Glad you're here!

Welcome to my personal blog. Squirrel(!) is such an appropriate title for this spot on the Internet. This began as a way to share the journal from my walk across England with hubby Jan. That trip is archived here for you to enjoy (June of 2012), but now when you visit you'll read my crazy musings on everything from horses, to cars, to grammar, to books, baseball, or weasels. Don't get whiplash trying to figure out a theme; just watch out for the squirrels!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 7

Day 7 – To Kirkby Stephen (12 miles)

We knew the forecast for today (Friday) was dismal, but when we woke up, we thought we’d been transported to the Far East for monsoon season. The Union Jack across the street from Mostyn House was clinging to its pole for dear life while the wind whipped it mercilessly, and water sheeted down all the windows like we were in a diving bubble. We very nearly didn’t leave the house!
Goodbye from Olive's daughter's dog!
Goodbye to Olive Bland--one of our favorite "landladies."

But, by the time said goodbye to Mrs. Olive Bland after a hearty breakfast of porridge (good English, stick-to-your-ribs kind), rhubarb sauce, tinned (from a can) grapefruit, and Jan’s favorite English bacon (like thin pieces of ham with little bacon tails) the rain had stopped and we even saw some brief moments of sun. What a blessing!
We left town beside a (surprise) sheep meadow.  What's special about this one is that it has an ancient stone circle in it. Nobody really knows what these circles were for, but they’ve been around for centuries
Look carefully past the sheep--there are stones forming a circle. Druids?
Four cows coming at us - herded by a four-wheeler.
Our route took us around and through several working farms. Even though local farmers have no problem with walkers, we did run into an issue between Sunbiggen and Stone Head farms (had to share those names) when we ran head long into four cows being herded down a lane by a man in a  four-wheeler vehicle. We made our way slowly toward them, but it was soon clear the cows were scared to death of us, and the farmer asked us to head back down the lane away from the cows’ path.  Once they’d gone by, the farmer apologized. One cow had broken through her fencing and “got the others all upset.” Turns out we’d seen her missing calf a bit earlier on the road.  Poor mama was just trying to get back to her baby!
Milk left for the farmers-outside their barn!
The sun continued to break through, but most of the day the clouds were thick and low and we did get rain about one-third of the time. Finally, when we knew we had to hurry and break for lunch in order to beat a deep, dark cloud heading right for us, we started looking for a spot out of the wind to sit on. Wouldn’t you know, we were walking in, literally, the crappiest pasture of the entire walk. There wasn’t one square foot of grass without sheep s*** on it-- it was on every blade of grass.  At last we found a little hillock we could sit on. We each got half a sandwich downed and the sky ripped open on top of us. You’d be amazed how fast you can get a pair of rain pants on when a drenching is occurring!
This is a good time to mention how completely unattractive hiking rain gear is on a short, stocky Norwegian woman. If you’re shaped like a bowling ball (which I am) and you’re lucky enough to find pants that fit in the waist, there’s no way they fit in the legs. I could hide several small children in the legs of my hiking pants. Add a fleece jacket, rubberized rain pants and gaiters to that and you have something that would scare away aliens from outer space.  On the other hand, I did stay dry from rain—if not from the sweat caused by being encased in water tight (ugly) garments!
Jan looks like a profession hiker every time he goes out.

Hahaha. Beam me up Scotty.  But Smardale Bridge is cool in the background.
 The rain stopped again as the landscape entranced us.  We passed a lovely old bridge—Smardale Bridge—and in the misty distance we could see the roman arches of an old aqueduct.

The sky threatened as we passed through countryside looking more and more like farmland . We passed abandoned railroad lines and tunnels and, finally, the sky opened a last time and rain accompanied us into Kirkby Stephen (pronounced “Kir-by”).
As we neared Kirkby Stephen, the sky was ominous and soon opened up.
We were a sight dragging into town, but an electrical maintenance man pointed us toward downtown, a kind local with a great accent and several missing teeth (is that a cliché?) told us about how much further we had to walk, and two lovely women at a local co-op grocery told us exactly how to get to Redmayne House where we were booked.

Our room with the beautiful quilt!

Redmayne House -- we were on the top left.
 Once we were warm and dry, we ventured out for Chinese food, met up with a group of Canadians we’ve gotten to know, and took a few pictures around town.  My very favorite was in front of a bar and I was sad for a long time that I didn’t have any ferrets with me! 

Yay for ferrets too!

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