Met a nice guy N___ at Langdon Beck Hotel, also doing the PW, but was attempting to do it in a thoroughly disgusting 10 days. This means walking 30+ miles each day! He’d been forced to revise his plan and was going to attempt it in a still frankly ludicrous 12 days.
The good news for me was that today he was also going to walk as far as Dufton, so I had company! (the 14 miles being a challenge for me, and frankly a rest day for him!).
Having company made the day fly by. There was a prolonged challenging, scary rock scramble in the rain over slippery rocks to get to a waterfall with the fantastic name, ‘ Cauldron Snout.
(me at Cauldron Snout)
And then some actual rock climbing to get up the side of it which I wasn’t prepared/used to and tricky with pack on back.
But made it all, with body parts behaving admirably. Of course things going well could only indicate impending disaster, and sure enough when crossing a ford at the top, I slipped on a slippery rock, arse in the water and worst of all one of my precious walking poles that I’d become so reliant on had wedged between the rocks, and I had the straps on over my hands so my falling weight bent the pole cleanly over until it snapped in two in disgust.
I don’t mind admitting this was a bit of a crushing blow, but what can you do? At least one pole still in action, plugged on through the rain. As we started the climb to the top of High Cup for the fantastic views of the ‘English Grand Canyon’ and thick ominous fog descended on us reducing visibility.
Arrived in Dufton not destroyed, but a little worried about loss of pole. (Ankle had been quiet most of the day until the final hour, knees good. Toes mostly numb with occasional shooting pains.)
Dufton has no shops since the Post Office closed down. (but something opening on the site in a few months time). Good fish and chips, followed by apple tart for amazingly cheap in the YHA for dinner. We were the only people staying there.
Tomorrow is ‘the most challenging day’ according to the guidebook, 20 miles and three ascents over the Fells including the notorious ‘Cross Fell’, the highest point of the walk, and indeed the highest point in England outside of the Lake District. Wainwright called it, ‘a surly beast, often in a black mood’.