Day 54 - The glorious 12th and a glorious B&B

Trip Start Jun 12, 2010
Trip End Nov 18, 2010

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Where I stayed
Clove Lodge

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, August 12, 2010

We knew today would be a long day's walk so we were ready packed when we hit the breakfast table at 8 am.   Even so we couldn't resist chatting with Sue the owner of the Langdon Beck Hotel and taking a farewell photo at the bar.  She does a really good job with the old pub in an obscure outpost of North Yorkshire and we would certainly come back here for some peaceful isolation.  The food is a bit starch oriented as we found out at dinner last night when Keith had a Cottage Pie which constituted 2" of potato on top of a meat gravy served with a bowl of chips.
However Debby's meal topped his as a small bowl of vegetable curry was accompanied by a large plate of rice and a large bowl of chips.  Di chose the healthy option.  She had two enormous potato patties, called salmon patties, on the basis that a fish had laid next to the potatoes before they were mashed.  Di's healthy option meant she declined the chips in favour of a baked potato in is jacket!  Other than the food though, Sue was a charming friendly host for whom nothing was too much trouble to help us enjoy our stay.

August 12 is a notable day in the English Country calendar.  It is known as 'The Glorious 12th', the day on which the Grouse shooting starts.  We felt this could present some difficulties for Di who is notoriously anti-bloodsports.  We were relieved, if somewhat surprised, at breakfast when Di commented on how nice it was to see three men sitting at an adjacent table dressed in traditional English country field attire.  Plus fours, Tweed jackets, check shirts, yep they had it all.  As we set off on our walk back down to the Cronkley Bridge over the River Tees we mentioned that the shooters would be out in force today like the three men we had shared breakfast with.  Di was horrified!  How could she have been deceived into thinking they were such a cute quaint addition to the breakfast room when they were really evil, bloodthirsty murderers!  We moved quickly on.

Our morning walking was easy.  A lovely stroll along the course of the River Tees and the weather stayed quite fine for us.  We passed a huge quarry on the left bank, quarrying the local whinstones and then reached the highly acclaimed High Force waterfall which precedes Low Force further down the River.  These waterfalls attract a few tourists and today we have seen more people walking past us than we have seen in total on the Pennine Way so far.  There's no doubt, as Wainwright says, The Pennine Way is both a high level route and a wilderness walk, but there are lengthy sections like today, where the Way crosses cultivated valleys and lowlands.  We have got used to, indeed almost become hooked on the barren uplands and isolated remote bog covered moors, so we do not react well to being exposed to the casual tourists and all they bring with them.  After all, The Pennine Way, to quote Wainwright again, is 'the perfect tonic for a jaded mind and a cure for urban depression.  If you want to get away from it all, here, ideally, is the escape.  You can't get any further from the familiar than on the Pennine Way.  You live for a time in a new world and you forget the other.'

We sat at Low Force for our morning tea by which time we had been walking for our customary two unbroken hours.  It was 11.30 and we knew there was still a lot more walking left to do today.  Despite this, Debby took the time to soak her feet in the chilly waters of the River Tees.  Shortly afterwards the inevitable English summer rain began to fall and on went the waterproofs.  With heads down we walked on for a further two hours reaching the only town we were likely to see today, Middleton-in-Teesdale.  We sat on a bench in the middle of this small town, basking in a brief sunny interlude.  Despite the sunny environment and our happy demeanour we both turned quizzically to Di to ask her to remind us just why she had asked the landlady for a special favour for our sandwiches.  Of all the fine meats that we had been offered, Di preferred that our sandwiches be filled with large dollops of the 'salmon' or to be more precise potato patty.  Her excuse was that Duncan Reynolds, back in Australia, loves salmon patty sandwiches.  We reminded her that there was a key difference here, his probably have some salmon in them.  With that we all threw the remainder of our sandwich lunch in the bin and have temporarily removed Di from the sandwich selection roster.  Keith was now so desperately hungry he ate a three day old pork pie which was grey around the edges and stayed with him for the next three days causing certain stomach ructions.

Whether it was the sunny interlude or our general feeling of joie de vivre, having watched and listened to the babbling river and the abundant insect and bird life along the path this morning, but we were so relaxed that we took our rest in this village for nearly two hours.  We went to the co-op and carefully selected our food for tomorrow's lunch, knowing that we would see no civilisation tomorrow at all. We then took afternoon tea with yummy homebaked, in the aga, fruit scones at Cafe 1816.  As we were tucking in, the rain came back and we realised that we still had several hours walking ahead of us and were being far too casual.  So, downing our tea and ordering scones to take with us tomorrow, we went back out into the rain and set off to look for the impossibly insignificant hamlet of Baldersdale.  Middleton-in-Teesdale looked quite a nice town but does not look an affluent place and we heard later it is less favoured.

