Thursday, 28 August 2014

C2C Day 5: Shap to Orton

 I was happy to have chosen a posh B&B to stay at this night.  Yeah, the hostels were wonderful and kind, but there was something about a big queen sized bed and your own private bathroom that just screamed my name this day.  The Newing Lodge in Shap was a fantastic place to laze around in the morning, with big, comfortable rooms, hot showers and a really good homemade breakfast.  Since we only had an easy 8 mile walk today, we really felt the need to take our time.

 I went out back to check out their camping field and said hello to these fine ladies:

They had a pillar in the entrance way to the inn (formerly a farmhouse) that was salvaged from Shap Abbey:

It ended up being a good place for all the coast-to-coast walkers to pile their luggage up next to for the baggage forwarding service to pick up and bring to the next inn.

After an unhurried morning, we set out through Shap in the heat to pick the trail back up on our way to Orton.  Shap is a proper town, with a grocery store and a big cement factory and a bank.  I found these giant, perfect raspberries at the marker and realized pretty quickly that they were so tart they were almost inedible.  I ate them anyway.

The trail crossed over a busy motorway, and once again we were in the countryside.

It was hard to find a place to stop and rest as the sheep were hogging all the shade.  They really didn't want to move over.

Unique about this day of walking: it was filled with limestone "pavers"- what used to be glacially swept flats of limestone now hollowed out by years of rain and weather to make fissures on the surface, making a great deal of habitat for butterflies and other small creatures.

 Mostly, the walk was beautiful heather moorland and rolling hills.  Did I mention that it was hot?  We drank almost all of our water on the hike, and we carried the same amount we did the previous day.  We had brought plenty of snacks for the trail: dried fruit, granola bars, and nuts; I would pick up little packets of salt at the pubs to put on the granola bars.  Gross as it may seem, my body was craving salt in ways I never had before and I couldn't get enough.

 Soon enough, we were approaching the village of Orton.  How fast a mere 8 miles go by!  I found a roman mile marker right outside the village:

Or it was a mile post with Roman numerals on it anyway.  I couldn't find any information about its authenticity, so it could be a victorian relic for all I know.

We could have easily combined today's 8 mile walk with tomorrow's 13.5 miler if we wanted to save ourselves a day.  It would have been a long day, but compared to the Lake District, there was no big climbs or rugged scrambling.  Just rolling hills of wild moors and farmland.  It was really nice to have an easy day.

We were both full of random aches and pains: our feet being the worst of it, as they were all kinds of sore and blistered.  The backs of my heels were rubbed raw.  Our knees were stiff, my left hip was achey, our backs and shoulders were complaining about the packs.  It was never so bad that we couldn't keep on doing what we were doing, and we would gripe about it here and there was nothing to do but keep moving forward.  Plus, I just found the whole walk so exciting and peaceful, I was determined to ignore anything short of a broken leg.

I am glad we decided to stop for the night in Orton.  We got in too early to check in to our inn, so we went to explore the chocolate factory there and the pub.  Happily, the pub had a beer garden outside, so we didn't have to stink up the place before we could get to a shower.

Orton ended up being a gem of a town.  It was small, but it seemed like the entire town existed and was thriving on the backs of so many walkers.

After we did check in to our guesthouse and got a much-needed shower, it was back to the pub (the only place to eat in town) where we bumped into a local whom wehad met out walking days before going the opposite direction, and dozens of other Coast to Coast walkers exchanging war stories while eating inhuman amounts of food.  Our opposite-way walker was named Bill, and he was quite jovial after a few pints, and he genuinely seemed to love to walk in solitude, but at the same time loved to tell tales of the trail.  When we told him that we would probably come back to do the other half of the trail in the fall, he laughed and said, "Just turn around and walk back the way you came, you've already done the best part!".  So now we have that to think about.  Thanks, Bill.  He did show us some photos on his phone that he had taken that day while walking in the Pennines, and it looked just lovely.  So you mean we shouldn't look forward to doing that?  He laughed.  Maybe a couple more days east of here is worth your while, but stay in the Lake District.   

Orton had a mysterious looking Elizabethan-era farmhouse in town, and a center common that they had sanctioned off for re-wilding, with lots of avian habitats.  

 In true hiker style, we were in bed by 9:30 while the sun was still up.  Our room was stifling still from the day's heat, but I found a big floor fan and basked in front of it, having dreams of the trail beneath my feet all night.

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