Kept waking every couple of hours thinking I wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep again, but then fell promptly back to sleep. Eventually woke at 7am, spirits very low, stiff, aching and now with added sore throat and blocked nose. ‘Great, now you’ve gone and got a cold,’ I thought to myself sarcastically as if somehow it was my fault. (Though I have been a bit lax with the vitamin c recently, but don’t tell max, you know how he gets.)
I really need to find a more graceful way of exiting tiny tent. I’m still struggling with not being able to sit up, it just seems the first thing you should do on waking, you know before getting up and standing. Maybe I’ll get used to it.
Opened tent to clear blue skies and an already worryingly hot sun. Yes moan when it’s raining and then moan when it’s sunny, you can’t please some people. After I’d finished my ablutions one of the guys staying in a caravan walked past and after a cheery, ‘Morning!’ he offered a cheery, ‘I reckon it’s going to be too hot for walking today!’
Everything packed up, waited for the dew to dry on the tent (ok shook it off) then packed it down and headed into breakfast. 10.95 for a full english seemed annoyingly steep, but I needed those precious calories.
Headed off walking and I’m glad to say although sunny there was a cool breeze and I had hat, sunglasses, suncream etc and it made for perfect walking weather. Wainwrights said of this point, ‘The worst part of the journey is behind you, from now on the Pennine Way can be enjoyed’. I hope he’s right! Today was mostly flat, which I’m good at, so I’m pleased to report a mostly happy days walking. Even the ascents were mostly gentle and hills were more in the realm of Hertfordshire sized hills, rather than the colossal monstrosities found in these parts. 🙂
Descents remain a problem with shooting pains in knees with every step,but there wasn’t many of them until the end. The first half of the day flew by, when I thought about stopping legs urged, just a bit further. Eventually guessing I was around the half way point for the day I stopped up on Blackstone Edge, and decided time for some music. In the same way food tastes best when you’re hungry having not heard any music for the past four days it was a trascendent experience. I played the iamamiwhoami albu, lush synths, crisp electro drums and haunting melodies was perfect for the boulder hopping necessary to get across. Even a wrong turn that cost me a sharp painful descent followed by ascent retracing my steps when I realised I’d gone wrong did little to dampen my mood.
Soon came the White House Inn apparently one of the few pub lunch options on the whole walk, the guidebook recommended a stop. Whilst getting lots of enegy from the earlier full english I was still feeling full with it and little on the nauseous side so I didn’t have anything to eat, but did manage a cheeky pint of ale (because I’m a hero).
Joyously marched on past reservoirs, I went classic with the 1978 Genesis album ‘…And Then There Were Three’, followed by 1980’s ‘Duke’ both great albums and my racing mind found new interpretations and layers the way you do when coming to them from a new perspective.
Started to flag on the long climb up to Stoodly Pike but impressive views once I finally made it. I met a French, Remy who started walking a month ago in Penzance. His plan was to keep walking until the light started to fade then wild camp. He’ll be in Scotland a long while before me! I was envious of his tiny rucksack and seemingly next to zero equipment. And I thought I was unprepared. Resolved to post home half of the pointless gear I’m lugging around. (which no doubt I’ll desperately need, moments after posting it off).
Remy wished me well and headed off as I slowed to a crawl for an angonising descent down to Calder Valley and mile long limp off route to Hebden Bridge where I was hoping to find a b&b for the night. A shame after a mostly joyous day. And worse was limping into Hebden Bridge without knowing where I was going to stay. The guidebook said there were plenty of places, but just very slowly limping in pain, three-ways mad from exhaustion into a town without knowing where you’re going probably wasn’t a good look. I sat down at a bus stop (for a good cry) then remembered something in the guide book about the Fox and Goose, so typed it into the navigation on my phone (first time I’ve used it on this trip) and it said it was 4mins away. Hooray! Got there and they don’t do accommodation but was a marvellous rundown muso-riddled pub and you can buy shares in it to help it keep running. (Look up something like foxandgoose.org.uk for more info). A refreshing pint of ale later, and directions to The Crown. Hebden Bridge seems a really beautiful town, and I passed all the places I want to go to tomorrow: Boots (for vit.C). Post Office (to send home unwanted gear that’s weighing me down), Camping Accessory shop (for compass and hopefully functional rain cover)
Slightly above budget, but frankly gorgeous room I’d love to stay here a week.
Have decided rest day is probably bad idea due to losing momentum and fear legs will seize totally unless they’re constantly punished(!) Have made the call though to spread the next two days walking over three days (as per my original plan). Feet have suffered tremendous punishment but are holding up well (bless their little hearts), calves, thighs, back, all putting in sterling performance. Shoulders better since adjusting rucksack. Knees though, continue to be a problem during descents. Am hoping they toughen up and get used to it!
Right I think chinese takeaway and then lots of rolling around in a massive luxurious bed for me.