the day at the Old Board Inn which we can recommend in terms of comfort, dining and hospitality.

By Paul Courtney.

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