Woke up ensconced in loveliness. Really recommend The Crown in Hebden Bridge. A bit costly, but friendly people, great art on the walls, lovely rooms etc. Few aches and pains but nothing compared to the mornings of waking in tiny tent. Feet felt hot and on inspection despite the nice things I’ve been saying about them, were swollen, bruised and very angry looking. I tried to placate them with a couple of uplifting stories, but they glared back at me, unmoved.
After getting up and showering etc they seemed to finally calm down a bit. I had another full English, these used to be a treat but having three in the past week they’re starting to wear a little thin on me. Headed over to post office and posted 1.5kg of kit home. Coupled with the decision to carry 2 litres off water rather than 3, represents a 2.5kg saving in pack weight! (apparently this is a reasonably common occurrence, walkers posting home kit from Hebden Bridge post office). Then to Boots for vitamin C and Nurofen Cold & Flu. Should have got some codeine.
As usual with Boots when you pay you get some kind of printed out discount offer which I never look at and wish they didn’t bother with. This time however the girl behind the counter gave me the printed voucher and said, ‘Here’s your discount for the Seven range(?)… They do mens stuff as well, it’s not just creams and makeup for us girls.’ I (generally) love Yorkshire people. (I had a less than savoury encounter yesterday which I’ll cover in a bits i’ve accidentally missed out post, to be edited in when I get back to a laptop.)
Back to the Crown to pick up bag and checkout. A really lovely town and accommodation (have I mentioned that?) I could imagine a glorious rest day, taking in the town, having a spot of lunch, going to the cinema, maybe a couple of pubs….)
Ultimately though, I was scared of a rest day. Losing momentum. What if my legs seized up totally. etc. etc. I was originally planning a schedule that would take 16 days, but have allowed 19 days in total to allow for problems along the way. But a rest day after day three, just felt wrong, too early.
Just as I was getting ready to leave a chance phone call from an old work friend (JW) who didn’t know I’d started the walk. I said how I was getting on and he said, ‘I tell you what you need, walking poles.’ After a nice chat with him, I checked messages and old school friend (DT) had also commented on Facebook that walking poles would help out my poor struggling knees. I went to the outdoor store and bought: a rucksack cover that actually fits 70-80 litre, as opposed to the previous too small 60-70 litre (rucksack is 70 litres), also a compass, and the lady was kind enough to tell me all about telescopic walking poles. (cheapest ones are rigid, slightly more expensive have a shock absorber function, more expensive still mean you can turn the shock absorber function off and on as really you want it off when going uphill, but off on when going downhill. Nothing’s ever easy. Went with cheapest rigid.)
Latest start yet, I got on the road at 10:30am, with a mile long slog up the road in the hot sun to rejoin the PW, which of course true to character started with a tough climb out of Calder Valley, I was wondering exactly how poles were supposed to work when I found I’d made the top without thinking too much about it.
The route was now really hard to follow with scant signs, and only an hour after buying it, I was lost and my new compass helped me work out where I was and how to get back on track.
Several times today the route crossed/merged with the Pennine Bridleway, which gave me comfort thinking my sister had been on these very paths a few months ago on horseback. (My sister is one of the most inspiring people I know).
Whilst (perhaps surprisingly) I’d been glad to be around civilisation for a bit and the safety blanket that provided it was a feeling of joy to be back up on the moors… all mad wind, and raw unkempt energy. How brilliant it’d be to have a piano up here to thrash. I had to settle for the piano in my mind, but wondered, and I’m sure it’s probably been done already, but pick a few musicians who’d be into it, and set up a mobile recording studio on the moors and have a jam. Ah if only things like time and budget weren’t a consideration! Anyway joyous and inspiring walking.
Walking poles, a revelation. How have I managed without? (I haven’t.)
Thoroughly sick of fried food, I was fantasising about some kind of ploughmans (cheddar or stilton). My spidey sense intuited a lone building across the moor was a pub. The guide book mentioned The Pack Horse Inn was in these parts but there were a few lonely buildings scattered about the landscape, and from the back it didn’t/did look a bit like it could/couldn’t be a pub. I took the gamble and headed towards it… it was… it wasn’t… it was… but it was closed… it was open!
Another thoroughly lovely quality Yorkshire pub. They had big signs up saying ‘Chip free zone’… where you order food in the kitchen was a sign, ‘Remember this is a chip free zone, anyone ordering chips will face a 50p fine (donated to search and rescue).’ Oh and over 100 single malts behind the bar. Wish I could’ve spent proper time there. In fact they have a really two bed apartment for hire… Could make the perfect base for a music written on the moors project…
One handsome, perfect cheddar cheese ploughmans (and a couple of cheeky pints) and I was off again across the moors…
Having to cut this entry short as battery failing due my accidentally leaving GPS switched on all day for no reason. Hopefully finish this tomorrow.