Keith had reviewed the maps and said there was no time to lose now, as we walked up the hill out of the town.  We forged on, round the corner for another 500 mtrs before realising we had gone the wrong way!  Not a good start.  We went back to recover the route and at last headed up out into the open moorland over Harter Fell.  Finding no signs whatsoever of the route coming down from Harter Fell, we then passed our first group of shooters, nonchalantly carrying guns cocked open over their shoulders.  In the background another group were banging away merrily trying to down those silly birds.  Perhaps Di is warming to the whole grouse shooting thing as she commented there was something fetching in the look of these shooters swaggering along.  Shortly afterwards we lost the path again and had to double back on ourselves and then treble back on ourselves.  Not for the life of us were we able to see how we could get back onto the route we knew we needed to take.  So, we took a detour to recover the Pennine Way and knew that our final challenge for the day after crossing Grassholme Reservoir was the long tramp up over Mickleton Moor and then the descent past Hannah's Meadow

The weather  did it's bit to slow us down as we regularly removed our wet weather gear only to put it on again as the rain began to fall. As evening had settled around us and with what we now know to be Clove Lodge, our destination for the night, sitting up ahead of us to the east, we again took the wrong track.  A bit more exhaustion, and another 30 minutes of wasted foot slogging.  What's more, a cloud of midges, or the English equivalent, descend upon us.  It doesn't affect us in the moment but a day later Keith would be scratching his arms and legs uncontrollably, while Debby even commented that she had found two bites.  We phoned Clove Lodge twice about 7.30 pm to ensure it was the building we could see to the east and then we pushed on back down to the Reservoir and up the correct lane to our final destination.  It was 7.45 pm, our latest arrival in 8 weeks.

We arrive soaked, exhausted and Keith is so very very frustrated.  He has identified so many fundamental errors in the guide book that the air is blue.  Gradually the frustration subsides as we are enveloped by the warm, sincere hospitality of Caroline and Kit's amazing home.  Nothing is too much trouble for them and we feel like they have held out a large warm bath towel to step into to be cossetted and comforted.  The decor is lovely, but more importantly our shoes are taken off to be dried.  An offer is made to wash any clothes we need washing and despite the lateness of our arrival we are told we have time to bath and restore ourselves before partaking of the dinner that they are cooking for us. 

To describe just how welcoming and delicious the dinner was is not possible.  Suffice it to say homemade capsicum soup began to thaw us out and set us up for chicken in a tasty sauce with bowls accompanying spilling over with fresh vegetables.  Oh the joy of simple things that we used to take for granted.  And then bowls of apple and blackberry crumble were being distributed, and peppermint teas were produced which we gratefully accepted.  We politely ask to take out teas up to our bedroom and then set out tired legs their final challenge of the day to carry us up the one flight of stairs to our beds.  Its 10 pm as we snuggle into bed and reflect on the 33 kms that we have covered to be at this Lodge some 320 mtrs above sea level.  The air is clear and however tired we are right we know that by tomorrow morning we will be revived and restored and ready to tackle any other challenge the Pennine Way can throw at us. 

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Suedeg on

It is great that you are becoming adicted to the bleak landscape. Dartmoor has plenty to offer and one or two good eats. Perhaps compass bearings are better than the guide book Keith. The extra weight is of course muscle. We gave our love to Yorks at the weekend. The wedding breakfast had all the hallmarks of Yorkshire generosity.

Morag on

AHHH I was beginning to have withdrawal symptoms from lack of blog! Rereading and checking for new comments or entries just did not quite satisfy my addiction!
I agree it must be muscle you put on -or my sister's scales were out. You must need to eat as you do to repace all the energy you expend.
Now Keith and Debby just because you are now in England you do not need to forget about Scotland -the glorious 12th is celebrated in Scotland too so you should have used Britain not England in your sentences!
I remember my Father going shooting grouse sometimes and bringing them home for my Mother to cook -tasty but you had to watch for the shot in your teeth!
It was thought best to avoid hillwalking at that time of year in case of getting "peppered"! So take care!

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