This morning I peeped out of the window to a lovely sunrise, and saw the farmer dashing about on his quad bike with his two collie dogs following. They were in and out of the fields with food for the sheep, who came running when they caught sight of him. In one field the dogs had to round the sheep up and herd them towards their breakfast because they hadn't noticed where he put it. When that job had been done he went into the chicken field and let them out of their house, and dropped food for them as well. Two dozen chickens rushed out of the little door and started pecking the ground.
Breakfast was good, hot and freshly cooked, with home baked bread. I was a bit apprehensive about today, not sure how it was going to turn out because I couldn't see any footpaths going in the direction I wanted to go. I knew there was going to have to be some off road walking. Now I am normally used to this, but here in the Lake District I am not very confident at venturing onto the fells where the path is not marked. To be honest, all those big hills look the same to me. But I had to bite the bullet and try my best to find the way.
I wanted to get to Patterdale and identified a path across the other side of the A66, but it did mean a trek across Threlkeld Common. The only other way would have been to go miles out of my way on minor roads.
I set off in trepidation, and found that the ground was very boggy, clumps of long grass, heathers which sank under my weight, and reeds waist high. I plodded on and aimed for the corner of a wood, hoping that the exit over the brow of the hill would be obvious. This was supposed to be a bridle way. There was a sign at the gate saying when wet it wasn't suitable for horses. It should have said it wasn't suitable for humans either. I really needed to go south to pick up a cycle track, but after an hour or so, there was no sign of it. I was completely disorientated. Going in a straight line without a compass and no landmarks to focus on I find quite difficult.
After stumbling for what seemed ages, I decided to get the hell off there and go back to the road I came from. I was up to my ankles in water, so it was a bit uncomfortable with squelchy boots, but there was nothing I could do about it but keep walking.
So after some backtracking I decided to take to the road. I picked up some supplies from Gleridding, and made it to Patterdale at 6pm, thoroughly tired out. I am in the Youth Hostel tonight, £33 for B & B, a private room. My boots are in the drying room, they should be alright for the morning, and my socks are on the radiator. I have spares for tomorrow.
I have a bit of bad news. I charged all three batteries last night, but alas I tried them in the camera and each one was flat. I don't know if they have come to the end of their life, or the charger is not charging properly. If I find a camera shop I will see if they can help me, but I won't hold my breath, they are not the run of the mill round batteries that are quite common, they are flat and square.
So, I've checked the mileage, I've walked 18 miles today. Everyone has gone to bed, I am the only one left in the dining room, so I will sign off now because they will want to put the lights out.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I have to check the maps yet, but once I get out of the Lake District I should have a lot more choice of routes.
Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
1 hour ago