This morning I left Carlisle with fresh legs after my rest day and wearing the new boots I'd bought while I was there. I kept the worn out pair and took them with me just in case the new boots rubbed badly.
All day would be spent walking along the A6 through the pleasant countryside of the Vale of Eden, which lies between The Lake District and The Northern Penines. You would expect the A6 to be a busy road, but it is only really used by locals, the nearby M6 taking nearly all the passing traffic. Most of the day I had footpaths to walk on, where there weren't any there were often well kept grass verges to use. Yet again I had the good fortune to be walking in very pleasant weather.
Penrith was the only big town I saw after leaving Carlisle, I stopped there for lunch after walking the first 18 miles of the day. Penrith was surprisingly busy, the traffic-free narrow lanes in the shopping area had great character and reminded me very much of a similar area in Brighton.
Soon after leaving Penrith, at Eamont Bridge, I came across a prehistoric earthwork called King Arthur's Round Table. It was quite a site and very well preserved, but it has nothing to do with the legendary king, pre-dating him by at least 2,500 years. There was more history to be seen soon after at Clifton. Clifton Moor was the site of the last battle on English soil in 1745 when the Duke of Cumberland's forces clashed with the retreating army of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Until today the only item in my backpack that had remained unused was the first aid kit. That particular run of good luck came to an end though when I managed to graze my wrist quite badly on the peeling paint of a stiff gate. Who'd have thought that it would be a part of my body other than my feet that would require the first medical attention of this journey (my wrist is fine now).
By the time I reached Shap, with my feet still feeling fine, I no longer felt it necessary to carry the old boots as an emergency backup. They were binned to lighten my load. That pair had done a great job for just £25, getting me through the whole of Scotland without a single blister. Fingers crossed for a similar performance from the new ones.
My plan today had been to stop at Shap for my evening meal, then walk a little further on and wild camp in the woods. But while I was in The Bulls Head Inn I discovered that passing backpackers can pitch their tents round the back. So tonight there will be another new experience for me; my first ever night spent in a pub beer garden.
GPS data click here
Mileage today; 28.62 miles, walking time 7 hrs 4 mins, average walking speed 4.0 mph
Weather; sunny spells, max 19C
Cumulative mileage; 441.25 miles
|The ancient earthworks at King Arthurs round Table|
|The Vale of Eden|
|Clifton Moor battle site|